Troubleshooter: What to do about your frozen DEF blues

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Tricks to hold abreast of this widespread cold-weather diesel grievance

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Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is a vital a part of a contemporary diesel-powered car’s emission management system. Fabricated from automotive grade urea and de-ionized water (32.5% and 67.5% respectively). It’s injected into the exhaust stream to react with emissions to scale back the toxicity of what comes out the tailpipe. As using these methods is remitted by varied ranges of presidency, they’re outfitted with safeguards to forestall working the car if any failures come up. These options contain instrument panel warnings and can ultimately forestall the engine from beginning if a fault isn’t corrected.

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For probably the most half, they’re pretty simple to make use of with a tankful of DEF giving the typical driver a month’s price of driving or extra. The fluid is available and averages about $3.00 per litre (or much less when shopping for in bulk). So what’s the issue? DEF can begin to freeze at round -10° C, and on notably frosty mornings restore store telephones begin ringing off the hook with prospects discovering DEF warnings on their dashes.

Whereas there are heating methods built-in to DEF methods, these normally solely contain heating parts within the traces that carry the fluid to the injector. Techs have discovered that these heaters do little to forestall crystallization of the DEF within the higher a part of the tank, nevertheless. This performs havoc with the fluid degree sensor, tricking the engine laptop into ‘seeing’ a low or inadequate quantity of DEF within the tank and prompting sprint warnings and an eventual no-start situation.

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Dealerships are dealing with these conditions in several methods. Some are eradicating the DEF tank and cleansing the sensors within the pump unit, draining the tank, and refilling it with contemporary DEF. If the car is inside the phrases of the guarantee, they’re claiming it as a defect restore with no cost to the client save just a few {dollars} price of DEF. Others are merely telling prospects to park the car in a heated storage for as much as 48 hours to see if the issue will resolve itself. Others are charging prospects when a tank should be eliminated for the cleansing and de-crystallization course of, normally a minimal of 1.5 hours of labour plus fluid.

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Auto producers promoted these engines as with the ability to stand up to the setting they’re operated in, however as many diesel homeowners have discovered, their merchandise aren’t dwelling as much as the hype. Listed here are just a few tricks to hold abreast of the difficulty.

For those who personal certainly one of these autos, don’t overfill the DEF tank in chilly climate. If there’s no room for the fluid to increase when it freezes, it may well crack the tank.

Second, hold monitor of your car’s DEF consumption as you possibly can’t belief the extent sensors when the fluid crystallizes on the sensor.

Third, go away some room to stir the tank with some contemporary, heat DEF on notably chilly days. Hold the brand new containers in the home to convey them as much as indoor room temperature earlier than including some to attempt to heat your reservoir. In case you have no selection about parking outdoor, ask your service supplier about wrapping the tank in a thick textile padding (just like a non-powered battery blanket) to assist hold the frost away.

Lastly, earlier than calling the dealership for a service appointment, ask about their coverage in coping with frozen DEF tanks for autos inside guarantee. In the event that they let you know it’s a customer-pay concern, contact the automaker’s shopper line to complain. If sufficient homeowners do that, they could lastly give you a everlasting answer.


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