DEF – What It Is & Why You Should Use It

There are a lot of acronyms to keep track of in the fuel industry, and DEF, diesel exhaust fluid, is one of them. Whether you’re new to the industry and learning the lingo or a thirty-year expert and need a refresher, we’re going to break down what DEF is and why you should use it in your modern diesel engines.

What Is Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)?

Put simply, diesel exhaust fluid helps break down nitrogen oxides (NOx: pollutants) and reduce harmful emissions. It’s first helpful to describe where DEF plays its part in the grand scheme of things.

DEF is used in your engine’s emissions control system or often called the selective catalytic reduction system (SCR). After leaving the engine, the exhaust goes through several steps before it exits through the tailpipe. Broken down more technically – this is what happens:

1. First, the exhaust leaves the engine.

2. Next, the diesel particulate filter (DPF) removes diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas.

3. Then, DEF is injected into that exhaust from a separate tank. Chemically, DEF is a combination of 67.5% deionized water (purified water without any minerals) and 32.5% urea (a compound that turns into ammonia when heated).

4. Finally, the DEF creates a chemical reaction with the help of a catalyst, which changes the nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and water vapor. This breakdown reduces harmful emissions because nitrogen and water vapor are natural gases in our air.

DEF Must Be Used & There Are Several Reasons Why

Hopefully, that breaks down what diesel exhaust fluid is and how it works. Here are three reasons you should use it in your modern diesel vehicle:

1. It’s The Law. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted regulations in 2010 to reduce emissions on heavy-duty diesel vehicles. Using DEF helps meet these federal requirements and helps protect our natural world.

2. DEF Improves Fuel Economy. Engines containing SCR technology often get better fuel mileage and can be improved by as much as 7%.

3. Your Vehicle Won’t Work Without DEF. Like fuel, multiple warning lights will come on when you run low on DEF. If you don’t refill your DEF tank before it hits empty, your engine will go into reduced power mode and eventually, the engine will not start.

Close up photo of blue and silver diesel exhaust fluid delivery truck.

Find A Diesel Exhaust Fluid Distributor You Can Trust

No one wants to end up stranded because you didn’t refill your DEF tank. Plus, not all gas stations even carry DEF! Hutchens Rentz-Eden is a dependable distributor of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to businesses in VA, NC and TN. In addition to providing bulk DEF, we also design and install pump systems that safely and efficiently transfer DEF into diesel products. For more information on DEF pricing and equipment, contact our team today.

Simplify Refueling With Bulk DEF