If your truck requires diesel exhaust fluid, it makes sense to stock up and save yourself time and money. However, it’s important that you store it correctly so it doesn’t go bad. Here are 5 tips to help ensure your DEF lasts as long as possible.
Whenever possible, store your DEF in the original DEF packaging it came in. DEF is corrosive to certain materials, such as aluminum, copper, and brass. Transferring it to another container also increases the risk that the fluid will be contaminated by dust or other debris. If you must store it in another container, use materials such as stainless steel or high density polyethylene, which won’t corrode.
Where to Store
DEF is a fairly stable compound, and can be stored safely in most areas. Ideally it should be stored out of direct sunlight and not in extremely hot temperatures. These may cause it to go bad more quickly, although brief exposure to heat or sun shouldn’t damage it. Although it isn’t toxic, it’s also still a good idea to keep it out of the reach of children or pets who may get into it.
Most DEF has a shelf life of about a year. This means that it can often be beneficial to buy in bulk as long as you have the room to store it. Keep in mind that fluid stored in hot temperatures may not last quite as long–sometimes as little as 6 months.
Spotting Bad DEF
DEF that has gone bad will often look cloudy or off color. You may even see small particles floating in the liquid. This is a sign to get rid of the fluid, since trying to use it may damage your entire SCR system and result in expensive repairs.
The most common way DEF fluid becomes contaminated is when you go to refill your tank. Be careful to keep all nozzles and other equipment as clean as possible when filling your tank. Another common source of contamination is using non-approved diesel exhaust fluid packaging. Storing it in its original container will eliminate this chance for contamination.
Since DEF is made largely of water, it can turn slushy or freeze when exposed to cold temperatures. Like water, it will also expand as it freezes. Most DEF packaging is made to compensate for a little bit of expansion; just make sure not to overfill your storage container. Once the fluid thaws, it’s safe to use in your truck.