How to Handle and Store DEF Correctly

If you have many operators and drivers operating your SCR vehicles, then it is good practice to advise them on how to handle and store Diesel Exhaust Fluid to ensure misfueling or contamination is avoided.

Yara’s Air1 team give you easy to follow guidelines on the Diesel Exhaust Fluid do’s and don’ts of using Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Print them off and attach to your Diesel Exhaust Fluid containers, or workshop bulletin board.

Simple Facts on Storing DEF

  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid is a non hazardous, easy to use operating fluid
  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid, if kept as per the storage guidelines, has a shelf life of up to one year
  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid is delivered, by reputable companies, in dedicated Diesel Exhaust Fluid containers
  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid containers should have seals intact
  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid containers should be kept in clean conditions

No foreign matter, in solid or liquid form should be added to the containers
When you top off your Diesel Exhaust Fluid tank you should never need to use other equipment such as funnels, jugs or diesel equipment to refill your vehicle as the Diesel Exhaust Fluid containers usually contain nozzles to help you dispense easily.

When handling small quantities of Diesel Exhaust Fluid, protective clothing is not required. However, you may prefer to wear gloves to prevent sensitive skin conditions. To ensure your SCR system continues to perform effectively and is protected from the risk of damage you need to follow some simple rules to prevent your Diesel Exhaust Fluid being compromised. It is very important that no other product is added to your Diesel Exhaust Fluid, including tap water, as it may damage your SCR components.

Air1 distributors in the US

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What happens if contaminated or inferior quality Diesel Exhaust Fluid is used?

Contaminated Diesel Exhaust Fluid or inferior quality [(ie does not meet standards set in ISO 22241 (ISO-22241-1, ISO-22241-2, ISO-22241-3)] may cause detectable damage to the vehicle’s SCR system.

This will have the following consequences:

  • Invalidate any warranty claims relating to the vehicle’s SCR exhaust injection system or catalyst, which are costly technical items to replace
  • On Board Diagnostics (OBD) are able to detect when the SCR system is not performing efficiently, and can shut down the vehicle to crawler mode, effecting your operations and business
  • NOx emissions will be beyond legal limits, therefore your vehicle will be operating illegally and enforcement agencies will penalize accordingly

Yara uses raw materials that are ‘prime produced’ for its Air1 branded Diesel Exhaust Fluid, which ensures the quality is uncompromised and meets ISO 22241 (ISO-22241-1, ISO-22241-2, ISO-22241-3).

What happens if I don't use Diesel Exhaust Fluid, substitute with water or over ride the system?

  • The vehicle will be operating illegally and enforcement authorities such as EPA will treat non-compliance as an offence
  • Vehicle's fitted with Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) will reduce the power of the vehicles, by up to 40%, if they are operated without Diesel Exhaust Fluid
  • Using water is also detectable, with incurred maintenance charges and down time as the SCR system is susceptible to build up of calcified deposits from the minerals found in water
  • Gradual degrading and clogging of the SCR system will result in costly replacement parts, reduced efficiency and lost time

What happens if Diesel Exhaust Fluid is filled into the diesel tank or diesel into the Diesel Exhaust Fluid tank? 

  • Do not start the engine! 
  • Do not move the vehicle to a more convenient place! 
  • Drain the tank with the vehicle still in its original position.
  • If the engine is started, even for short time:
    • The fluid will enter the wrong system, and this can have expensive consequences in the short term and over a long duration
    • Diesel Exhaust Fluid is not compatible with some metals and materials, so will slowly degrade the fuel system’s pipework and components
    • Diesel will poison the catalyst which is costly to replace (unwarrantable damage), resulting in downtime and maintenance bills

Do's and Don'ts

Do's Don'ts
  • Always fill Diesel Exhaust Fluid into the Diesel Exhaust Fluid tank. Both the nozzle pistol and filler cap of the tank are clearly marked
  • Ensure diesel is never filled into the Diesel Exhaust Fluid tank
  • Only use dedicated Diesel Exhaust Fluid equipment when storing or refilling Diesel Exhaust Fluid
  • Keep your Diesel Exhaust Fluid equipment clean and free from dust or dirt
  • Ensure your Diesel Exhaust Fluid tank and container seals remain intact
  • Use demineralised water (or Diesel Exhaust Fluid) when cleaning internally or priming Diesel Exhaust Fluid equipment
  • Protect against misuse by not mixing with tap water, fuel, oil or other liquids
  • Wear some protection if you are handling large quantities, with danger of spilling
  • If spilt on the ground, inside the vehicle, or on paintwork wash down with plenty of water
  • Store with protection from extreme temperatures. Diesel Exhaust Fluid freezes at an ambient temperature of -11˚C
  • Gently warm the container to melt the Diesel Exhaust Fluid, if it freezes in its storage container. Diesel Exhaust Fluid can be used again, once thawed, as it returns to its original state
  • Keep your Diesel Exhaust Fluid out of direct sunlight
  • Store below an ambient temperature of 30˚C as Diesel Exhaust Fluid can start to decompose
  • Chill your Diesel Exhaust Fluid container if it becomes over heated by spraying the sealed container with water

Note: The vehicle is designed to prevent Diesel Exhaust Fluid from freezing onboard.

  • Do not fill DEF into the diesel tank
  • Do not fill diesel into the DEF tank
  • Do not fill the DEF tank with water or any other liquid
  • Do not mix DEF to other liquids – it is not an additive
  • Do not use DEF if contaminated with tap water or other substances, especially diesel fuel
  • Avoid spilling DEF on the ground, as the surface may become slippery, or affect concrete or brickwork
  • Do not leave spilt DEF unwashed. Use water to swill away any excess
  • Do not operate your vehicle without Diesel Exhaust Fluid. It is illegal to do so, and will result in extra downtime
  • Do not use other substances than DEF eg Urea Solutions. Costly, unwarranted detectable damage may occur in the SCR system
  • Do not over-ride the system as this may affect your warranty and also result in crawler mode
  • Do not use any other equipment, such as funnels, jugs or oil containers for refilling DEF
  • Do not store DEF in direct sunlight