What Happens If You Run Out Of Diesel Exhaust Fluid?

Vehicle makers must implement procedures to ensure that vehicles cannot run without Diesel Exhaust Fluid, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (DEF). The driver of a vehicle receives a succession of alerts on their dashboard displays before the DEF tank runs out (much the same way as if they were running low on diesel). In general, an amber warning bulb will illuminate when the DEF tank level drops below 10%, flashing at 5%, and solid amber warning light will illuminate when the DEF tank level dips below 2.5 percent.

The engine’s power is lowered, a solid red warning is displayed, and the vehicle’s speed is limited to 5 mph until the DEF tank is refilled if the truck is allowed to run out of DEF.

How long can you go without diesel exhaust fluid?

-Components such as the DEFdosing pump and the diesel particulate filter could be damaged.

The manufacturer’s warranty may be voided in the event of equipment failure or component damage caused by poor DEF, converting these problems into costly repairs. What causes DEF to deteriorate, and how can it be avoided? Here are seven crucial aspects to consider.

1. Longevity

DEF has a shelf life because it does not include any preservatives. The good news is that DEF has a rather long shelf life; in most cases, it may be stored for up to a year without any problems.

2. Use the Right Containers

DEF’s shelf life is extended when it is stored properly. It must be kept in ISO-certified containers composed of long-lasting composite materials. Because DEF corrodes metal, storage containers made of stainless steel, polypropylene, or high-density polyethylene are suitable. It is not suggested to reuse DEF containers, even certified ones, to reduce the risk of fluid contamination.

While it may seem inconsequential, clearly label DEF and all other fluid storage containers. It’s all too common for DEF to be mistaken for conventional fuel or another fluid, and to be dumped into the wrong tank in a machine.

Will a diesel engine run without DEF fluid?

SCR is quickly becoming one of the most critical components in diesel automobiles. With tougher pollution restrictions and regulations, diesel vehicle owners need make sure their SCR systems are in good working order.

It’s also critical to check that the diesel exhaust fluid level is enough. Without DEF, modern trucks will not run. As a result, diesel truck owners must check their fluid levels on a regular basis. Everyone should strive to reduce pollution. Maintaining your vehicle will also help you save money on emissions and DEF.

What happens when you run a diesel out of DEF?

To ensure that owners take their clean-air obligations seriously, the EPA requires manufacturers of new light-duty diesels to halt the engine’s usual startup sequence if the DEF runs out. To avoid leaving owners stranded on the side of the road, every diesel vehicle manufacturer gives plenty of notice when it’s time to add DEF.

Our Range Rover has a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 engine that gets its DEF from a 4.8-gallon tank under the floor beneath the driver’s seat. The fill cap for that reservoir is located under the hood, atop the left fender. A full DEF tank should last 6300 miles, according to the owner’s manual, however as we all know, mileage varies.

While our Range Rover lacks a DEF gauge (other vehicles now do), the driver may access the service menu in the display between the tachometer and speedometer to see how many miles remain until the fuel runs out. There’s a comment under the Next Oil Change header that says “DEF refill XXX miles” with the motor off.

We quickly learned that the first warning is transient and easy to overlook. The first notification, “Diesel exhaust fluid level low,” appears roughly 1500 miles before the no-restart Armageddon, according to Land Rover. We must have missed that notification since, 969 miles from the finish, one of our editors on a weekend excursion noted: “First DEF warning sighted.” The cluster display had no orange triangle, and an inattentive motorist would have missed it. I didn’t get a chance to photograph the notice before it vanished.”

Can I put water in my DEF tank?

Registered. There will be no urea sprayed into the exhaust to convert to ammonia if you put water in an EMPTY DEF tank. Ammonia is required to remove NOX (nitrogen oxides) using the SCR system (Selective Catalytic Reducer).

Can you bypass a DEF system?

If you’re considering circumventing any of your diesel’s pollution controls, keep in mind that doing so is extremely unlawful, and the penalties can be severe. Although the chances of being caught are slim, the repercussions are severe. Installing an exhaust pipe to bypass the particle filter can cause havoc with the EGR system and result in extremely high exhaust gas temperatures, which can shorten the engine’s lifespan. Of course, removing the DEF system necessitates the installation of a plug-in tuner chip, which deceives the engine computer into believing the DEF is still operating, allowing the engine to continue to run.

Is it illegal to remove the DEF system?

It’s not difficult to find someone who can modify or remove the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (or DEF) emissions systems on your agricultural equipment if you look hard enough. Given the openness with which this service is provided, a farmer could be forgiven for thinking DEF alterations are permitted.

They aren’t. The EPA Clean Air Act forbids anybody from removing or rendering inoperable an emission control device on a motor vehicle in the United States. Under a different name, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Canada has essentially the same statute.

Even though it is forbidden, DEF tampering occurs. What is causing this, and what are the potential consequences?

Early DEF systems, according to Kevin Rossler, Sales Manager for Markusson New Holland Ag in Regina, could be problematic.

“There were early concerns in agricultural equipment as it developed into Tier-Four emissions or DEF systems,” explains Rossler. “An error code from a sensor failing at seeding time could cause you to lose power, which is quite inconvenient. As a result, several operators wanted to get rid of their DEF systems or purchase DEF delete kits to avoid having to utilize them.”

Interfering with a DEF system can get you in trouble with the law, but that’s not the only danger. It will also nullify the manufacturer’s warranty on the equipment. When equipment with tampered DEF arrives at a dealership as a trade-in, it must be returned to its original DEF settings before it can be resold. That’s $5,000 to $7,000, according to Rossler’s experience.

He advises equipment owners to let go of any remaining misconceptions regarding DEF, stating that current versions of the technology work significantly more consistently. DEF systems are unlikely to cause problems in the field, but they’re excellent at what they’re supposed to do: regulate emissions from agricultural equipment and help farming keep its good environmental reputation.

“Early DEF systems are nothing like what we have now,” says Larry Hertz, WEDA’s Regional Vice-President for Canada. “Today, you could place your face right close to the exhaust pipe and nothing would come out. DEF is required by legislation in order to maintain air quality. That’s all the more incentive to leave your DEF alone and let it do its thing.”

Q1: Where can I find DEF?

A: Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is widely available at most filling stations and automotive parts retail stores because practically all diesel-powered passenger cars and trucks made since 2010 are fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and require it. A DEF pump is frequently located on the fuel island at truck stops. DEF is also available at key OEM outlets, such as Cummins dealers and distributors. Your fuel provider may be able and willing to deliver DEF directly to you if you have a large enough fleet and storage capacity to justify bulk purchasing.

Cummins Filtration has teamed up with Old World Industries to become the official North American manufacturer, packager, and distributor of Fleetguard Diesel Exhaust Fluid.

Q2: What’s the shelf life of DEF?

A: The shelf life of DEF is determined by the temperature of the storage facility. DEF should be stored between 12°F and 86°F, however if kept below 65°F, the shelf life is increased to two years. To extend the shelf life of DEF, keep it in a climate-controlled location away from direct sunlight.

Q3: What happens if DEF freezes?

A: While DEF does freeze at 12 degrees F, it has no effect on the vehicle’s start-up or operation. The SCR system heats the DEF tank and pipes as the engine starts up, allowing the DEF to thaw quickly and flow to the aftertreatment system regardless of the outside temperature.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid contains 32.5 percent urea and 67.5 percent deionized water in its formulation. DEF will freeze at 12°F (-11°C) in storage or when the engine is not in use. The urea and the water both freeze and thaw at the same pace at this concentration, guaranteeing that you always have the right amount of both. SCR engines are specifically tuned for optimal performance at this ratio, which is why it’s critical to use a high-quality DEF that complies with ISO standards.

There is one operational difference to be aware of: DEF expands when frozen, just like any other water-based fluid (by approximately 7 percent). When the vehicle is turned off in cold weather, the operator should wait 60 seconds before shutting off the batteries to allow the fluid to flow back out of the hoses and into the DEF tank.

Anti-gelling additives and freeze point improvers should never be introduced to DEF since they will obstruct its capacity to function properly and may cause harm to SCR system components.

Q4: How much DEF will my equipment use?

A: DEF consumption varies based on the environment, the equipment’s operation, and the duty cycle. DEF use accounts for 3-5 percent of total fuel consumption on average.

Because most DEF fill-ups occur at the same time as diesel fuel, it’s a good idea to look at utilization from that standpoint. It’s best to simply top off your DEF tank every time you refuel. Adjust your DEF refills accordingly and consider having an extra bottle of DEF on hand if you’re driving a car that sees very little actual activity or is stored in high ambient temps when shelf life is a problem.

Q5: What happens if my equipment runs out of DEF?

A: Like a fuel gauge, all EPA 2010 engines with SCR are equipped with a gauge that displays the DEF fluid level. Furthermore, they are fitted with a set of flashing lights that warn the operator when the DEF tank is running low on fluid. Vehicle speed will be limited if the DEF reservoir is not replenished and becomes low, but if DEF is injected, the engine will resume regular speed levels. A wise precaution would be to have a top-off gallon jug of DEF on each piece of equipment equipped with an EPA 2010 engine and aftertreatment system.

Engines built before to July 8, 2011 may function differently than those listed here. For more information, contact your local Cummins agent and request Cummins Bulletin 4971316, “Driver Tips For Fire And Emergency Vehicles.”

How often does a diesel truck need DEF?

When it’s time to change your DEF, all newer diesel vehicles include a dashboard warning system. To figure out how much you’ll need, you’ll need to know your engine’s efficiency.

When compared to the amount of fuel used, DEF is consumed at a rate of roughly 2-3%. For a car with a 65-gallon gas tank, this means between 1.2 and 2.0 gallons of DEF will be necessary. DEF should be replenished every third or fourth time you fill up a five-gallon DEF tank. The simplest method to avoid an issue is to simply top off on a regular basis.

Is DEF bad for diesel engines?

While the water and urea mixture is excellent for the environment, it can cause crystals to form, which can clog fuel filters, damage aircraft engines, and cause engine failure. DEF is sprayed directly into exhaust systems and should never be used as a fuel additive, diesel or airplane.