AdBlue in cars and vans (LCV)

From 2015, all diesel cars must meet the emissions legislation as described by the European Commission, also known as the Euro 6 legislation. The Euro 6 regulation requires a 56% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOₓ) emissions. Different technical solutions exist in order to comply with legislation. Among them:

  • The use of a Lean NOₓ Trap (LNT). The LNT can generally be used by vehicles with an engine capacity of 1.6L or less and ‘absorbs’ NOₓ using an absorbent such as barium.
  • LNT uses extra fuel to conduct a regeneration process in which it cleans itself; this is less fuel-economic for larger cars.
  • The use of selective catalyst reduction (SCR) technology. SCR-technology is generally used for vehicles with an engine capacity of 1.6L or more. SCR is the only system which combines NOₓ reduction and fuel economy. If your car uses SCR, you will need AdBlue.


Why does my car have AdBlue?

Euro 6 is effective for cars from September 2014 and requires a 80% reduction of diesel NOₓ emissions. The only way to meet these standards set in the Euro 6 legislation for cars with an engine capacity of 1.6 or more is through the use of selective catalyst reduction (SCR)-technology.

If your car uses the SCR-technology, you also need AdBlue. AdBlue is a liquid, clear solution which consists mainly of demineralised water and urea (32,5%) and is used to reach emission legislation for diesel powered engines. AdBlue is injected into the exhaust gases before the SCR-catalyst, where the solution triggers a chemical reaction with ammonia. This chemical reaction converts nitrogen oxide (NOₓ) into nitrogen (N₂) and water vapour (H₂O). Water and nitrogen are naturally occurring gasses that are harmless to the environment.


When do I need to fill up my car with AdBlue?

You need to fill up your car with AdBlue when your AdBlue tank is (almost) empty. Your car will give you a warning when your AdBlue tank is almost empty, much like the warning a car gives you when your fuel tank is almost empty.

The car will give you a warning when the driving range is 2400 km. What happens after that depends on the make and model of your car. For example, the Opel Zafira will warn you at 2400 km to refill your AdBlue tank soon with a volume of at least 5 litres. If AdBlue is not refilled within a certain distance further level warnings are displayed. The warnings announce restrictions, starting with the limitation of the maximum speed up to prevention of the engine start.
With a range of about 900 km the car will limit your maximum speed to 100 km/h. After that the car will be limited to a speed of 50 km/h and if AdBlue is still not refilled the car will warn it is not possible to restart your engine once it is shut down.

However, every brand has ranges for each step, so please check your cars owner’s manual to find out with limitations and ranges apply to your vehicle.

When you go on holiday or other long drives with your car it is recommendable to check the AdBlue levels of your tank to prevent you from running low on AdBlue while you are away.

Why do I have a limited capacity in my Adblue tank?

At first the idea was to make the AdBlue fillings a ‘service 2 service’- principle. Your tank with AdBlue would be filled up for you when your car needed service, without you even noticing. Much like what happens with the break fuel fluid for example.

Unfortunately, car manufacturers have to deal with the CO₂ Tax Legislation. For every kilogram your car weighs more, your car produces more CO₂, which will cost more tax. Basically, the heavier the car, the more expensive the car will be.

If your car would be fitted with an AdBlue tank with a capacity of 60 litres, it would make your car much heavier and thus much more expensive for you to buy, due to the high tax. That is why manufacturers have chosen to fit the cars with limited tanks of 5 up to 20 litres, instead of 20 to 60 litres.

How to fill up my car or Van with AdBlue?

AdBlue tanks are located in different places in different AdBlue cars. This is a result of initially fitting AdBlue tanks and SCR systems into already existing designs. Newer models mostly have the AdBlue tank inlet on the side of the car.

  • In first generation AdBlue cars, the filling cap is usually located in the interior of the car.
  • In second generation AdBlue cars, the filling cap may also be located under the bonnet.
  • In the latest generation of AdBlue cars, the filling cap is fitted on the side of the vehicle near the diesel filling cap.

Most vehicle manufacturers advise you to fill up your AdBlue tank at the garage, but if you want to do it yourself, make sure you only use AdBlue-specific products. Despite the fact that AdBlue is not a hazardous substance, AdBlue is very corrosive and using the wrong equipment may result in damage to your vehicle. Always look for products with the AdBlue® logo, and which prevent overflowing when the car’s AdBlue tank is full.

GreenChem offers AdBlue in a 4-litre can with an anti-overflow and non-drip spout, so you can fill up your tank with AdBlue spill-free and odour-free.

Click here for more details on the 4-litre cans from GreenChem and other AdBlue-resistant products.

Why can I not fill up my car in the truck lane ?

As well as the fact that you don’t really feel safe standing in between two large trucks, there is also a practical reason. These AdBlue systems are designed for high flow AdBlue deliveries of about 40 litres/min, whereas a passenger car and most delivery vans are designed for 6 litres/min. The nozzle will repeatedly shut off because it cannot deliver the flow it is designed for. 

For the first few years, it is expected that commercial filling stations will offer you the option to purchase packet AdBlue products to fill up your car; further down the road, commercial filling locations for cars will become available.

GreenChem offers a special 4-litre canister with a non-drip spout which can be bought from many automotive retailers or commercial filling stations;

You can get more information about this product by following this link.


How much AdBlue does my Car or Van use?

How much AdBlue you use depends on your type of car, but a full tank of AdBlue will last several tanks of diesel.

Estimated usage for Passenger cars:

  • Mid class diesel (For example Opel Insignia or Peugeot 508): 0,6 - 1 litre AdBlue for 1,000 km
  • SUV/MPV class diesel (for example Opel Zafira or VW Touran): 1 – 2 litres AdBlue for 1,000 km

Average AdBlue consumption will increase in the near future due to further reduction of the emission limits.

  • Mid class diesel (for example Opel Insignia or Peugeot 508): 1,5 – 2 litres AdBlue for 1,000 km.
  • SUV/ MPV class diesel (for example Opel Zafira or VW Touran): 3 litres AdBlue for 1,000 km.


Why is AdBlue quality so important?

AdBlue is a pure substance, and anything that does not belong in the substance can cause damage to your vehicle. AdBlue works through evaporation, and anything that will not evaporate can get stuck in the catalyst, which may damage it. It is therefore very important to only use quality AdBlue. GreenChem offers only the highest quality.

Click here to read more about the quality of AdBlue from GreenChem.

It is important to use equipment solely intended for AdBlue and to keep the contamination risks to a minimum, so that your AdBlue remains of the highest quality.

Which cars use AdBlue?

AdBlue is used in cars with a diesel tank to reduce the nitrogen oxide (NOₓ) emission. Most diesel powered cars with an engine capacity of 1.6 and more, will start using SCR technology and AdBlue as emission reduction fluid in 2015. From September 2015 all new delivered cars needs to comply to EURO 6 Car emissions and will start using AdBLue.

Every month new cars using AdBlue are introduced. It is expected that in 2020 75% of the diesel passenger cars in Europe will be equipped with SCR-technology and therefore use AdBlue, if you take a look at the graph in the pictures it provides a good image about the number of cars up to 2020.

AdBlue is here to stay!


Four reasons not to spill AdBlue in your car

AdBlue is not dangerous to the environment and a small spillage of AdBlue can easily be cleaned with water. Still it is advisable to make sure you do not spill AdBlue in your car for the following reasons:

1. AdBlue is very corrosive. Spillage of AdBue can cause certain surfaces to rust very quickly.

2. AdBlue can cause a short circuit. Not many materials are AdBlue proof, including the wires of your car. The liquid can dissolve materials that are not listed in ISO 22241 as AdBlue proof.

3. AdBlue crystallises. When AdBlue dries out, it crystallises and gets very hard. If you spill it, it may cause damage to parts of your car.

4. AdBlue can smell quite severely.