What is AdBlue?
AdBlue is the marketing term for the fluid used in the catalytic converter installed in the exhaust system of some diesel cars. It is injected into the exhaust gases and burned at very high temperatures to break down harmful nitrogen oxides.
Some diesel engines require AdBlue to help them meet the strict Euro 6 emissions standards that regulate the level of harmful emissions a car can emit.
Update, January 25, 2022: There is relief as large deliveries of AdBlue begin across Australia.
What cars use?
AdBlue is common in trucks and is now used in late-model diesel cars and SUVs made by a number of manufacturers, including Renault, Citroen, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Ford, Mazda, and Toyota. Mercedes-Benz calls its AdBlue systems “BluTec”.
What is AdBlue made of?
AdBlue consists of deionized water and urea, an organic compound that is also used as a fertilizer, although the finished product is more pure.
Urea is in the urine… can you use it?
With the current AdBlue shortage, we’d (kind of) like to say yes, but no, you can’t. Your urine is only 3.0 percent urea – the other part is mostly water – which is less than the 32.5 percent AdBlue needs to do its job.
How does AdBlue work?
AdBlue is not mixed with diesel fuel. Instead, it works with the exhaust gases after they come out of the engine. It is stored in a separate storage tank with its own inlet, and sprayed into the exhaust stream in metered doses. It then reacts with nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gases and is converted to nitrogen and water by a catalytic converter.
What happens if I add AdBlue to the fuel tank?
If you accidentally pour AdBlue into the fuel tank, do not start the car. The fuel tank will need to be drained as this can damage the engine and corrode the fuel lines.
Despite the damage done by putting AdBlue into the fuel tank, most cars have two inlets next to each other – although you can tell them clearly because the AdBlue cap is usually blue and the pipe for the fuel filler. Is very small.
Do I need AdBlue to drive a car?
AdBlue is not required for engine operation. However, because it keeps emissions within legal requirements, the vehicle’s engine is programmed to stop working if AdBlue, or any other liquid in the tank, is insufficient. You should get plenty of warning via your car’s multifunction display before this happens.
How is AdBlue consumption?
An average vehicle uses about 5 percent of AdBlue as it uses diesel fuel, which is about one liter for every 1000 kilometers traveled. The storage tank is designed to be large enough so that the AdBlue remains within the scheduled service intervals. If you run low before your next service, you can top it up yourself.
Is it easy to top up?
Topping up is as easy as filling your window washer reservoir. However, while AdBlue is considered a harmless liquid it is corrosive – be sure to wash off any parts of your body and car’s paintwork that are affected by the spill. And don’t forget the warning above about getting it in your fuel tank.
How much does AdBlue cost?
It is relatively cheap compared to something like motor oil. That said, the price can fluctuate based on the cost of producing urea, which requires significant amounts of energy, mostly in the form of natural gas. Prices can vary but for ballpark figures a 2.0-liter bottle can cost up to $30 from a car dealership while you can get a 10-liter bottle for just $2.50.
It’s also available at auto accessories stories from various brands, some of which you’ll recognize from their engine oils. Make sure they are suitable for your vehicle. If in doubt, buy it from your car manufacturer.
AdBlue has a shelf life of at least 12 months so you can get some top-ups out of it.