How to check, refill and remove AdBlue®
Whether you own a car or manage a fleet, it’s a great idea to understand how to check, refill and remove AdBlue® from your vehicle. The fluid, used to reduce nitrous oxide emissions in diesel engines, safeguards your health and that of pedestrians. On top of this, running out of AdBlue® has the potential to do serious damage to your vehicle – here’s how to make sure you don’t get caught short.
How much AdBlue® does my car need?
It’s difficult to say definitively how much AbBlue® your vehicle needs, but usage generally equates to around 1 litre per 350 to 600 miles. AdBlue® use is usually around 3 to 6% of diesel consumption.
The amount your car needs is dependent on engine size, driving style and the size of the AbBlue® tank. For a conclusive answer, check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic.
What does AdBlue® range mean?
AbBlue® range refers to how far you can drive between refills. It’s tough to define an exact distance as there are several factors at play, such as the type of vehicle, the size of the tank, your vehicle’s fuel economy and how aggressively you drive. Generally, ranges fall between 3,000 and 12,000 miles.
Visit our AdBlue® calculator to work out how much your vehicle needs.
What happens if my car runs out of AbBlue®?
As your car runs out of AbBlue®, your vehicle’s selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system will begin to reduce engine performance, limiting your speed further until the AbBlue® tank becomes empty – at which point, the engine may not restart.
This is because vehicle manufacturers must ensure their vehicles meet emissions regulations – without AdBlue®, many vehicles no longer meet said standards.
Knowing if you have an adequate amount of AdBlue® is relatively straightforward as an amber dashboard warning light will alert you when your tank needs a refill.
If your warning light is lit, it’s not something that needs immediate action as this indicates you have around 1,500 miles to go before you run out. Some models will even display a countdown, but it’s important not to leave your top-up too late – as outlined above, engine performance may be affected as a result.
How to refill AdBlue®
Your mechanic should top-up your AdBlue® tank during its routine service, but if you do need to refill your AdBlue® tank, the process is simple:
Locate the vehicle’s AdBlue® tank – it will either be beneath the bonnet, or next to the diesel filler cap. If you’re unsure, check your owner’s manual.
If you do not have an anti-spill nozzle, remove the AdBlue® tank cap and place a funnel in the top of the reservoir.
Slowly fill the tank until full.
Some vehicles require a dashboard reset after a top-up to remove the AdBlue® warning light. Check your owner’s manual or with your mechanic to see if this applies to your vehicle.
After topping up, do not start the vehicle until its onboard computer has validated the refill. This can take a couple of minutes but once you get confirmation it’s worked, you’re good to go.
Learn more about solving problems with AdBlue® in our guide.
If you have mistakenly put AdBlue® in the wrong system or another fluid in your AdBlue® reservoir, do not start your engine and contact a mechanic. If you start your engine and attempt to drive, you will likely greatly damage your engine.
Removing the AdBlue® system or installing an emulator is illegal in some countries. In the UK, HGV drivers lose their O-licenses if their vehicles are found to have been tampered with and may receive significant fines, particularly if drivers have been operating in low-emissions zones illegally.
View our Ultimate Guide to Adblue®, or contact our experts to learn more about the Total Adblue® range.