Tag Archives: fuel

Car Miles

The Real Deal: The Truth Behind Some Misconceptions About DEF

Car MilesWhenever new regulations go into effect, there are always those that spread false information about it. It may be due to mere ignorance, or they want people to resist it. This is especially true when it comes to technology that protects the environment. The most popular rumor is that it will drive prices of commodities up, which is a big button for consumers. Myths of this nature are harmful and ultimately useless because you still have to follow the law.

A good example is diesel exhaust fluid or DEF. The US Environmental Protection Agency implemented rules that required the use of DEF to cut down on toxic diesel emissions. Here are some popular myths about DEF in which a urea refractometer plays a part, says CertifiedDEF.com.

DEF is Toxic

DEF is not toxic. It is a mix of 32.5% urea and 67.5% deionized water. You might recognize urea as something that is part of our urine, but if you think that makes it toxic, you are wrong. The reason urine smells is the bacterido not produce enough excess urea to make it commercially economical. Urea used in DEF is synthetic, although it has the same composition as natural urea.

DEF Adds to Fuel Costs

Some people claim that DEF affects fuel use, but that is absolutely not true. DEF is part of an emission reduction system called selective catalytic reduction that kicks in after the diesel passes through the engine. It treats the exhaust, not the diesel, so it has no effect on the fuel mileage of the engine. It does not improve it, but it certainly does not make it worse.

DEF Evaporates

It is true that the water DEF can evaporate at extremely high temperatures, say 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but it does so very slowly. If you are afraid that the water in your stored DEF is less than it should be, you can add distilled (not tap) water a little at a time until the urea content reads 32.5% in your urea refractometer. Under normal circumstances, however, your DEF should be fine if it is stored in a tightly closed stainless steel or HPVE plastic container.

The rules regarding DEF are not there to make your life more difficult. Everybody has a responsibility to protect the environment. DEF makes it easy for you to do it in a big way.

Diesel Fuel

Fast Facts: Things You May Not Know About DEF

Diesel FuelAll diesel fueled vehicles and machines in the US are required to have selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems that use diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to cut down on nitrous oxide emissions.  The regulations went into full effect on January 1, 2015. If you bought a truck, tractor, or machine in 2015, you can be sure it has a built-in SCR system, so all you have to worry about is keeping the DEF tank topped off. Fortunately, DEF is now readily available so you can buy a couple of gallons and store them in your shed or garage. But, you need to keep a couple of things in mind aside from having a MISCO refractometer handy to keep your diesel engine working properly.

DEF is Like Fuel

DEF is non-toxic, unlike fuel, but you need it as much as fuel to run your diesel engine. If you run out of DEF, your motor will not start. Even if it were readily available, it would be a good idea to have a small stock of DEF on hand. You just have to make sure you store it properly.

DEF is Mildly Corrosive

If you replenish your DEF stock from the gas station, make sure that you store it in containers made of stainless steel or HDPE plastic. It can react to other metals and contaminate the DEF. Contaminants will change the composition of DEF and possible damage your SCR system.

DEF Can Freeze or Evaporate

DEF is a precise mixture of urea and water, so extreme temperatures can lead to freezing and evaporation. If it freezes, it can expand and damage your DEF container, possibly allowing contaminants to get in. If it evaporates, this can change the urea-water ratio. Check it with your MISCO refractometer before using it. Keep your stock of DEF tightly covered and in a temperature-controlled environment between 12 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit to keep it in an ideal state.  You can store DEF for about 12 months.

A MISCO refractometer measures the urea to water ratio of your DEF, so you can be sure you are not going to wreck your diesel engine when you use it. But, you still need to do your part to keep the DEF in good shape.