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3 Diesel Exhaust Fluid Disasters and What to Do

As with any new technology, there will always be a few mistakes as it is incorporated into regular life. Whether you have to watch in horror as a crack creates a spider web pattern on your smartphone or you accidentally spill coffee on your latest and greatest laptop, accidents simply happen! While you may accept that accidents happen, your acceptance won’t lessen the pain to your wallet or make you any less frustrated. Fortunately, however, if you educate yourself and make sure that you know what major mistakes to avoid, you’re more likely to be able to prevent and survive future crises. Read on to learn three of the top diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) disasters, what they do, and how you can prevent them!

1. Putting DEF into your Diesel Tank

Now you might not know what makes up DEF, so now would probably be a good time to learn. Diesel exhaust fluid is composed of 32.5% urea and the rest of the solution is deionized water. Therefore, putting DEF into the wrong tank (aka your diesel tank) can cause serious problems for you. Essentially, it would mean you were putting water into your diesel tank. Water can cause severe problems within the engine, like causing the fuel injector tips to explode, or cause sudden cooling in the engine. So, if you did accidentally put DEF into the wrong tank, what can you do? Unfortunately, you will likely have to drain the tank, put in a new filter, and bleed the system. You can use whatever is left over as fire starter or you can use a fuel filter funnel to remove the water and harmful debris and then use the leftover fuel for mowers, tractors, etc.

2. Ignoring the Warning Signals for DEF

This can be another huge mistake. People should always be aware of the signs that show up in their vehicle, like the signs for low fuel or the indicator for an oil change. There are three signs that can show up in the dashboard concerning DEF. One is the Exhaust Fluid Range, which displays the available mileage range when the DEF is getting low. Another is the Exhaust Fluid Low Speed Limited Soon, which shows up when the DEF range falls below a specified range; speed will be limited when the DEF level becomes critical. The last one that can show up on your dashboard is the Exhaust Fluid Empty Refill Now signal. This only displays when the DEF is empty. In the case of DEF, the warning signal should look something like this:

Each warning is extremely important. They let you know (just like the fuel indicator on your dashboard) that it is time to refill. So what happens if you ignore these warnings? Well, your vehicle’s speed will be limited to ensure that your diesel car doesn’t exceed the emission limits. If you continue to ignore the warnings, the vehicle’s speed will continue to be severely limited. Pay attention to these warning signs and make sure you fill up!

3. Putting Contaminated DEF into the System

Like the warning signals that will show up for low DEF, a warning signal will also show up for contaminated DEF. There are a couple of ways that DEF can be contaminated. One of the more common ways is improper storage. It is important to make sure that you store your DEF properly! This way, you protect yourself from contaminated DEF, which can severely damage your system. Make sure you keep everything clean and free of dust. This is one of the best ways to prevent contamination. So what happens if it is contaminated? Most likely, you will have to drain the fuel tank completely and clean it. Likely, you will also have to do a system flush to make sure that your indicator goes away as well.

We hope this information was helpful to you! If you have further questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact us!