What is Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and How Does It Work?

What is Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and How Does It Work?
Learn everything about the technology, operation and importance of DEF fluid. Discover why using it on your trucks is the best option 🚛🙌.

DEF Fluid?

Being a critical additive in diesel engines, DEF is the solution to the stringent requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency. As current regulations require the abatement of gasses such as NOx it is impossible to meet this demand without DEF fluid for trucks.

We are talking about a considerable reduction in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a compound that is not only highly polluting, but also harmful to health.

So, in addition to complying with current regulations, using DEF in your trucks reduces the environmental impact generated by your fleet. And if that's not enough, it also increases the performance of diesel engines.

DEF and its Environmental Impact

Since the implementation of EPA 420-F-14-017 or "Euro 6 Law" in Europe, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel engines have been limited to 80 mg/km. Trucks manufacturers whose models fail to meet this new limit are required to add an additional DEF-fueled tank to their vehicles.

Doing so reduces pollutant emissions and enables compliance with current legislation. Thus, DEF has become a recurring solution when it comes to diesel vehicles trade. As a result, many models of heavy-duty vehicles are now incorporating this new technology to purify exhaust gasses.

DEF trucking is therefore an indispensable additive. It acts independently in the exhaust gas cleaning process and thanks to its function, it transforms the NOx particles into a less harmful mixture for the environment, composed of nitrogen and water vapor.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using DEF on Your Trucks

Like any innovation, the use of this compound has both pros and cons. In the case of using DEF fluid in diesel tanks, most of them are pros. Some of them are:

  • It saves fuel thanks to its high performance. It not only performs a much more optimal function, but also delivers better results at lower costs. This is because exhaust gas cleaning in diesel engines is improved with the use of DEF.
  • It is an environmentally friendly product. DEF not only reduces greenhouse gasses, but it is also non-polluting.
  • It is non-toxic since its main component is urea. Urea has been chemically synthesized since 1828 by the German scientist Friedrich Wöhler. It is used on a large scale in agriculture as the main component of fertilizers. Urea is also safe for humans. It is only slightly irritating to eyes and skin, but without serious effects.
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  • Offers less wear and tear on the engine. Wear will be reduced and the life of your truck will be extended with the use of DEF trucking. Since it is produced from a chemical reaction, wear is prevented.
  • It is fuel efficient. In proportion to the use of common diesel, DEF consumes only 3% to 5%. In other words, for every 100 liters of diesel, only 3 to 5 liters of DEF are consumed.
  • Its storage is simple. It does not require major care, since it is enough to keep it in a ventilated place and away from direct sunlight.

However, among its few disadvantages it is necessary to mention that DEF is a corrosive liquid for some metals. Therefore, it is advisable to take special care when treating it in order to avoid spills while filling the tank.

On the other hand, although the procedure around DEF is simple and inexpensive, the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) carry multiple maintenance details. Both DPF and SCR are prone to clogging and causing pressure or temperature differentials capable of affecting engine operation.

As we can see, the most important disadvantage of DEF trucking is its difficult maintenance. But don't worry! At RoadPro we offer you a wide range of services and preventive maintenance for your fleet, among which the following stand out:

  • Diesel engine rebuilding and repair.
  • Hydraulic repair service.
  • Air pressure and brake pressure check.
  • Replacement of cabins.
  • Spare parts for transmissions, brakes and tires.
  • Oil and lubricants change.

Some Reliable DEF Fluid Providers

Always remember that in addition to proper maintenance, one of the most important factors for the performance of your truck is to use quality products. Verify if the DEF fluid you wish to purchase has the correct certification on the American Petroleum Institute (API) DEF licensing website.

Among the companies that commercialize DEF trucking of high quality standards, we have:

  • Yara International: is the world's leading producer of DEF, with capacities of 2.8 million tons of DEF produced per year. It has 5 international production plants and operations in more than 60 countries.
  • BASF: this German-based company leads the global chemical industry. It offers its AdBlue trademark as an option for trucks and vehicles interested in using DEF.
  • CF Industries: this is an American industry based in Illinois. It has a wide recognition in the field of fertilizers and DEF fluid for trucks.
  • Shell PLC: with a presence in more than 70 countries, energy and petrochemical giant Shell offers high-quality DEF fluids for your fleet.
  • Brenntag AG: another large international company with headquarters in Germany and a global presence. Brenntag AG offers a broad portfolio of chemicals for various industries, including high-quality and high-performance DEF fluid.

Tips for Optimal DEF Management

As with any product of extended use, it is worth highlighting some tips to prolong its life and avoid its deterioration:

  • Prevent DEF trucking contamination. Supply DEF fluid to your truck using clean dosing equipment made of compatible materials.
  • Leave a free space of 10% of the tank capacity. By doing so, you avoid the increase of pressure inside the diesel tank due to temperature.
  • Always use clean dispensers.
  • Do not add any fluids other than DEF.
  • Store DEF properly. Locate it in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place free from direct sunlight.

RoadPro Assistance is Your Indispensable Partner

Learn everything about the technology, operation and importance of DEF fluid. Discover why using it on your trucks is the best option 🚛🙌.

Now that we have answered your questions about DEF truck meaning, you only need to hire a service capable of dealing with this delicate fluid. At RoadPro we specialize in diesel truck engines and everything related to truck fluids, including DEF.

We are the most experienced agency in the maintenance and repair of trucks, caravans and trailers. We have extensive knowledge in mechanics and we are able to advise you on all your needs. We also keep abreast of the latest developments for the optimal operation of your fleet.

Be sure to check out Our Blog, where you'll find more tips to improve the performance of your entire fleet. You'll also see detailed descriptions of Our Services and learn more about your truck's overall performance.

Nothing is more important to us than your satisfaction. We want your travels to be hassle-free. However, if you experience any mishap on the road, do not hesitate to contact us at 470-750-2555. You will get an immediate response and a free quote!

Our service area covers Atlanta and 100 miles around. In addition, we are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Contact us now!