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What is AdBlue?

AdBlue is an essential item if you’ve bought a diesel car registered in or after 2015. It helps to reduce your car’s nitrous oxide emissions and, subsequently, make it far more environmentally friendly. Read on for all of the vital information you need to know about AdBlue… 

What does AdBlue do?

Over the past couple of years, EU regulations on the amount of emissions – especially nitrogen oxide – that a car can produce have become far more strict. To meet these standards, many new diesel models have had to have been fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Basically, SCR systems squirt small amounts of AdBlue into your car’s exhaust. This turns much of the nitrous oxide, which the car would otherwise produce, into harmless nitrogen and water.

Although it’s still a relatively new feature for cars, AdBlue-powered SCR setups have been used in buses, lorries and other large vehicles for quite some time.

It’s very important to keep your AdBlue levels topped up. To help with this, most models should have a gauge telling you how much is in the car. If you don’t keep an eye out and end up running out of AdBlue, it’s likely your engine will simply refuse to start.

An AdBlue gauge in a Ford Transit van

AdBlue prices:

The price of AdBlue varies depending on the amount and where you’re buying it. However, a five-litre bottle of AdBlue will cost you at least £5. This is significantly less than you’d pay for the alternative, which is a garage giving you a refill during a service. 

When you buy your AdBlue, be sure to pick up containers with codes on the packaging that start with “ISO-22241”. This means that the AdBlue in question won’t damage your car’s SCR system, which can prove very expensive to repair or replace.

The AdBlue pipe on the Volkswagen Passat Estate

Where to buy AdBlue:

Containers of AdBlue can be bought at most petrol stations. Some of them will also let you top your car up from a pump, much the same as when you fill the fuel tank.

AdBlue can be found elsewhere, too, with most large supermarkets stocking it. You can also get it at motoring chain stores, such as Halfords, and petrol stations run by large companies like Shell or Esso.

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