Why Do Cars Create Greenhouse Gases?
When cars run, they produce gases that can harm the environment. Some cars, like those with diesel engines in pickup trucks, make more of these harmful gases than others.
What Are the Harmful Gases from Diesel Engines?
Diesel engines in trucks release gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and tiny particles that can be bad for the air and our health.
How Did They Try to Fix This?
To make diesel trucks pollute less, a group called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made rules to reduce the bad stuff coming out of their exhaust pipes.
What Did Car Makers Do to Reduce Pollution?
Car companies added special technology to diesel engines to make them cleaner. They put in things like systems to reduce nitrogen oxides and filters to trap tiny particles.
What is Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and When Did It Start Being Used?
In 2008, the EPA said that all big diesel trucks needed to use something called Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to cut down on pollution. This DEF stuff is used to clean up the bad gases in the exhaust.
Why Did They Start Using DEF?
In the 1970s, the EPA made strict rules about air pollution. They found out that the gases from vehicles could make people sick and harm the environment. So, they wanted to make cars and trucks cleaner.
What Did They Do First to Reduce Pollution?
First, they tried something called exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), and then they added a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to catch the tiny particles.
What’s the Deal with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SRC) Systems?
Later on, they started using systems like the selective catalytic reduction (SRC) in diesel engines. To make SRC work, they need a special fluid called DEF. It’s made mostly of water and a bit of urea.
How Does SRC with DEF Work?
The SRC system puts a little bit of DEF into the exhaust system. This makes the bad gases change into harmless stuff like nitrogen and water.
Why Do People Need to Keep an Eye on DEF?
DEF runs out over time, so people who own these vehicles have to check and refill it from time to time.
When Did DEF Become a Must-Have?
Big trucks using diesel engines had to start using DEF in 2008. In 2010, the EPA said medium and heavy-duty trucks needed it too. By 2013, even pickup trucks had to use DEF.
What About Older Vehicles?
Vehicles built before 2010 don’t have to use DEF, but some car makers started using it before they had to. They did it because it helped their trucks use less fuel and looked good for the environment.
Why Did Some Car Makers Use DEF Early?
Car companies like Ford, GM, and Dodge switched to DEF systems before they had to because it made their trucks use less fuel and made them look environmentally friendly. People cared about saving fuel and being eco-friendly, so these car makers wanted to appeal to them.
How to Take Care of Your DEF System
If you drive a diesel truck made after 2010, it’s important to know how to take care of the system that uses DEF.
1. Refill Your DEF Like Other Fluids
DEF is something you use up when you drive, like motor oil or wiper fluid. So, when it starts getting low, you need to refill it.
2. Check Your DEF Gauge
If your truck was made after 2010, it probably has a gauge to show you how much DEF you have left. Keep an eye on it and refill when needed.
3. No Gauge? Top Off When You Get Fuel
If your truck doesn’t have a DEF gauge, it’s a good idea to add some DEF whenever you fill up your fuel tank. DEF doesn’t run out as quickly as fuel, but doing this will help make sure you always have enough.
4. Where to Get DEF
You can buy DEF at places like auto-parts stores or gas stations. It’s pretty easy to find.
5. Keep It in Good Condition
DEF can last for about two years if you store it in a place with the right temperature and away from direct sunlight.
6. Be Careful in Cold Weather
If it’s really cold, like below 12°F (-11°C), DEF can freeze. But don’t worry, this won’t cause problems for your vehicle. When your truck runs and heats up, the DEF will thaw out and work normally.
7. Don’t Add Anything Extra
Don’t put any special stuff to stop freezing or gelling into your DEF. It can mess up the DEF and make it not work right. So, just stick to using regular DEF.
What Happens When You Run Out of DEF?
If your vehicle runs out of DEF, it can cause various problems, and fixing them might be expensive.
1. Reduced Performance
First, your vehicle won’t drive as well, and your speed and ability to go fast might be limited.
2. Sensor Damage
If you completely run out of DEF, the sensor on top of the DEF tank can break. Replacing this sensor can cost over $1,000.
3. Exhaust Issues
Running your vehicle without DEF can lead to big problems with the exhaust. The lines that carry the gases can get clogged with dirt and soot, and this can eventually lead to your vehicle breaking down.
4. Get Warnings Before It’s Too Late
Your truck should give you a warning way before you run out of DEF, so you have time to refill it. Once you add more DEF, everything should go back to normal.
The EPA made it a rule in 2010 that medium and large diesel trucks needed to use Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). By 2011, all major truck makers started using systems like DEF to improve fuel mileage and meet EPA pollution rules.
DEF is something you use up, like motor oil and wiper fluid, so truck owners have to refill their DEF tanks from time to time.
Newer trucks have gauges that show how much DEF is left, but older ones might need manual checks. If you’re ever unsure about how to take care of your DEF system, you can look in your owner’s manual for guidance.