What is the Purpose of AdBlue and How Do I Get It?

AdBlue is the brand name of a diesel exhaust fluid product formulated to reduce emissions produced by diesel engines. The German Association of the Automotive Industry holds the trademark to AdBlue. But you may also see the product advertised as AUS 32 (Aqueous Urea Solution 32%).

The formula consists of 67.5% deionized water and 32.5% urea. Combining these two solutions can effectively lower nitrogen oxide levels in a diesel engine. This process is known as selective catalytic reduction.

Urea (carbamide) is a manufactured or organically produced nitrogen-rich compound. For instance, the human body’s liver produces urea when absorbing amino acids and proteins. You can find urea in a human’s urine to harvest it naturally. However, the urea in AdBlue is synthetic and manufactured, so it doesn’t come from urine.

What Does AdBlue Do In a Diesel Vehicle?

The AdBlue solution is added to the exhaust system of a diesel-powered vehicle. In the exhaust system, the solution reduces harmful exhaust fumes and gas emissions before they escape outside. It is the only way many car manufacturers can comply with the strict Euro6 emissions standard for new European diesel-powered cars.

Don’t put the AdBlue solution into the diesel engine or fuel tank because it is only meant for the exhaust system. In addition, the AdBlue solution must be pressurized before it is injected in the exhaust system because it’ll start a chemical reaction that lowers nitrogen oxide levels in the tailpipe.

When the AdBlue solution connects with the scorching exhaust gases, it evaporates the solution’s 67.5% of deionized water and decomposes the urea. As a result, isocyanic acid and ammonia are formed. Once the isocyanic acid hydrolyses into ammonia and carbon dioxide from the water vapour, it lowers nitrogen oxide levels in the exhaust system after reaching oxygen.

The Longevity of AdBlue

The average AdBlue tank installed can hold 10 litres of the solution. So you would likely consume about one litre per 900 to 1000 kilometres of driving. Therefore, it would be a good idea to refill your AdBlue tank each time you travel about 8,000 kilometres. That will ensure you don’t use up all your AdBlue solution before filling it again.

If you let your vehicle run out of AdBlue solution without refilling the tank, you’ll notice a lower quality performance from your car. Some more modern diesel-powered vehicles go into limp mode or fail to start if no AdBlue solution is detected in the tank.

Fortunately, avoiding an empty AdBlue tank is easy. Most modern vehicles will flash a warning light on the dashboard when the AdBlue tank is low or close to empty. Listen to the warning by refilling your AdBlue tank as soon as possible. Then you can avoid any future problems with your vehicle or its exhaust system, otherwise you may need a tow truck.

Where to Buy AdBlue Products

AdBlue products are sold at most automotive parts stores and service stations throughout Australia. Car dealerships may also sell AdBlue products, but usually if the cars they sell are compatible with AdBlue solutions.

However, you probably won’t find AdBlue products sold in big department stores and hardware stores, such as Mitre 10, Bunnings, Target, and Kmart. The only exception is if your local hardware store or department store has a special automotive section with unique auto products like AdBlue.

The problem is that AdBlue has become more difficult to purchase over the last few years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since China is the number one supplier of the vital urea compound for AdBlue products, urea distribution was hindered in the supply chain. That meant fewer AdBlue product supplies were available to Australians.

As a result, the Australian transport industry was severely affected because the limited AdBlue supply meant that many commercial and private diesel operators could not operate their vehicles. And given that heavy trucks are used to transport products and raw materials in several industries, the limited supply of AdBlue also hurt businesses throughout multiple industries.

Fortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted, so the shipment of the urea compound has commenced again. So it should now be easier to find AdBlue products at automotive parts stores and service stations in your local area.

What is the Cost of AdBlue Products?

The average Australian automotive parts store sells a 10-litre container of AdBlue for anywhere from $60 to $65. You can also buy a smaller one-litre bottle of AdBlue for about $12 to $16.

Some businesses may have better prices than others. It never hurts to shop around by checking to see if your local hardware stores or department stores sell AdBlue products. Sometimes the smaller hardware stores may have original products like AdBlue when the bigger named stores don’t have them.