I was with a friend of mine from Hull yesterday, whoís recently taken delivery of an Audi A6 with SCR (Selective Catalyst Reduction). Given my concerns regarding a distinct lack of, or even worse incorrect, information being given to the motorist to ensure that he knew about the AdBlue tank on his car, and the need to replenish it due to his higher annual mileage, I asked him about his experience from the local Audi dealer about AdBlue etc. He reported that no mention was made of the car needing AdBlue during the buying process, or the hand over. After a little while driving, his AdBlue warning light came on, saying that he had 1,500 miles to go before it was empty, he said. He then rang his local dealer to enquire. To be fair, the company that he works for deals with the haulage industry and so he is aware of what AdBlue is, and what it does. Interestingly, the garage apparently told him that truck AdBlue was not the same as car AdBlue, and to come back to the dealership where they would top it up ñ at an appropriate parts and labour cost, of course! He challenged the truck versus car AdBlue comment, but they would not agree. As you know (or should have known! Doc.) as long as it is ISO 22241 VDA International standard AdBlue that is used, then it is the right product for his car ñ and also for trucks, farm tractors, earthmovers, and soon to be on diesel train locomotives, all fitted with SCR.
This does demonstrate and (it is certainly not the first similar case Iíve come across recently) that thereís some unprofessionalism out there within the motor industry still, and that motorists, more especially drivers who donít deal with the haulage industry, who will probably get caught out, either by not realising the importance of ensuring that itís kept topped up (mainly due to them not being told by the garage), or worse, suggesting that car AdBlue is either better than, or different from, any other AdBlue. Interestingly he found that just five litres was needed to take the AdBlue dashboard warning light off!
I heard of another case recently, where a BMW owner was apparently told that manufacturer warranty claims on his car might be affected if he decided not to use the BMW branded AdBlue! Dear oh dear. Bad practice, I feel, and illegal under EU Law, I would think.
Anyway enough of my rant ñ hopefully better experiences are to come for drivers, with your magazine’s help!
Rowland Cook, GreenChem
I am not at all surprised at the two examples that you gave, which frankly smells of naked commercial greed. If not dispersed to the dealers and salespeople as “company policy”, then probably suggested by dealer management. Dealers want owners to have their AdBlue to be topped up at service time, which would work effectively if the tank capacity was large enough to last between services, without any warning lights appearing ñ much as is the case with Eolys fluid for some diesel particulate filters (DPFs). That is sadly not the case. I have noticed that some Audi models come with only a 12-litre capacity AdBlue tank, with a 24-litre tank optionally available.
The system appears set up to facilitate a nice profit for dealers, and to keep owners enough in the dark to ensure that this is precisely the case. The BMW BluePerformance brochure does actually tell owners how to refill with AdBlue themselves, and it also clearly specifies ISO 22241 and makes no effort to suggest that you have to buy it from your BMW dealer. I’m not sure how much of this is in the ownerís manual, as I can’t seem to source a current one to view. But we have to accept that too many owners don’t even bother to look at their manuals, and in some ways if they get stung, it is rather down to them. But to send a new owner off without mentioning AdBlue really is totally unacceptable ñ is it not in the handover process, or is it just skipped over by sales people?