• The DEF Deal

After a joyously relaxing weekend in the eastern Kootenays, I was on a mental, and vehicular, cruise-control back to Calgary when a little chime emerged from the dash. “Check Diesel Exhaust Fluid”. Stress levels had just inverted.

How does one check? How much is left? What’s gonna happen if I run out?

1. You can’t.

2. 5.5L (1.5 US Gal)  according to the owners manual which gives you about 3,400 KM of runway. You will get a more serious “warning” at around 3.0L, which gets you another 1,900 KM (1200 Miles)

3. A start/stop cycle countdown of 16 begins, the engine will not turn over once it hits zero.

The first “DEF check” came on at approximately 9,200 KM. This is with the 4 cylinder engine, a blend of long haul highway driving and inner city short stuff, and very minimal idling. For comparison, my average fuel consumption to date was 10.4L/100Km (22.6 US MPG).

Dreaming of engine bay photos? Didn’t think so. Here’s a rocking lakeside sunset instead.

I hit the gas station and purchased a 2.5 gallon (9.9L) Jug for about $20, and she took the entire thing without concern of spilling over. The warning is NOT timed with the standardized jug amount, as the total DEF capacity is 18.0 L (4.7 Gal).

18 L (capacity) – 5.5 L (warning level) = 12.5 L available for refilling. Given that the standard jug only holds 9.9 L, I suspect this could drive an OCD person quite mad.

Note that there is no way to see capacity/fill progress at the nozzle, which is inconvenient. The filling itself was simple but be sure to clean up any spills, as I was warned by the dealer that urea can chew through a number of different vehicle components.

True Costs

How does the cost of DEF factor into your vehicle operating budget?

9,200 KM @ 10.4 L/KM = approximately 884 litres of diesel

12.5L of DEF grossed up from $20 per 9.9L is roughly $25.

$25 DEF Cost/884L = 2.8 cents per litre. Pennies on the dollar, so no need to lose your cool. Keep enjoying that awesome fuel economy that the bluetec delivers!

Care to share your consumption? Leave it in the comments below!

2 replies
  1. Howard Bussey
    Howard Bussey says:

    My 2018 Sprinter 3500 has some vehicle info on the dashboard display. The DEF level is in with the coolant temperature, fuel economy, etc. The icon looks like blowing wind in my opinion


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