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5 Diesel Exhaust Fluid Myths You Need to Stop Believing Right Now!

Owning a diesel vehicle comes with perks: power, torque, and fuel efficiency. But it also introduces a unique element that doesn’t apply to gas vehicles. 

Enter the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).

DEF is an essential component in modern diesel vehicles, as it helps minimize toxic emissions and improve air quality. However, if you’re new to DEF, you might have come across some ‘expert advice’ or ‘old wisdom’ which can be misleading and confusing. 

But fear not! It’s time to clear the air with a guide to diesel exhaust fluid. In this article, we will debunk 5 common misconceptions about diesel exhaust fluid to help you make informed decisions.

Myth #1. DEF is Harmful or Toxic

Some people wrongly assume diesel exhaust fluid contains harmful chemicals or toxins. However, this is not the case. 

DEF, aka AUS 32, is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, and non-flammable solution composed of 32.5% high-purity urea and 67.5% deionized water, neither of which are hazardous materials. It has a natural pH of 9.0, which is similar to that of everyday baking soda. 

Contrary to popular belief, DEF is safe to handle and does not require any additional measures. However, it is crucial to enforce suitable storage and handling guidelines to prevent any possible health issues. Another risk would be skin or eye irritation from direct contact with DEF. So use gloves and eye protection while handling it, and remember to keep DEF away from open flames, just like any automotive fluid. 

There have been no documented cases of DEF causing health issues when used properly in vehicles. So you don’t need to worry about harmful emissions or other risks while driving a vehicle that uses DEF.

Myth #2. DEF Hurts Your Engine Performance

Now, hold on to your horsepower! Adding DEF to your engine is like your engine giving you a high-five, not a slap on the wrist. 

DEF works with your vehicle’s exhaust after-treatment system and does not affect engine components. It does not alter the engine timing, fuel injection, power output, or other performance factors in any way. 

DEF is an essential component of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems, which help break down harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions into harmless nitrogen and water vapor. This process enables modern diesel engines to meet emission standards while preserving optimal performance.

Vehicles using DEF and undergoing emissions testing perform as well as or better than those without it. You can use DEF with confidence, knowing it will help, not hurt, your diesel engine’s performance.

Myth #3. DEF Is Just Another Name for Antifreeze

Don’t let their similar blue hues fool you! 

While both play crucial roles in your diesel vehicle, DEF and antifreeze are like apples and oranges – different roles, and different benefits. Antifreeze regulates engine temperature and prevents engine damage due to freezing temperatures, whereas DEF focuses on reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. DEF is dispersed into the exhaust stream to lower emissions.

While antifreeze contains methanol, glycerol, ethylene glycol, and propylene glycol, DEF is made of urea and purified water. Never substitute one for the other or mix them, as this can damage your engine. DEF also freezes at a higher temperature than antifreeze. 

So it’s important to know they are distinct fluids and not interchangeable in your vehicle’s systems.

Myth #4. DEF Is Expensive and Not Worth the Cost

The myth that DEF is expensive and not worth the cost is another common misconception.

As Diesel Power Products puts it, DEF on average costs about 3 to 5 cents per mile driven, even if you’re towing, which is pretty inexpensive. When you compare this to the fuel savings and reduced repairs that DEF enables, it more than pays for itself over time. When used correctly, DEF contributes to a cleaner environment and helps diesel vehicles meet stringent emission standards. 

Moreover, the cost of DEF is also low compared to the overall operating expenses of a diesel vehicle. So, while DEF might seem like an extra cost at first glance, don’t underestimate its potential to save you money and contribute to a cleaner, healthier planet.

Myth #5. All DEF Brands Are the Same

When refilling your DEF tank, you may be tempted to just grab whatever brand is available. 

However, not all diesel exhaust fluids are created equal. DEF can vary in quality, purity levels, and the use of additives if you choose any bogus brands. So, buy DEF only from American Petroleum Institute (API)-certified brands. API certification means that the brand has met the ISO 22241 standard and other quality requirements set by the institute.

DEF brands must meet standards before they can define their product as a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). API certification ensures that the product is tested and has passed stringent quality testing in production, storage, and distribution.

Remember to pick a certified DEF to keep your engine running smoothly, efficiently, and most importantly, clean.

So, there you have it: five diesel exhaust fluid myths busted!

Remember, DEF is your eco-partner, not a foe. Understand that DEF is safe, beneficial for emissions control, distinct from antifreeze, cost-effective, and varies in quality among brands. Though it requires an additional cost, the benefits of reduced repairs and improved fuel efficiency make DEF well worth it in the long run. 

For optimal results, always opt for a certified DEF brand you can trust. Your engine’s exhaust system will thank you for it.

Written By

I am self-educated and a God-made man. I started my journey as a freelance writer and blogger. My love for literature made me delve deeper into the world of SEO and online marketing. This eventually led me to start my own company, 7star-seo-expert. I am a great believer in hard work and dedication. I believe that these are the two key ingredients to success. I am constantly striving to provide my clients with the best possible service and achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction. I am always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow.

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