Diesel exhaust fluid in brands like PEAKHD is required for diesel-powered engines to reduce emissions. It is not a fuel additive, but rather an exhaust system additive consisting of deionized water and urea.
Where Commercial Drivers Can Obtain DEF
The fluid, commonly called DEF, can be purchased at gas stations that sell diesel fuel. Fleet owners commonly have DEF available on site for convenience. The substance isn’t flammable or toxic. If any spills while filling the container on the vehicle, it can easily be cleaned up by pouring sand or another dry material over the liquid, then sweeping or shoveling it up for proper disposal.
Truckers typically expect to have the DEF container filled before they go out on the road. Fortunately, there are many places where they can add fluid if they start to run low while running long-haul. The most recognized truck stop names have it at the pumps, as do a large percentage of other places selling diesel fuel.
Filling stations where DEF is available have the pumps clearly marked, and the nozzles are a different color than those for the diesel fuel. In addition, the DEF nozzle is larger than those for fuel. These measures are intended to prevent drivers from adding DEF to the fuel tank instead of the container that provides the substance to the exhaust system.
Storage and Handling
Storage and handling procedures for the fluid must be precise to prevent contamination. Even a trace amount of metal like aluminum or chromium getting into DEF can reduce its effectiveness. A vehicle may use more DEF when there is any level of contamination, which costs the company money. In a worst-case scenario, the contamination damages the catalyst in the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system. Replacement costs thousands of dollars. SCR eliminates emissions after engine combustion, thus preventing these vehicles from losing some of their horsepower.
Use of the fuel has been required by law since 2008 for commercial trucks, and for medium-duty and heavy-duty pickups since 2010. The effort to decrease harmful emissions from diesel exhaust is primarily intended to reduce the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease linked to those toxins. Examples include asthma and chronic bronchitis.