Car exhaust

Have you heard of AdBlue® technology?

AdBlue systems are increasingly fitted to the latest cars or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) with newer diesel engines. The technology is designed to reduce harmful exhaust emissions through adding AdBlue fluid into the exhaust system, so this fluid may need refilling from time to time.

How to check if your car has AdBlue

It’s best to check your manufacturer’s handbook for details, or speak to your dealer who’ll be able to confirm this. If your car was built very recently and uses a diesel engine, it’s likely to use AdBlue. But although the technology is becoming more common place, not every single diesel car uses it. You may have already noticed that your car has an extra, smaller filler cap, marked ‘AdBlue,’ next to the diesel filler where you usually top up the fuel. In some cars the filler may be located elsewhere such as the boot floor.

What you need to know

  • All cars that have an AdBlue system have a mechanism to warn the driver if it’s running low and requires a top up. In most cases, a yellow engine warning symbol will come on, on the dashboard.
  • AdBlue will be checked and refilled by the dealer as part of your vehicle’s standard service.
  • If you haven’t had the car for very long or covered many miles, chances are you won’t need to take any action in between services.
  • If you cover more miles, you may find that you need to refill the AdBlue tank more regularly.
  • If the warning light appears, you can top up the tank using AdBlue fluid which is widely available to purchase at petrol stations and motoring stores.
  • Always remember you can contact your dealer for advice on refilling AdBlue if you’re at all unsure.

Why AdBlue is used

To help reduce harmful pollutants, European emission standards set limits for the level of exhaust emissions produced by vehicles. The new Euro 6 Regulations apply to all new registrations from 1 September 2015, when all new cars had to meet the latest emissions requirements. AdBlue is an effective way of bringing diesel engines up to the standard required to meet Euro 6 Regulations. It has previously been used in buses and lorries and is now used by many manufacturers.

How it works

  • Cars with the latest technology are able to inject the AdBlue liquid into the exhaust gasses of diesel powered engines.
  • AdBlue is a clear liquid made up of demineralized water and urea.
  • The liquid combines with harmful emissions normally produced in the exhaust, such as nitrous oxides, breaking them down into environmentally friendly gases like nitrogen and oxygen.
  • This is known as ‘selective catalytic reduction’ or SCR technology.

Refilling AdBlue

Your dealer will top up the AdBlue system for you as part of your vehicle’s standard service. As it’s injected into the exhaust system in small quantities, you may find you don’t need to refill this between services. If the warning light appears, don’t ignore this as your car won’t start if the tank runs completely dry.

Topping up should be a straightforward process but if you need assistance, please speak to your Motability Scheme dealer who will be happy to help. Advice on refilling AdBlue will be available in the manufacturer’s handbook. Usually, this requires unscrewing the AdBlue filler cap, screwing the refill bottle’s connector in its place and letting the liquid drain from the bottle.

Tips and recommendations

  • Don’t store a spare bottle of AdBlue in the boot or garage, as spillages can be harmful and the liquid itself can get contaminated or degrade over time.
  • Avoid contact and wash your hands after use as it can irritate your skin and eyes.
  • Make sure the liquid doesn’t touch the car’s paintwork as it can be corrosive.
  • The amount of AdBlue needed varies depending on the vehicle and driving behaviour, for more advice consult your manufacture’s handbook or speak to your dealer.

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