The importance of Adblue for fleet operators

AdBlue supplier

Adblue is a diesel exhaust fluid that can remove harmful pollutants from exhaust gasses, and it is necessary for the majority of new diesel trucks and buses across the UK and Europe. In fact, any commercial vehicle weighing more than 7.5 tonnes, manufactured after October 2006 is equipped with SCR technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction). This requires the use of AdBlue for haulage vehicles, trucks and buses. If you operate a fleet, keeping on top of the individual Adblue levels of each vehicle is now a crucial part of fleet management. But it’s something that not every fleet is currently keeping up with.

Adblue breakdowns

Because of the way that Adblue is used, if the levels of Adblue become too low, the vehicle simply wont start. And this has meant that the AA’s recovery service has seen a rapid growth in breakdowns due to accidental misuse of, or lack of understanding about Adblue. In fact, the AA needed to tackle more than 23,000 breakdowns linked to Adblue in 2017! And this is almost twice the total of 2016. This has included breakdowns caused by the incorrect application of Adblue, or Adblue being poured into the diesel tank. As a result, its more important than ever that fleet operators keep on top of Adblue levels, and also educate drivers about the importance of Adblue.

The dangers of Adblue breakdowns

Carlos Montero, chief commercial officer at FleetEurope stated that:

“If the Adblue tank runs empty, the engine’s performance is reduced to limit its emissions. Once the vehicle stops, the driver will be unable to restart the vehicle until the tank is refilled, putting them and other road users at risk if they break down on a busy road or motorway.”

Keeping topped up

Keeping on top of the Adblue level in individual vehicles will be a different procedure for each company. While some fleets will be maintained by the fleet operator, for others, individual drivers will have control and responsibility for the Adblue level, being reimbursed in some cases through a fuel card system.

It is almost always more cost efficient for companies to buy Adblue in bulk, to be stored at the depot in a large tank, and to keep on top of the Adblue levels in house, as this can be a £100 procedure when carried out by an outside maintenance supplier!

Education for drivers

At the same time, drivers themselves need to understand Adblue, and its importance. Stuart Thomas, director of fleet and SME at the AA, believes that this is essential, because:

“if Adblue is poured directly into the fuel tank it can cause expensive damage to both the fuel pump and the injection system. If the mistake is spotted before the engine is started, the tank will require flushing out and refilling with diesel in the same way as if petrol had accidentally been put into the tank. But if the engine is started it could become an expensive write-off, with the associated inconvenience and cost of a replacement vehicle.”

Thankfully, most of the vehicles will warn drivers to top up the Adblue tank at least 1,000 miles before it is empty. This should be plenty of miles to refill safely. Drivers are generally warned though a dashboard light, or a text message, so it is difficult to ignore.

For Adblue delivered to your company, get in touch with Compass Fuel Oils today.