European Consumer Groups Call For EU-Wide Investigation Into Issues With AdBlue Systems In Diesel Vehicles

Image of a driver putting AdBlue in a vehicle.

Image of a driver putting AdBlue in a vehicle. Credit: Alexander Noé/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

An EU-wide investigation into AdBlue is being demanded by consumer groups across Europe in what could turn into an industry-wide issue harming thousands of European consumers.

The calls are based on testimonies received from thousands of affected consumers, according to a report from BEUC, the European consumer organisation.

AdBlue is a fluid that is used in most modern vehicles that run on diesel. It is added to a separate tank next to the fuel supply, and as a result, is automatically sprayed into the exhaust system.

This action reduces certain types of dangerous emissions such as nitrogen oxides, or NOx while the engine is running.

What is AdBlue and how does it work?

Once the level of the AdBlue tank falls below a certain level, the embedded software slows down the car and eventually prevents it from being started again until the reservoir is topped up with more liquid.

However, due to what could be a manufacturing defect in the software or in the AdBlue tank, breakdowns have occurred when the software incorrectly informed the driver that the tank was either empty or almost empty.

Testimonies from Italy, Belgium, Spain and France highlighted the issue

Reports published in France by UFC-Que Choisir, In Italy by Altroconsumo, the OCU in Spain, and Belgium’s Testachats/Testaankoop have all highlighted this AdBlue problem that has frequently affected motorists in those countries. As a result, they have ended up having to pay for expensive repairs to their vehicles.

Complaints have already been filed to the European consumer authorities (the CPC-Network) in December 2022, by both the OCU and Altroconsumo.

Consumers have been reporting on the likelihood of such defects arising in the software and/or in the AdBlue tanks of diesel vehicles for several years. They claimed suspected breaches of the Unfair Commercial Practices Law.

Testimonies to UFC-Que Choisir in France, and Testachats-Testaankoop in Belgium revealed the true magnitude of the problem and the nature of the harm experienced by consumers.

More than 4,000 motorists reported issues with AdBlue

They highlighted that as of June 2023, 1,731 consumers in France had reported problems in vehicles running on AdBlue. Similarly, another 700 in Italy, and 2,411 in Belgium made the same complaints, a total of more than 4,000 European motorists.

The majority of complaints were received from Citroën and Peugeot owners. However, the issue might not be linked to only those two manufacturers. Data from Testachats/Testaankoop and UFC-Que Choisir showed that other brands were involved.

UFC-Que Choisir reported that, on average, French consumers were met with repair costs averaging around €921. In Italy, this average was slightly higher according to Altroconsumo, at €1,000.

Consumer groups want an urgent investigation In Europe

As a result of these reports, consumer groups are calling for an EU-wide investigation into the matter by the European consumer authorities.

They are demanding, among other things, that companies manufacturing or selling cars powered by AdBlue should clearly inform consumers about this issue.

The design of these vehicles should be urgently changed to address the problem they added, with car traders forced to offer free repairs to all affected consumers.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at