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7 tips how to handle Diesel Exhaust Fluid in the winter

12/16/2015 9:21:54 AM by Tractor-Part.com

As the world continues to become more concerned about conserving the environment, many industries are now looking for ways to go green without losing performance. In tractors, this takes the form of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

DEF is a non-hazardous solution of water and urea which is sprayed into the exhaust stream of diesel vehicles, breaking down emissions before they become harmful to the environment. Here are seven tips for handling and using DEF in winter:

Let it thaw naturally

DEF is water based, so it can freeze, but it will do so at a much lower temperature than straight water. At around water's normal freezing point, DEF will begin turning to slush. If it drops to or below 12 degrees Fahrenheit then it will freeze. Luckily, allowing the DEF to freeze won't affect its quality or performance, it just needs to naturally thaw before applied.

Leave space in the DEF tank

Like other fluids, when DEF freezes it expands by as much as 7 percent, according to Farm Industry News. When it gets cold and when storing equipment overnight, make sure to leave some space in the DEF tank for expansion. This will prevent cracking in the storage reservoir.

Store indoors

Even though freezing doesn't affect the quality of DEF, it's always best to store it indoors in temperature-controlled environments. This will save you time thawing it out and reduces the risk of damaging the container.

Use a proper container

DEF is mildly corrosive, so it's important to store it properly. DEF containers should be made of stainless steel or high density polyethylene. Other materials may corrode and contaminate the DEF.

Check the filter

DEF is mixed into the exhaust stream by parts similar to fuel injectors. A 1,200 hour filter is needed to protect these injectors and ensure they run properly. Replace your filter as needed.

Check the expiration data

The urea in DEF degrades over time, so it's possible for DEF to go bad. While its typical shelf life is around 12 months, storing DEF properly can keep it from going bad sooner. The room where DEF is stored should not get hotter than 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The container should be solid in color and be stored away from direct sunlight.

Check your sensors

According to EPA guidelines, vehicles that use DEF must have sensors to analyze its quality. If there's an imbalance, the sensors will trigger a fault, warning you of issues. Often, these alarms are from extra water mixing into the DEF, likely from rain or condensation.

Following these guidelines will help keep your tractor environmentally safe throughout the winter season. When you need replacement parts, don't waste time and gas driving from dealer to dealer. Instead, rely on our simple digital hub where you can easily and quickly search for what you need. The online database instantaneously searches millions of records to give you a list of sellers around the country who have the parts you need at highly competitive prices. Best of all, they can ship them straight to you.