Those in the market for a new truck have likely heard of or they’re already using DEF or diesel exhaust fluid. DEF is a nontoxic, clear fluid marketed under a variety of names, but BlueDEF is one of the most common. It’s a blend of urea and water that’s sent into an exhaust stream to neutralize pollutants put out by a diesel engine. While it’s easy to use, maintenance and storage requires attention, especially during the winter. Below are a few DEF care tips.
Remember That It Freezes
DEF is water-based, so it will freeze, just as water does. Drivers and operators should take caution when using DEF in extreme cold. It may turn into a slush before it freezes into a solid state, but thankfully, freezing DEF doesn’t affect its performance or quality.
When it freezes, DEF expands by 7% or more. Therefore, when storing diesel trucks and equipment for a night or more in cold temperatures, it’s important to ensure that the DEF tank isn’t full. This allows for expansion and prevents damage to the DEF storage reservoir. When a piece of equipment is started, the fluid quickly thaws and returns to a usable state.
Store It Properly
DEF bulk storage and packages should be kept inside, in a temperature controlled environment. Furthermore, it’s crucial to use the proper container. DEF is slightly corrosive, and as such, it should be stored in an HDPE or stainless steel container.
Change the DEF Filter Regularly
The injectors sending DEF into the vehicle’s exhaust system are precise instruments, and tolerances are tight. Change the filter according to the manufacturer’s recommended service interval.
Remember the Expiration Date
The shelf life of DEF varies widely according to temperature and lighting. In optimal storage conditions, DEF may maintain its viability for approximately one year. That’s why it’s so important to store it in the proper container and away from sunlight.
Treat It Like Fuel
According to the EPA, any vehicle using PEAKHD DEF must have sensors that continually analyze the quality of the diesel exhaust fluid. The sensors will put out a trouble code when imbalances are detected; this typically results from a higher concentration of water in the DEF tank or contamination during transfer.
The easiest way to think of DEF is to handle it as one would handle diesel fuel. By keeping it free of moisture and contaminants and storing it properly, users can get the most from their DEF.