Do you keep your DEF fluid topped up or just refill when the light comes on??

23,835

Asked by Sep 07, 2017 at 03:35 PM about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Question type: General

If you have any experience with this either way, please share.

The owner's manual says if the light comes on, refill and the system will reset
itself.   Dealership says keep it full.

What's your opinion???

21 Answers

21,525

Its like checking your oil and other fluid levels, you do not want it to go dry, I would start at 1000 miles checking and see how much you use, if its not too low check again in 2000 or 2500 miles and figure out how fast it goes bye bye, I would top off before it reaches 1/2 gone. Depends on your driving habits, if going on a long trip in nice clothes then top it off before hand so you do not need to worry about while on the trip. Should be able to make it 4000 miles or so. If your pulling a travel trailer then check more often and keep some on-hand to top off, and the top off mentioned means just that its top off fluid so top it off instead of waiting till its empty.

21,525

When tank reaches 10% full the light on dash flashes and this is fine to wait to fill and the standard but as with any system mul-functions occur. So check for yourself if possible. There is 3 safeguards in place most times first amber light on then it blinks then red light on dash stays on and engine is limited to low power until refilled.

21,525

"Want to prevent disruption? Watch for the signs & keep the tank full." look at this page.

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http://blog.ryder.com/2014/07/dont-let-diesel-exhaust-fluid-disrupt-business/

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
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enginecreator- THANK YOU ! Actually, I drove about 3,000 miles and the light came on. I expected that this would be easy.. just put in 2 or 2 1/2 gallons of DEF fluid and the system would reset.... didn't happen.....the light stayed on and the vehicle started.the countdown mode....had absolutely no choice but to take it to Mercedes Benz. They reset it and of course charged me for the service...and told me that I should keep this filled up and check it every one thousand miles. When I purchased the Sprinter someone told me I could easily go 4,000 miles or more..and just add fluid..... Mercedes Benz dealership said don't let the light come on and keep it full..... I'm going with the dealerships advice from now on. My frustration is that the owners manual says one thing while the dealership says something..... very confusing.

21,525

Thats what I say most say add when first light comes on but I have heard of the system errors and topping off is best. These were designed to not mal-function of course, but sometimes have to be reset by the dealership and this is my take on it, if it may mal-function if the light comes on then keep it full.

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enginecreator- Sure, I understand....and believe me, within a couple of miles, literally just happened that close to home, I added almost 2.5 gallons of DEF and I really expected the system to reset itself just like it states in the owner's manual... when this failed, the system gave me the error message STartes RE with a number like 5 out of 9...... Called Mercedes Benz and they said bring it in before it gets to zero, otherwise, it will have to be towed.... Didn't want that.... they checked my system said everything looked fine, didn't overheat the DEF, no contamination.... just needed to be reset... cost me $195...did I like it ...NO.. but, what are my options??? I've read countless stories online where people failed to get their systems running with all sorts of "tricks"....none of them worked and they couldn't restart....... From here on out, I'm going to follow the dealerships advice and ad fluid every 1000 or so miles... that's what they said to do......I only wish that the stupid idiot light was never discussed in the owner's manual and should have ignored the instructions someone gave me when I purchased the truck. You live and learn....

21,525

Sounds good (keeping it topped off every 1000 miles and never under 1/2 full.) I know of the stories, I would consider filling a complaint. Its a known issues that needs a recall order filed by the GOV to force Mercedes to fix and reset as needed no-charge or fees other-wise it will never be resolved and will be a piggy bank for them here on out. Also there are issues of it thinking its empty when its not and needs another $195.00 reset and it not working correctly and then needing to be replaced or parts of it anyway (pricey) so hope/wishes the best for you.

Best Answer Mark helpful
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enginecreator- I just marked your last answer "best answer"...YES, I will definitely top it off every 1,000 miles....and thank you for sharing this with me... question,. I would love to see some of these stories you speak of...if they're in writing or maybe you have just been told... actually, I believe you! What was very interesting and frustrating to me is that the dealership says one thing and the owner's manual says something else.....No matter how you look at it, the message is VERY INCONSISTENT. That's not first class world service you might expect from Mercedes Benz... Looking forward to hearing if you have any website link to these discussions.--Mark

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From the mechanic's view Mercedes is too wrapped up in building client list by forcing them to come back to them for every little thing which is intentional, one thing to build a good car and everybody wants it, but instead their parts cannot be rebuild must be replaced with new parts, they do not provide repair manual to Auto-mechanic class rooms or provide any tech answers for the shops to work on their cars, because they claim full rights to work on their cars and shrug their shoulders to mechanics with you can not fix them, but we can if they were built to be fixed in the first place. The DEF fluid being contaminated is a way for Mecedes to void the warranty on it, We as consumers to not control the quality of DEF fluid but our Country does but this is not their Country so all they have to say is "contamination" then hand a bill to you for $2800 to (not repair) replace it. Its not built to last, its built to keep making money from you after the sale.

21,525

A friend of mine owns a Mechanic shop that used to work on all Cars he went to mechanic schools and he was approved by Mercedes (picked) to go to a Mercedes only school which also sent them the Germany in the 1990's he came back worked at a Dealership (think it was a ten year contract) he took his profession to his family shop and they worked on Mercedes only for about 20 years, cars he learned on are the older cars now, so they are now fixing all types of cars again, I go by there I see Mercedes sitting around in line to be fixed or waiting for parts or should I say for their owner to come up with the money to buy those parts. I have heard some of the stories/complaints.

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enginecreator-. I had a couple of probing conversations with two different service advisors and one Sprinter technician... Here's what I know... there's some disagreement with whether to keep the DEF tank topped off or let the light come on and refill....the owner's manual says it's OK to wait... Remember, my situation was that I drove 3,000 miles, refilled with just more than 2 gallons..the tank according to the technician is 5.5 gallons..SO, their contention that I allowed my DEF fluid to run "low" is really a stretch.. I'm going to just keep adding DEF fluid every 1,000 to 1,250 miles from now on. I also reminded them and they confirmed that the Sprinter is under a Federal Emissions Warranty for 8 years or 80,000 miles.... my vehicle is six years old and has 29,000 miles....I will pursue this more with them if it arises again... believe me.. And, my vehicle is NOT something you just turn in for a new model.....it's a 2012 Roadtrek RS Adventurous...a converted 2011 Sprinter 3500 on the 170 wheel base.... here's a picture of it below...

21,525

Looks great Markw1952 I'am happy for you.

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Thanks....I'm retired and almost 66... I learned several years ago that life is short and people "overestimate" how much time they have left...my Dad died earlier than expected.... My father in law retired at 55..."told me that he did it to enjoy his retirement", great answer.... Anyway, you can't take it with you.. just enjoy life... therefore, I can't get too excited about little speed bumps like DEF fluid...if you know what I mean..? Here's a cool picture of the inside of my rig... we're just going to enjoy it as much as possible... And, the fact that it's a diesel, I'm hoping that it will go at least 300,000 miles...

23,835

Here's a better picture...

21,525

My grandmother lived to 104 & 1/2 years. Born on a Holiday died on a Holiday. Her & my grandfather loved to travel. RV'ing & campers on all the lakes & rivers and parks around here, well with-in 700 miles from here I think is about as far as they went, which they saw and did from the Beaches to the mountains, We went some too, and some of my best memories.

21,525

Looks nice. Since your at the age my grandfather was when he was doing the Camping I thought I would tell you how he did things. He buy a rv or camper that needed his touch and My grandmothers she did all the interior upholstery with her older style industrial sewing machine and he did all the customizing, inside & out, updating it, cabinets, appliances ect. Then take it too a camp ground with a lot of people there, put out ad in paper there and tape up for sale signs and go looking for another one to flip, he would rent a lot big enough for two campers/rv and buy another, pull out his tools start working, and folks would ask him to do work for them and while doing so he was getting the other one ready to stay in if the other sold and put for sale on it too, and crappie fish at night, most times he sold at least one and if neither sold he made money for work he did for others and then pull one to another spot, he was always updating one and selling another one and kept 3-5 set up in different places to use and sell, so they were going back and forth from lakes mostly or different spots on the same lake. There are some marinas I know he did too but I have been camping at every lot they had to rent, He did similar with boats too, he would visit the dry docks and buy one set it up for fishing and for sell use until it sold, but kept them at the lakes he was at except a few times I remember seeing a few at their house. He always had at least one camper/rv at home he was getting ready to sell. Some of these he completely remodel and others just got new upholstery and appliances and general fixes/updates. He knew everything about them and I remember him fixing or doing work on other peoples campers at parks, it was like they were just drawn to him so he always had work and more campers to sell, If they needed work or the people did not want pull it back home he would offer to buy it. During his time the campers /rv's were basic then to modern so he modernized many of them and made them nicer and put them places somebody wanted to have one at which seemed to work very well for him. My grandmother was a expert with that sewing machine. She did alot of work herself. They did this for 30+ years.

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enginecreator- thanks for sharing your stories.... I'm not the handy type... just want to explore and enjoy for a while.....and I have no illusions of making money or even breaking even.... Again, it's more about the experience of doing it .. we purchased the rig pretty much as you see it and had to immediately put on new tires, batteries and some other things... All maintenance items... PLUS, some key upgrades....to make it safer.... With 18 MPG, it's not too terrible ..

21,525

!8 mpg not bad at all, Your welcome & thanks too, have fun.

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enginecreator- Happy New Year... My friends at Mercedes.. tell me that it's necessary to drive at least 2,000 miles before filling up the DEF..... otherwise, it may overheat the DEF system.... Just FYI. We'll see.....

21,525

Happy New Year.

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