ensure DEF is received when and
where it is needed.
Educate your Team
Fleet vehicles aren’t cheap, so
teaching employees how to handle
DEF will not only help maximum the
use of DEF, it will also help protect a
fleet’s biggest investment.
Based on what is happening in
Europe, we know that 80 percent
of contamination happens at fleet
To safeguard against DEF
contamination at the terminal,
which can lead to vehicle downtime,
managers should make sure everyone
who uses or handles DEF follows
these seven guidelines:
1. Keep DEF away from materials
such as fuel, oil, grease, water,
dust, dirt, metal and detergent, as
these items will contaminate DEF.
2. If the DEF fueling equipment at the
terminal needs to be cleaned, rinse
it with de-mineralized water — not
3. Only use dedicated DEF equipment
for storing and dispensing DEF. Do
not use funnels or bottles that have
been used for other fluids.
4. While a DEF pump’s magnetic
guard will prevent workers from
accidentally putting DEF into the
Simple steps can
As the number of trucks equipped
with selective catalytic reduction
(SCR) technology continues to rise,
fleet and maintenance managers are
wondering how to make the most out
of their diesel exhaust fluid (DEF),
which is required to keep their
vehicles running and compliant with
the EPA’s Heavy Duty Engine and
Luckily, there are a few simple steps
that can be taken to ensure owners
and operators are not over-spending
on DEF, buying low-quality product, or
ruining the DEF they’ve purchased.
Buy Based on Need
One of the easiest ways to save on
DEF is to make sure the amount of
DEF purchased is aligned with the size
and consumption patterns of one’s fleet.
DEF is available in volumes
ranging from small 2.5-gallon
containers to 2,000-gallon mini bulk
containers and beyond. As such, it’s
important to determine the number
of SCR-equipped vehicles in a fleet
and the amount of DEF those vehicles
consume per week.
For example, small fleets, with one
to four vehicles and typically using 15
to 30 gallons of DEF per week, should
try purchasing 55-gallon drums of
DEF for the best savings.
Conversely, a manager
overseeing five to nine SCR vehicles
or a fleet consuming 60 to 90
gallons per week should consider
purchasing DEF in 275 to 330-gallon
intermediate bulk containers.
Moreover, fleets with 26 to 50
vehicles, or fleets using 300 to 600
gallons of DEF a week, ought to
consider having DEF delivered in
bulk. In this case, utilizing mini-bulk or
other storage units with a DEF storage
capacity of 2,000 or 3,000 gallons will
help maximize cost efficiencies.
A fleet’s purchasing needs will
likely change over time as the fleet
continues to replace older vehicles
with new SCR-equipped trucks.
As a fleet grows, working with
a DEF specialist can help a fleet
make the move to bulk as seamless
as possible, with affordable and
innovative equipment solutions.
Another simple but often overlooked
method of getting the most out of DEF
purchases is to make sure quality DEF
is being purchased. DEF is a product
that needs to be in its purest form to
protect an engines’ catalysts.
Therefore, it’s important to use
only ISO 22241-certified DEF, not
just any urea solution. Even small
amounts of impurities in DEF may
progressively damage an engine’s
dosing and catalyst systems.
Worse yet, certain contaminants
may cause catalyst deactivation,
which may have a negative impact on
an engine’s performance.
In addition, with the U.S. DEF
market expected to increase 30-fold
by 2015, according to market research
firm Integer Research, many fleet
operators can be concerned about
running out of DEF. This can put a
damper on a fleet’s ability to operate,
not to mention impact its bottom line.
Fleet managers should make sure
they have a DEF supplier who can
supplement domestic production with
international production. The U.S. is
an import market for urea, the base
for DEF production, so a supplier
with a strong import platform will be
better positioned to ensure managers
don’t experience a shortage as a
result of a natural disaster or local
Further, using a fuel and lubricant
distributor in the U.S. who has a
vast delivery network will also help