What is AdBlue? Urea AdBlue Explained

04/12/2019

What is AdBlue?

AdBlue is a liquid solution; its main purpose is to help reduce pollutive emissions that occur when using vehicles with diesel engines. A common variety of this solution is Shell AdBlue - you might have seen it at fuel stations. The solution is poured into a separate tank to the fuel and when the solution meets the exhaust system, ammonia is released and enables a reaction, transforming nitrogen oxides into two different substances. Both water vapour and nitrogen are created by the reaction, which means it then can be flushed out of the vehicle via the exhaust, with no damage or side effects.

What is AdBlue made of?

The liquid solution is made up of 32.5% urea and 67.5% de-ionised water. You may be wondering, where does the urea in AdBlue come from? Well, AdBlue urea is made by heating up synthetic ammonia and carbon dioxide. The urea is then added to the de-ionised water to create AdBlue.

Using AdBlue in your car

AdBlue sits in a separate tank to diesel and, unlike petrol or diesel, isn’t injected into the engine. Instead, it’s injected into the exhaust system. The filler cap is often located in the boot for most commercial vehicles.  

Under normal driving conditions, you won’t need to top it up yourself. AdBlue is used in small quantities so is usually topped up when a car is being serviced. Peugeot, for example, estimates that its cars can travel up to 12,000 miles before needing a top-up. A VW Passat, however, needs to be topped up around every 6,000 miles.

If you are a high mileage driver or run a large fleet with cross country routes, then your drivers may need to top up the AdBlue themselves. While this isn’t difficult, it’s important to ensure you choose the right product and that it’s inserted into the vehicle correctly to avoid any damage occurring.

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Topping up your AdBlue tank

There are several ways you can top up your AdBlue tank. Firstly, most big-branded service stations have AdBlue dispensing pumps, particularly in HGV lanes. Alternatively, garages, filling stations and other retailers sell portable containers of AdBlue, with high mileage users often carrying one of these with them should the warning light come on. With these, you can top up in the same way you do your window wiper spray.

Some manufacturers, however, recommend taking a car to a dealership if you need to top up, which they will do for a fairly low, fixed price.

For more information on filling up your fleet’s AdBlue at the pump, then please read our previous post, which offers a guide to AdBlue filling stations.

Buying AdBlue with a fuel card

Most leading fuel card networks will accept fuel cards as a method of payment for AdBlue sold via pumps on garage forecourts. This is great news for fleet managers, as it means the fleet can fill up fuel and AdBlue at the same time, making things much more efficient and easier for everyone involved.

Many of the fuel cards we offer at Fuelmate can be used to purchase AdBlue and lubricants, as well as fuel. If you have a requirement for AdBlue purchases on your fuel card, get in touch today so that one of our experts can help you discover which fuel cards would be the most beneficial for your fleet.