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How to mitigate diesel exhaust fluid risk


In today’s litigious society, a risk management program is absolutely necessary for fleets using diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). The main portion of a good risk management program is a structured well functioning quality assurance program, explained Acustrip, a supplier of antifreeze coolant, brake fluid make-up water and DEF diagnostics tests.

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The maximum presence of contaminants and specified product purity are detailed in the International standard ISO 22241. Failure to meet all requirements in the final product can result in system failure. Repair and/or replacement of the NOX system will result in repair costs of approximately $1,000 or more depending on the engine size.

The challenge is to define a clear path and follow a defined program to meet these requirements. The product specification on water needs to be maintained through the life cycle to ensure that the product performs as needed. Water used in the preparation of DEF throughout the life of the DEF must meet the water quality specifications. To use water that does not meet these qualifications would result in less than optimum performance of the SCR system, and may even result in SCR failure.

There are many common ways that contaminants get into the water stream. Copper can leach from water pipes and soldered joints, which deliver water to our tap; Tap water can be a significant source of both magnesium and calcium; The amount of Phosphate in water might not be regulated; or the concentration of aluminum in natural waters can vary significantly, among other complications.


It is important to recognize that water good enough for human consumption cannot be used in DEF; filling DEF tanks with potable water can result in significant harm to the SCR system.

On the Spot testing enables the testing to follow the life of DEF to identify issues early, to minimize the impact of contamination and assist with mitigation.

A fluid check application risk management process follows a simple prescribed process, which is as follows:

1. Using the DEF Fluid Kit, perform the tests;
2. Record the results in the application;
3. If further analysis is recommended take a liter sample;
4. Complete the sample information in the application;
5. Use the shipping label that is in the kit to attach to the sample;
6. Package the sample and send the sample into the selected lab;
7. The results of the lab analysis are available online, in an email or through text message announces the report’s availability within 24 hours of receipt of the sample;
8. The history of the report is maintained and is available for the registered user for five years.

The balance of the characteristics is available through the lab analysis and are made a part of the report that is utilized as part of the risk management program.



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