5 Reasons to Avoid Walmart DEF Fluid

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A walmart semi transporting DEF

Modern diesel vehicles require DEF or diesel exhaust fluid. However, if you think gas prices are high, you don’t want to see the cost per gallon for some brands of DEF.

Many drivers stop by the automotive aisle to grab DEF while shopping at their local Walmart. However, there are several reasons we think you’d be wise to avoid Walmart DEF.

Today, we’ll share these reasons and provide a few safer alternatives. Let’s get started!

What Is DEF Fluid?

Diesel Exhaust Fluid is a mixture of urea and water that pumps into an exhaust system to reduce emissions. Starting in 2010, diesel engines for medium and heavy-duty vehicles were required to use DEF.

Engines using DEF will reduce performance and speed if the system runs out of DEF. However, vehicles with a DEF system will typically nag the driver multiple times to remind them to fill the tank. If everything works correctly, there’s no excuse to run out of DEF.

Is DEF Fluid All the Same?

All brands of DEF must meet international and EPA standards. Like many products, brands use a specific recipe or formula to create their item.

While they all serve the same purpose and do the job, some are purer than others. Some brands include unique ingredients to prevent the fluid from crystallizing as it sits in the tank.

DEF is a very sensitive product and can quickly become contaminated. If you put contaminated DEF into your vehicle, it can create a host of costly issues. You don’t want to put just any DEF into your vehicle’s DEF system.

Is Walmart DEF Safe?

You don’t want to risk your $60,000 to $100,000+ truck by putting unsafe DEF into it. Walmart DEF uses the brand SuperTech.

It’s much cheaper than name-brand alternatives, but you may want to proceed cautiously when buying it. Some drivers have reported experiencing broken seals on DEF containers and odd-smelling fluid. Many customers question whether the quality control of the liquid is on par with other DEF brands on the shelf.

There hasn’t been a widespread outbreak of diesel engines shutting down or experiencing significant issues due to Walmart DEF. Drivers using Walmart DEF are typically no more likely to experience DEF system issues than those buying name-brand products.

However, spending a few extra bucks can give drivers more assurance.

A close up of a car being filled up with DEF from Walmart

5 Reasons to Avoid Walmart DEF Fluid

We think you should avoid putting Walmart DEF fluid into your vehicle for several reasons. Let’s look at why you should consider other brands for your vehicle’s DEF tank.

Quality Control Stinks

Customers have complained about Walmart DEF sometimes having an odd smell. You want consistency when buying a product, including regarding the scent.

Inconsistencies in a product often are the result of terrible quality control. While you’re likely not choosing your DEF fluid based on the smell, it makes you wonder what is causing the differences and what other issues quality control might be missing.

Damaged Safety Seals

You should never buy a product with a broken or damaged safety seal. The seal exists for a reason and helps the customer know that no one tampered with or altered the product after it left the manufacturer.

However, it’s not uncommon for shoppers to discover safety seals with damage on jugs of DEF at Walmart. If the seal is broken, you can’t be 100% sure that someone didn’t add something to the jug that could damage your vehicle. If they did, it might not be immediately apparent, but it can cause issues for you down the road.

Clogs in Selective Catalytic Reduction System

It’s not a common issue, but some customers have complained about experiencing warning lights and error codes shortly after adding Walmart DEF to their vehicles.

These lights and error codes typically indicate a situation with the DEF system, which often results from clogs in the spray mechanism. This isn’t an issue strictly isolated to Walmart DEF, but lower quality DEF is more likely to create this issue.

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Poor Spout Design

You want to get as much of the fluid in the jug into your DEF tank as possible. Every tiny bit you spill onto the ground costs you money. Walmart DEF containers have inefficient designs.

The flimsy and short spout makes it challenging to transfer the DEF into your vehicle without spillage. You may have saved a few bucks with the Walmart brand, but if you spill enough onto the ground, you’re paying a premium price for an inferior product.

A person filling up their car with DEF from Walmart

Missing ISO Certification

Many customers avoid Walmart DEF because it doesn’t maintain the crucial ISO certification. In 2019 there was a small recall on a local Walmart’s DEF supply. This led to a local truck dealer not honoring a warranty because the owner used the Walmart brand of DEF in their vehicle.

However, while Walmart DEF may not list the ISO certification on the product, it lists the API DEF certification. One of the requirements to obtain the API DEF certification is that it must also meet the ISO 22241 standard. Many people aren’t willing to risk their costly vehicles with anything that doesn’t list the ISO 22241 standard.

Alternatives to Walmart DEF Fluid

If you’re looking for some alternatives to Walmart DEF fluid, we have a few options to consider. Some may cost you a few more pennies, but you’ll sleep soundly knowing you’re putting a higher-quality fluid into your vehicle.

Blue DEF

Blue DEF is as good as it gets regarding DEF fluid. Customers love this option because it comes in a box, which can help provide more assurance that no one has tampered with it as it sits on the store shelf.

However, premium products come with a higher price tag. You’ll pay substantially more than Walmart DEF. A 2.5-gallon jug of Blue DEF will cost around $15 to $20, compared to $8 to $12 for the Walmart brand.

Blue Def DEF002-2PK Diesel Exhaust Fluid, 2.5 Gallon, 2 Pack
  • One gallon of is used approximately every 300 miles
  • A truck with a 20 gallon DEF tank can go up to 6000 miles between fill-ups

Valvoline DEF

Valvoline made a name for itself in the car care community. They’re a brand that people recognize and trust. Valvoline DEF comes in 2.5-gallon jugs and costs a few dollars more than the equivalent Walmart DEF.

This product proudly displays its certifications, so you know it’ll do the job. Customers find the spout creates a tight connection to make it easy to transfer the fluid into your vehicle without wasting a single drop.

DEF Pumps

If you’ve never used the big truck diesel lanes at truck stops, you might not know that they also have DEF pumps. Many semi trucks also have DEF tanks and need to fill them up occasionally.

The advantage of using these pumps is that you pay much less per gallon than jugs. Using the pumps also allows you to fill your tank completely.

If you’re already stopping for fuel, it’s worth topping off your tank and not worrying about running out of fluid while on a trip. Much like fuel prices, the cost of DEF at the pump will vary by the fuel station.

Keep in Mind: Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get the smell of diesel out of your clothes? These tips and tricks will help to get the smell of diesel out of your clothes

A sign for a DEF pump near walmart

Is Walmart DEF Worth It?

Many drivers use nothing but Walmart DEF and experience no issues. However, if saving a few bucks on name-brand DEF causes you to worry about a costly repair, it’s not worth it.

The fluids you put into your vehicle are entirely up to you. However, we like the added assurance of knowing we’re putting the purest DEF into our truck. We want to set the truck up for success and avoid a repair interrupting an adventure.

Which DEF will you use? 

Last update on 2024-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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