January 09, 2017
By now, you’ve probably heard of AdBlue. We’re fast approaching September and the implementation of strict new Euro 6 regulations – and if you’re planning on upgrading to a Euro 6 compliant van, you’ll need to understand what AdBlue is and how to use it.
The reason for the existence of AdBlue is directly tied to the advancement in engine technology. New Euro 6 engines require this fluid in order to reduce the exhaust emissions and comply with regulations. It’s not ‘just another fuel additive’, it’s actually a vital ingredient for a Euro 6 compliant engine – which will not start without any AdBlue fluid in the tank.
So how does it work? The fluid converts over 90% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions into nitrogen and steam – resulting in less pollution. While the engine is running, tiny amounts of the solution are injected into the exhaust system, breaking down the NOx emissions into water vapour (steam to you and me) and nitrogen gas.
As manufacturers move to the new technology, they tend to create their own names for it. This can be confusing as you’re left with countless different terms that all refer to the same thing. For example, Mercedes have adopted ‘Bluetec’, Volkswagen have gone with ‘Bluemotion’, Citroen and Peugeot call their Euro 6 engines ‘BlueHDi’ while Vauxhall settled on ‘BlueInjection SCR’. You’ll notice that they all contain the word ‘blue’, which goes some way to removing the confusion.
Using AdBlue is simple – there is a separate cap for the fluid, situated next to the diesel cap or near the back of the vehicle. AdBlue is stored in a separate tank which utilises Selective Reduction Technology (SCR) to reduce emissions and should always be protected from contamination. If you’re having trouble finding it, simply refer to your owner’s manual.
AdBlue should be topped up at service intervals or if you’re warning light is on – just the same as your fuel warning system. The average mileage for a full tank is around 10-14,000 miles, depending on your van. Should you run out while driving, your engine won’t cut out but once you stop the vehicle you won’t be able to restart it until you’ve refilled the AdBlue tank.
While AdBlue sits in the lowest water pollution category, it is a corrosive irritant that can cause injury to skin, eyes and respiratory organs. As such, you should ALWAYS wear protective equipment when handling AdBlue.
It’s advised that you always purchase your AdBlue from approved, licensed stockists. Ten litres should set you back around £15.