The different AdBlue warning levels and what they mean

May 15, 2024

Car manufacturers have had to adapt to increasingly strict standards on pollutant emissions. This has led to the development of the AdBlue system, an innovative solution that considerably reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel engines. However, to guarantee its effectiveness, it is essential to monitor AdBlue levels carefully and to react quickly to the different warning levels indicated by the dedicated warning light.

The different warning levels

The AdBlue warning light that you can find on can have several different warning levels, each with its own meaning.

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Level 1: low level alert

This is the first warning level. The AdBlue warning light comes on and a message appears on the dashboard screen indicating that the AdBlue level is low. It is recommended that you fill up with AdBlue as soon as possible.

Level 2: critical level warning

The AdBlue warning light flashes and the message on the screen becomes more urgent. The vehicle has a limited range before refusing to start. It is imperative to fill up with AdBlue immediately.

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Level 3: unable to start

The vehicle has refused to start because the AdBlue level is too low. AdBlue needs to be topped up before the vehicle can be restarted.

What should I do in the event of an AdBlue alert?

When an AdBlue alert occurs, it is important to take the following steps.

Locate the AdBlue tank

The tank is usually located near the fuel tank, but may be in a different location depending on the vehicle model. Consult your owner's manual for the exact location.

Filling up with AdBlue

AdBlue is available from most service stations and garages. It can also be purchased online or in shops.

Restarting the vehicle

Once you've filled up with AdBlue, restart the vehicle. The AdBlue warning light should go out and the warning message should disappear.

Tips to avoid AdBlue problems

Although the AdBlue system is designed to be reliable and long-lasting, a few simple precautions can help avoid potential problems and ensure that it works properly in the long term.

Monitor the AdBlue level regularly

The key to avoiding any AdBlue-related problems lies in carefully monitoring the level of the tank. It's a good idea to check the level indicator regularly, usually on the dashboard, and to top up before the first warning level is triggered. This proactive approach avoids any reduction in power or untimely immobilisation.

Use only certified quality AdBlue

AdBlue is a highly pure aqueous urea solution, subject to strict quality standards. Using an uncertified or diluted product can cause serious damage to exhaust system components, leading to significant repair costs. It is therefore essential to obtain AdBlue from reliable sources and only use AdBlue that meets the manufacturer's specifications.

Go to an approved garage for any AdBlue problem

Although the AdBlue system is designed to operate autonomously, complex problems can sometimes arise, requiring the intervention of a qualified professional. In the event of persistent malfunctions, error codes or suspicious leaks, we strongly recommend that you contact a manufacturer-approved garage. 

 Their trained technicians have the appropriate diagnostic tools and skills to effectively identify and resolve AdBlue-related problems.

Respect the recommended service intervals

Last but not least, it's crucial to scrupulously adhere to the maintenance intervals recommended by the manufacturer. At these regular servicing intervals, technicians carry out a thorough inspection of the AdBlue system, checking for leaks or damage, and replacing worn components if necessary. This preventive maintenance enables potential problems to be detected and resolved before they become critical.

By following this sound advice, owners of vehicles equipped with the AdBlue system can reap the full environmental benefits while avoiding the hassle and costs associated with neglect or poor maintenance.


The AdBlue system is an important component of modern diesel vehicles. By understanding the different warning levels of the AdBlue warning light and taking appropriate action, you can avoid vehicle operating problems and ensure that your emission control system is working properly.