Our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel quickly made friends here at KBB, and after barely two months of service has already been drafted into duty, not just as a hauler, but also as a plain old daily commuter.

The Ram's popularity as a daily driver is due in no small part to its excellent fuel economy. Even in heavy Southern California traffic, the Ram has so far averaged around 21-22 mpg, and one highway-heavy road trip even netted nearly 30 mpg. This is amazing for a full-size pickup driven by lead-footed drivers, and it's all due to the 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 under the hood. 

Part of the reason that modern diesels run so cleanly is due to a urea-injection system that keeps the exhaust free of soot and odors. Of course, this fluid needs to be refilled occasionally, and with the miles quickly piling up, it wasn't long before warnings began flashing on the Ram's information screen that in 500 miles it wouldn't start unless the DEF was refilled. When that estimate went down to 480 miles in far less than 20 miles, we decided it was time to refill the DEF tank. 

Time to Add Blue

Ram has thoughtfully put the refill for the tank adjacent to the fuel filler itself, with a blue cap marked "DEF/AdBlue." We twisted off the cap, inserted a funnel, and started pouring in the DEF, a bit surprised that it was clear, despite the blue cap, the "BlueDEF" name, and all the other blue associated with the fluid. One gallon barely moved the DEF indicator needle on the dash, and we eventually added about 7.5 gallons in total before the DEF started to bubble out of the filler neck. Unfortunately, there is no indicator to tell you when you're finished filling the tank unless you jump back and forth into the truck to check the gauge. 

The DEF tank holds about 8 gallons, took about 10 minutes to fill, and cost us about $6 per gallon. That's roughly $50 of additional cost about every 10,000 miles, which is how long Ram says the DEF should last in regular service. All in all, it's an easy addition to the regular maintenance that won't break the bank.

There's one other thing. Yes, the urea-based fluid does have a faint, ammonia-like odor that will be familiar to cat owners. It's not particularly strong, but you probably don't want to spill it on your favorite shirt.

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