Why DEF is the trucking acronym that will get my blood boiling

DEF. I don’t suppose there’s a extra hated acronym in all of trucking. DOT even pales compared. Would you slightly a CRA audit, or DEF points?

“Alex, I’ll take CRA audits for $1,000 please.”

DEF, in fact, stands for diesel exhaust fluid. Sadly, North American governments have been “DEF” to the issues it has created. Producers, sellers, trucking corporations giant and small, and drivers have all been affected.

Those that know me know environmental considerations are excessive on my precedence listing. Emissions techniques requiring DEF have largely eradicated black soot from our exhaust pipes. That’s nice, but it surely has created many different environmental issues.

The one phase of the business who usually are not negatively impacted by DEF are the fueling corporations. I do know they’ll bounce up and down and scream about this, however take a look at what occurs each winter. As quickly as temperatures drop, off go the DEF pumps.

I lumped all the fueling corporations collectively, which isn’t actually honest, as a result of a few of them even have pumps that work pretty nicely in chilly climate. Most notable is Petro Canada. Those they use are in cupboards and are usually dependable. No less than as dependable as something might be in our northern winters.

I spent some winters on the ice roads and you may produce diesel that stays fluid, however the seals and switches are nonetheless an issue. DEF is mainly water with urea. Its freeze level is decrease than water due to the urea, someplace round -15 C. The quantity that we use as we’re hauling freight is pretty minimal.

Within the winter we are able to run a number of days earlier than we have to prime up DEF, and even longer in the summertime. Right here’s the place the issue is available in. We rock as much as the DEF pump and guess what? The pump is disabled. Not damaged. Not frozen. Disabled!

In case you’re in determined want of DEF you can be shopping for it in jugs. Single-use plastic jugs. Didn’t some locations ban plastic straws as a result of they find yourself choking aquatic species? I used to be at a serious fueling station the opposite day when the temperature was 0 C. DEF won’t freeze at that temp however, yup, the DEF pumps had been disabled.

Wish to know what occurs when my DEF doesn’t pump as I’m pounding the pavement? I might be gently coasting alongside below limp mode. At freeway speeds our governments have decreed that irrespective of the temperature DEF should stay operational.

Because of this DEF is essentially the most hated acronym in trucking. A sensor glitched briefly? Limp mode. The DEF line froze? Limp mode. All techniques not 100%? Limp mode.

Diesel exhaust fluid or DEF sign posted in a truck stop, next to fuel pump
(Picture: iStock)

These points took impact instantly when the DEF requirement got here out a decade or so in the past. It was horrible. Producers had been scrambling. Corporations went bankrupt, unable to satisfy their deliveries. The final truck I owned had a 2013 DD15 below the hood. If a sensor may value me round $1,000 (downtime, tow, sensor) for a glitch, I wasn’t curious about proudly owning my very own vans anymore. I had been proudly owning and operating my very own for years, together with having my very own authority for a number of years. I began carrying sensors so I didn’t need to depend on a seller.

There was no authorized strategy to get round this situation. That prompted one other enterprise to crop up. Emission system deleters. This proved to common wherever it acquired chilly outdoors. In different phrases, all of Canada and the northern states.

Are you able to blame drivers and corporations for doing this? Go bankrupt or delete? If a snowplow or hearth engine may get an exemption, why had been we being held hostage?

Within the meantime, the producers had been scrambling, making an attempt to repair the problems. Within the decade plus, they’ve carried out an admirable job. I not often have a problem today with my DEF system with one major caveat. I’m very strict about idle time which is a killer of DEF techniques.

So, if the producers had to offer an engine that used this and cleaned up the exhaust. And if the vans needed to be working appropriately, irrespective of the circumstances, why aren’t gasoline corporations required to offer bulk DEF year-round?  It’s the business commonplace to make use of DEF. Everybody else is held accountable besides the gasoline corporations. Why?

Certain, you should buy DEF in single-use containers. What number of straws does that equal? Gasoline corporations are in enterprise to make cash however so are we. Jug DEF is a number of occasions greater in value per liter. I assume it’s simpler to close your pumps off and promote a product that may assist your backside line, however we don’t have that possibility.

Disgrace on all these gasoline corporations who haven’t provide you with a year-round resolution to offer bulk DEF. In over a decade. I strive to not simply write about issues. If I don’t have an answer, I attempt to determine one out. Right here’s a easy resolution. Maintain gasoline corporations to our requirements. In case you promote diesel, you need to present bulk DEF.

DEF in jugs is so fallacious environmentally and is way too costly. Costs fluctuate however I calculated one time that jug DEF prices an additional $20 per day. It’s shameful that over a decade later there are scores of empty plastic jugs littering our truck stops. That is one mandate I may get behind.

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