Better DEF Management: How to Avoid DEF Contamination
When you’re trying to avoid diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) contamination, you need to do everything possible to stay vigilant.
Knowing what it takes to have a solid DEF management plan in place requires doing some serious research.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to create this guide to safely handling your DEF. We’ll also talk about what you should watch out for, and how to prevent DEF contamination.
Keep yourself, your employees, and everyone else on the road with you, safe.
Know the Warning Signs
Familiarizing yourself with what you need to look out for is the first step of a solid DEF management plan. Let’s quickly review the top four signs of DEF trouble:
1) Exhaust Fluid Range: This shows you your available mile range when your DEF is low.
2) Exhaust Speed Limited Soon: This signal shows you when your DEF range is below a certain level, meaning that your speed will eventually limited.
3) Exhaust Fluid Empty Refill Now: This is the most important signal, as it means that your DEF is totally empty.
4) The Signal For Contaminated DEF: Whether you’re dealing with poor DEF storage or another issue, if you get this signal, you’ll have to totally drain and clean your DEF tank.
These signals are just as valuable as your fuel indicator, and ignoring them will have serious consequences. First of all, the speed of your vehicle will slow down drastically, so that your diesel emission doesn’t exceed the limits. Eventually, your truck may stop altogether.
Know the Consequences
When you’re dealing with DEF management, one of the best ways to keep you proactive is to familiarize yourself with what could happen if you let things slide.
- You put yourself and others at risk for serious health problems. Issues with fuel can cause lung cancer, make it difficult to breathe, and lead to serious illnesses. DEF contamination can increase the amount of pollution in your exhaust.
- A potential void of a manufacturer’s warranty. Not all consequences of contamination are physical. There are financial consequences, as well.
- Catalyst damage, which could run easily over $10,000 to replace.
- Increased consumption of DEF.
In order to master DEF management, you need to make sure you’re following industry standards. You hopefully are aware that the American Petroleum Institute has created a DEF purity standard.
This means that the same DEF rules are applied to both equipment and vehicles, and that buying API-Certified DEF will mean you’re on the safe side.
Still, be aware that once your DEF leaves the container, it can still become easily contaminated.
One of the most important DEF management tips is to make sure that you’re only handling DEF in specified hardware/containers.
Did you know that using standard fittings for your pump can place your DEF at high risk for contamination? This is because many of them are made with chrome, brass, zinc, and nickel, which contaminate DEF.
To ensure that your equipment and pumps aren’t contributing to contamination, only go for options that are made from stainless steel as a metal component.
Any other metals are unsafe.
Also, when you’re transferring your DEF, avoid using the same funnel that you use for other fluids, coolants, and oils. Keep your transfer area super clean.
Above all, under no circumstances should you refill a container that’s already been used or opened.
Keep It Closed
When you’re dispensing your DEF, try to do whatever you can to use a totally closed system to do so.
Your system should be sealed (think of a keg of beer!) and should only be used and designed for DEF management.
Don’t go with an open system, like a jug with a screw-off top, that you bought from a random supply store. If there are specific products made for DEF transportation and use, there’s a reason why.
Because they’re necessary.
These “kegs” for DEF range in size, and can be mounted on a trailer or just sealed for smaller, single uses.
Step Away from the Additives
This should be a no-brainer, but sadly it’s an error we see happening all too often in DEF management.
If you’re using additives in your DEF that claim to be “anti-freeze,” stop now.
Even if they work, you should know that they have not been officially endorsed or sanctioned by the American Petroleum Institute. This means that it’s pretty likely they’ll end up doing serious damage.
Keep an Eye on the Times
No, we don’t mean the paper. Instead, we’re talking about the shelf life of your DEF.
Keep in mind that how long your DEF will last is also highly influenced by the temperature of the place you’re storing it.
It also depends on the overall climate in which you live and work.
For example, if you live in the North or the Midwest (or anywhere else with a pretty cool climate) you can expect your shelf life to be a bit longer. Your DEF in the colder parts of the country should last anywhere between 18-36 months.
However, if you’re operating out of the Southern or Western states (or anywhere with a climate that’s generally on the warmer side) your DEF likely will not last as long. Here, expect a shelf life of roughly 12-18 months.
Always make sure that you’re still checking up on your DEF, so you’re not accidentally using an old supply.
Follow These Tips to Ensure Safe, Effective DEF Management
Whether it’s knowing what to look out for, or knowing how you can prevent a serious disaster from happening, good management is a social responsibility when it comes to DEF.
Don’t put your own health and safety, or that of others, at risk. Instead, follow these rules to the T. Also, always make sure you’re doing regular checks to ensure that everything is still up to code.
Looking for more advice, safety tips, and general information about the fuel industry?
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