- Benefits of Windshield Washer Fluids
- Best Windshield Washer Fluids Comparison Chart
- Best Windshield Washer Reviews
- 1. 303 (230371) Instant Windshield Washer, 25 Tablet
- 2. Rain-X White RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive
- 3. Nextzett 92100815 Kristall Klar Washer Fluid
- 4. Prestone AS657 Bug Wash Windshield Washer Fluid
- 5. Genuine OEM Mercedes Benz Winter Fit Windshield Washer Fluid
- 6. CAF SEMPER Quick Dissolve Windshield Cleaner Mix
- 7. BMW Windshield Washer Concentrate
- What’s Inside Windshield Washer Fluid Formulas?
- Windshield Washer Fluid Types
- Windshield Washer Fluids Buying Guide
- How to Add Windshield Washer Fluid to Your Car?
- Common Reasons Why Car Windshields Crack
- Windshield Wiper Problems – Quick Fixes you Can Apply at Home
- Making Your Own Windshield Washer Fluid
- FAQ About Windshield Washer Fluids
- Wrap Up
So, why would you need to use the best windshield washer fluid for your car? It is just soap, right? Well, as it turns out, there’s more to this topic that you might have suspected. We, at The Car Picks, believe that the best way to take control of your vehicle is to start fixing the small things. No matter how little the problem may seem, the feeling you get after solving it is irreplaceable. Such is the case of windshield washers and wipers.
Stay awhile, and see if there is something that you can add to your car maintenance regime. After you are done going through our guide, we encourage you to hop onto our picks in the windshield washer fluid reviews section. Let’s dive in and see how we can make you a better car owner.
Benefits of Windshield Washer Fluids
We could debate over the purpose of hygiene forever, yes, but some things remain true no matter what your car cleaning habits are. After all, the majority of cars on the road today have some form of automatic windshield washer fluid delivery. Keeping your windshield dirty is not only a matter of cleanliness but also a matter of security and safety.
The very first thing you learn at drivers ed is that the key to safe traffic is excellent visibility. We are not going to tell you that clear glass is essential for excellent visibility. Instead, we are going to address a windshield washer fluid feature that people often overlook. If you are living in an area with a lot of precipitation, or you want to prepare for the fall, you might want to a windshield washer fluid with water deterring additives.
A windshield washer fluid like this will make the rainwater just slide away to the side of the windshield, thus improving the general visibility.
As we mentioned above, your car probably has some sort of an automated windshield washer fluid delivery system. If you are not a fan of scrubbing and wiping the windshield by yourself, why not just invest in a windshield washer fluid that you only need to pour in the correct reservoir? There are solutions for every type of driver out there.
Windshield cracks are often the beginning of a total glass breakdown. To prevent this tremendous expense, which can also be a safety hazard, you should keep the windshield clean at all times. With a clear glass view, you will be able to spot the smaller cracks and have them fixed before they turn into a total mess.
There’s no doubt that the cars we drive go through a lot of filthy environments. If you live in a humid area, the number of bacteria is significantly higher, and these bacteria are not choosey, and if you give them a chance, they will multiply in a blink of an eye.
Because of the alcohol inside almost every windshield washer fluid formula, bacteria will not be able to nest on your car, nor will they be able to survive for long.
Last, but not least, we have the looks. Using windshield washer fluid will put an extra layer of shiny on your car. Considering how easy to use it is, and how affordable it can be, there is no reason to skip the last step and invest in looks as well.
Best Windshield Washer Fluids Comparison Chart
303 (230371) Instant Windshield Washer, 25 Tablet
|View On Amazon|
Rain-X White RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive
|View On Amazon|
Nextzett 92100815 Kristall Klar Washer Fluid
|View On Amazon|
Prestone AS657 Bug Wash Windshield Washer Fluid
|View On Amazon|
Genuine OEM Mercedes Benz Winter Fit Windshield Washer Fluid
|View On Amazon|
CAF SEMPER Quick Dissolve Windshield Cleaner Mix
|View On Amazon|
BMW Windshield Washer Concentrate
|View On Amazon|
Best Windshield Washer Reviews
1. 303 (230371) Instant Windshield Washer, 25 Tablet
The 303 became world-famous for their eco-friendly products and convenience. This concentrated windshield washer fluid formula is no exception to that rule. This 25-tablet pack eliminates the need for large plastic containers which are usually used for windshield washer fluids. Additionally, the small package size makes it ideal if you want to have some fluid in stock.
A single tablet is enough for a gallon of windshield washer fluid, and you do not even need to have a container for the dilution process. All you have to do is insert a tablet in the windshield washer fluid reservoir and top it off with water. That’s it.
The tablet form also makes them more affordable without significant loss of efficiency. The formula is safe for car paint and rubber, but it might not be best for areas with harsh winters.
- Super-concentrated formula – 1 tablet is enough for a full windshield washer fluid reservoir
- Convenient storing due to the tablet form
- Eliminates the need for plastic containers
- Requires a freshwater source because of the concentration
- Might not be suitable for freezing environments due to low isopropyl percentage.
2. Rain-X White RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive
Here we have a super-useful additive for people that get a lot of mineral leftovers on their car’s windshields. The Rain-X is a 16.9 fl. oz. bottle of water repellent. To use it properly you need to add it to the windshield washer fluid reservoir with fluid already inside.
This particular formula is designed to deal with water streaks and excessive rain amounts, but it does not have potent cleaning capabilities of its own. The primary purpose of this additive is to increase visibility in humid areas significantly.
The bottle provides enough additive formula to cover a gallon of windshield washer fluid.
- Raises general visibility by removing streaks and by coating the windshield with a hydrophobic layer
- One small container is enough for a gallon of windshield washer fluid
- Freshens up the windshield making the vehicle look squeaky clean
- Does not work as a complete windshield washer fluid on its own, it is an additive
- Getting windshield washer fluid additives is not on the budget-friendly side of things
3. Nextzett 92100815 Kristall Klar Washer Fluid
Kristall Klar windshield washer fluid is known for its water-softening features. This ultra-small, 8.5 fl. oz, bottle is concentrated enough to make over 12 gallons of windshield washer fluid. The manufacturer advises modifying the formula based on how hard the tap water is. But, if you use distilled water, you don’t have to worry about ratio modifications.
This formula is not harmful towards metallic and rubberized parts holding the windshield, and it will not harm the pipes inside the windshield washer fluid system. As a matter of fact, this particular formula also serves as a washer fluid system maintenance tool. It will lubricate the pipe insides, thus lowering the overall noise.
On the other side, this formula can’t protect the windshield from extremely low temperatures. Adding that kind of feature would require getting an additive with isopropyl alcohol, which means more expenses.
- A super-super concentrated formula that comes in a small, convenient 8.5 fl. oz. container
- The container has enough windshield washer fluid to make over 12 gallons of solution, depending on how hard the tap water is
- The fluid acts as a lubricant for the windshield washer fluid delivery system
- This particular formula is not designed to handle extremely low temperatures
- You need a water source to use this windshield washer fluid
4. Prestone AS657 Bug Wash Windshield Washer Fluid
Prestone is a known company that deals with car fluids and additives. This time around, they went out and made a windshield washer fluid formula to fight off bug remains that won’t get off the windshield. The formula comes pre-diluted, so no water source is needed. However, keep in mind that this is a sizeable 1-gallon container, so if you intend to stock up on washer fluid, you will need more space.
The Bug Wash is engineered to apply different protective layers onto the windshield glass. The strongest layer is helping in insect removal, and it leaves a protective film that prevents further insect sticking. The formula also has hydrophobic effects, and it cleans reasonably well.
Even though it can tackle multiple problems, some drivers find that the formula has a too potent scent that can sometimes stick for a while. Keep in mind that this particular windshield washer fluid does not have antifreeze features.
- Large container with pre-mixed windshield washer fluid formula inside
- Triple protection that shields the glass from bugs, water, and dirt
- Convenient for use since no water source is required
- No isopropyl alcohol or other agents to fight off freezing temperatures
- The fluid has a more potent smell
5. Genuine OEM Mercedes Benz Winter Fit Windshield Washer Fluid
If you have a European car, precisely one from Mercedes Benz, you should consider getting this OEM (original equipment manufacturer). It is designed to fit Mercedes’ windshield washer fluid delivery systems and their exact specifications. For example, Mercedes cars tend to have a hearer under the windshield washer fluid reservoir, so the freezing problem is solved differently. Thus the formula must be adapted.
The formula itself is concentrated and is to be diluted with water, preferably distilled. You can also add little by little to the reservoir as time passes. A general rule of thumb is – the colder it gets, the more fluid you need to pour in.
However, keep in mind that this specific windshield washer fluid is pricier than the rest in its class because it is made with usage differences taken into account.
- Potent windshield washer fluid formula that fits Mercedes Benz vehicles
- Concentrated 33.8 fl. oz. formula that leaves a hydrophobic layer behind
- The formula can withstand colder temperatures, but you will have to use more of it
- Should be used with a specific car brand only because it is an OEM windshield washer fluid
- Comes with a heftier price
6. CAF SEMPER Quick Dissolve Windshield Cleaner Mix
Solid-state windshield washer formulas proved to be ultra-efficient in eliminating excessive plastic use, which is an excellent thing for the environment. That is the case of this Semper five-pack. With each pack containing 1.25 oz. of concentrated windshield washer powder, you will be able to make 5 gallons of fluid.
This type of packaging does require less storage space, but it also requires a water source. However, you do not need a container to mix it, and all you have to do is pour the contents of the bag into the windshield washer fluid reservoir, top it with water, and you’re all set.
The formula itself excels in cleaning dust, grime and bug remains, but it does not have anti-freezing features.
- Ultra-convenient five-pack of concentrated windshield washer powder
- Easy to store and easy to use. Just pour the powder into the windshield washer fluid reservoir, no pre-mixing needed
- Cleans dust, grime and bug remains
- Does not have anti-freezing capabilities, so consider adding isopropyl alcohol
- You need access to water to use this windshield washer
7. BMW Windshield Washer Concentrate
Here we have an OEM windshield washer fluid designed to support BMW vehicles. Since BMWs have a specific windshield washer distribution system, using a fluid specifically designed for this brand of vehicle should boost up the overall performance. The windshield washer fluid comes in a 16 fl. oz. bottle.
When it comes to diluting the concentrated formula, the rule is simple – the colder it is, the larger the windshield washer fluid part in the equation. Now, this can sometimes be expensive for people in cold areas, so consider getting some isopropyl alcohol.
This BWM OEM will keep the windshield squeaky clean, and it will put a protective layer over it. This layer is there to prevent dirt from sticking to the windshield.
- An OEM designed explicitly for BMW vehicles and their windshield washer fluid distribution system
- The formula has anti-freezing capabilities
- The container is easy to store and easy to use
- If the temperatures drop to really-cold, you will need a lot of the windshield washer fluid to counteract the freezing effects
- The formula is flammable, so be extra careful while pouring it into the windshield washer fluid reservoir
What’s Inside Windshield Washer Fluid Formulas?
First of all, it is vital to establish the fact that each windshield washer fluid manufacturer has a unique formula. If we knew what it is, we would be able to recreate it at home, which is not only dangerous but money-bleeding as well. So, to put this question at rest immediately – you can make your own windshield washer fluid, but a professional formula will outperform it in 99% of cases. That is if you are not a skilled chemist.
Windshield washer fluids are simpler than octane boosters or brake fluids, and even though people often forget about them, they play an essential role. Chemically speaking, the four main windshield washer fluid ingredients are:
- Methanol – the actual active part of a windshield washer fluid. It cleans both organic and inorganic dirt. But, the best feature of methanol is the inability to freeze in typical freezing temperatures. It has a lower freezing point, which is a property utilized the most in windshield washer fluids.
- Water – A lot of windshield washer fluids will be dissolved, or will ask you to dissolve them, in water. Some windshield washer types come in solid form, and you need to provide enough water for the features to activate. Others come pre-diluted.
- Color – There is no active ingredient in the color of a windshield washer fluid. However, the practicality of it is why it made this list. Manufacturers add color to the formula so it can be easily spotted if leaks or malfunctions appear.
- Scent – If you like your car to smell nice, besides looking great, you might get a windshield washer fluid with an added fragrance. Each time you spray the windshield washer fluid on the windshield, you will feel a dash of a pleasant smell.
A Piece of Safety Advice
Even though it is one of the simplest alcohols out there, methanol is poisonous to human beings. Now, we are not saying that a little sniff is lethal, but we want to stress out that you need to exercise caution while handling the windshield washer fluid bottle.
This especially goes out to parents with young kids out there. Windshield washer fluid formulas and bottles are often made of bright colors which can be intriguing to young kids and toddlers. After you are done using the windshield washer fluid, keep it out of reach of children for safety reasons.
Windshield Washer Fluid Types
The type of windshield washer fluid you want to use will not make much difference when it comes to performance. However, the various forms and application means will definitely change the way you use this car fluid. Compared to liquids like top-rated fuel injector cleaners, windshield washer fluids are much easier to use, no matter their form. It all depends on how much time you can spare to keep the windshield crystal clear. Generally speaking, we can divide windshield washer fluids into four types based on the way we use them.
1. Windshield washer fluid – prediluted
When you hear the phrase windshield washer fluid, this is the type you instinctively think about. Usually sold in a larger bottle or can, the prediluted formula is simple to use. All you have to do is locate the windshield washer fluid reservoir and fill it up.
This type of windshield washer fluid is applied to the windshield surface via the car’s pump system and a set of wipers.
2. Windshield washer fluid – concentrated
Now, concentrated formulas of windshield washer fluid can come in two forms: powder and concentrated liquid. Either way, the packaging is often smaller. Compared to the prediluted version, you only use a part of the original container and dilute it with water by yourself.
Now, every brand of windshield washer fluid will probably recommend water to fluid ratio, but that can be different, depending on the climate you live in and on how often you drive your vehicle. Just be extra careful with storing the concentrated formula, because it can often be hazardous for the environment, as well as harmful to human beings.
3. Windshield washer fluid tablets – concentrated
When it comes to convenience, windshield washer fluid in tablet form easily takes the cake. Packed in a small box, these tablets are super-concentrated and can often provide enough formula for a gallon per tablet. Once you put the tablet in a water container to dissolve, the procedure is the same as with the prediluted windshield washer fluids. Find the reservoir and pour the freshly-made formula in.
Again, these tablets are extremely concentrated and are not to be messed with. Keep them out of reach of children and store them in a dry and dark place.
4. Windshield washer cleaner – prediluted
Lastly, we have a type of windshield washer fluid that is not applied via the pump and wiper system. Windshield washer fluid concentrates are similar to Windex-type home cleaners when it comes to application. They come in a nice bottle, usually including a spray nozzle, and are used with a damp microfiber cloth. All you have to do is spray the windshield washer fluid onto the glass surface and evenly spread the liquid with a cloth.
We advise you to use rubber or latex gloves while spraying the formula, as well as a breathing mask, especially if the windshield washer fluid is methanol-based. Better to be safe than sorry.
Windshield Washer Fluids Buying Guide
Besides knowing essential facts about the windshield, wipers, and blades, we think that it is vital to get to know the sole essentials of windshield washer fluid formulas. After all, this is a type of fluid that is continually used, so why not invest some time now, so you do not have to invest a lot of money into a thing you may not need. So, here are the essential things to know about the windshield washer fluids.
1. Cold Temperature Resilience
If you happen to live in areas that get a lot of cold day during the winter, you know how annoying and dangerous frost can be on a windshield. It lowers visibility and puts the glass at risk of breaking. If this sounds familiar, then you should get a windshield washer fluid formula that contains isopropyl alcohol, or other dedicated antifreeze compounds.
However, if you live in an area with mild winters, you can freely skip this kind of windshield washer fluid, because it will only leave a mark on your budget while not contributing much.
2. Hydrophobic Features
Ah yes, the biggest enemy of drivers anywhere – rain. Windshield wipers are there to help you battle waves of rainwater and push them aside. But the more rein there is, the harder the job for the wiper blades. Chemists that work on the intricate features of windshield washer fluid decided to design a formula that has the ability to “prevent water drop sticking.”
If precipitation is a problem in the area you live in, try to find a windshield washer fluid package that comes with water-repelling features.
3. Formula Concentration and Dilution
While this does not directly change the effectiveness of the windshield washer fluid, it does change the way you will be using it. As we mentioned in the windshield washer fluid types section, you can get the fluid either in diluted or concentrated form.
The difference in using these two types is whether you need water or not, which is a detrimental factor in emergency situations, or during road trips.
People who always like to have a fresh batch of windshield washer fluid ready might want to consider concentrated packages, simply because they are smaller, hence easier to store. And, if you want to avoid the hassle of finding a container to mix the fluid with water, opt for a pre-diluted option.
Either way, the formula will do its job, all you have to decide is how you want to apply it.
When it comes to the effectiveness of windshield washer fluids, the scent is definitely not a key factor. But some people value the subtle effect a fresh smell leaves just after you are done using the wipers. Formulas like this do not leave the scent for a long time, but it is there just enough to give you a whiff.
There is another, a less-thought-about feature that scented windshield washer fluids have, and neutral fluids don’t. If it smells like fresh lemon under the hood, that means that the fluid dispensing system has a leak somewhere.
Who would have thought that windshield washer fluid scent can help with car system diagnostics?
5. Dealing with Streaks on the Glass
Some people believe that formulas that do not dilute easily or (tend to harden over time) are to blame for streaks on the windshield glass. So, streaks can happen to even the most trusted brand when it gets past its expiration date.
What could be the source of glass streaking are the windshield wiper blades. Older wiper blades tend to foam up the windshield washer fluid, thus making glass look dirty, even though it was cleaned a moment ago. So, the truth is, we no one can guarantee that the fluid will work without leaving streaks behind. To minimize the effect, make sure to dilute the formula using the correct ratios provided by the manufacturer.
How to Add Windshield Washer Fluid to Your Car?
You might have already concluded that adding the windshield washer fluid to your vehicle is not a demanding task. The usage and the application are automated by the car’s electronic system. Once the windshield washer fluid gets inside, it is distributed by the automatic pump, sprayed on by the nozzles near the wipers, and spread by the wiper blades. Sounds easy, right?
Well, as it turns out, the real problem lies in some lesser-thought-of things. Before making a decision on which type and brand of windshield washer fluid you want to get, we think that it is important to grasp the concept of using it. What better way to summarize all of the tips and tricks than a quick list?
1. Prepare the windshield washer fluid
There is no surprise here – you need to prepare the fluid, being that we are talking about a diluted or concentrated formula. So, right before you decide it is time to refresh the windshield washer fluid, check the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure that you are following the correct ratio.
Another important part of the preparation process is protective gear. Due to methanol being hazardous, it would be best to use equipment like rubber gloves and respiratory masks. Breathing in methanol can cause some immediate problems, so extra caution is advised.
Now that the formula is prepared, it is time to hop on to the next step.
2. Familiarize yourself with what’s under the hood
One of the biggest problems when it comes to making these instructions is the location of the windshield washer fluid reservoir. Almost every car model out there will have this small fluid tank located in a different spot.
Open up your hood and look for any markings that resemble a windshield or a wiper.
3. Make sure that you are using the right reservoir!
This might be the most important tip to remember. While it might sound innocent to make a mistake and pour the windshield washer fluid into a different, incorrect reservoir, it can have dangerous and expensive consequences. If it happens that you pour windshield washer fluid into the brake fluid tank, the whole batch of brake fluid will be contaminated, and you will have to go through the process of bleeding and draining it.
In other scenarios, due to the chemical nature of windshield washer fluids, you will most likely need to replace the fluid in the wrong reservoir. So, we urge you to double-check if you located the proper windshield washer fluid reservoir.
4. Test it out!
Lastly, you should close the reservoir and the hood, and turn on the car. Pull the windshield washer fluid handle (usually located next to the steering wheel) and turn on the wiper. Check if the fluid is spread evenly. Some car models even have the feature of transporting the windshield washer fluid to be used on the rear glass. Check to see if everything works properly.
Common Reasons Why Car Windshields Crack
Windshield maintenance is a great way to keep the car’s glass intact for as long as possible. By applying a windshield washer fluid formula, you are investing in the future wellbeing of your vehicle. Broken or damaged windshields are not only aesthetically unpleasing, but dangerous as well because the cracks impair vision and may cause lacerations. So, being that we value knowledge over everything else, we have decided to point out some of the most common reasons for windshield cracking. Hopefully, you will get to recognize the symptoms before it’s too late and save yourself both time and money wasted on windshield replacement.
1. Acute Pressure Fluctuations
Even though glass can be quite resilient (more than you think), there is only a limited amount of pressure that a windshield can endure. The larger the windshield’s surface area, the larger the risk of it cracking under pressure. That is why you should always restrain yourself from leaving stuff on the glass, no matter how lightweight it looks. Even though the glass can endure your bag or purse, combined with the reasons bellow, it can create an irreversible crack.
The best and the safest practice is to avoid resting any kind of object on the glass.
2. Temperature Fluctuations
Much like direct pressure to the windshield’s surface, temperature changes can affect the glass as well. Everything tends to shrink in cold temperatures and expand in the heat. While this is true for the glass as well, the bigger risks lie in the shrinking and expanding of the frame holding the windshield. If the frame expands or shrinks without giving the glass some adaptation time, the windshield will start to crack on the edges.
Windshield damages due to temperature expansion can also happen if the temperatures on the inside and on the outside of the glass differ by a more significant degree. During harsh winter days, we tend to crank up the heat inside, thus making the difference. The opposite scenario is also possible, during the extreme summer heat, when we turn up the AC.
3. Severe Weather
There is no doubt about it that the weather can damage windshield glass as well. However, with modern technology, these occur less often due to the rise in glass quality. However, if you live in areas that tend to have hail season often, you might want to consider an extra layer of protection for the car’s windshield. Or you can simply decide not to drive through hail if not absolutely necessary.
4. Improper Installation
The main enemy of large glass surfaces is vibrations. If the glass is installed correctly, there should be absolutely no vibrations present. However, in the case it is not, the windshield could vibrate, and when it does a small amount of external force can cause a crack, especially near the frame.
There is not much you can do if this happens. The safest bet would be to take the car to a professional to reinstall the glass and fix potential frame issues.
5. Glass Defect
As with any other car part, if you are down on your luck, you might stumble upon a defected or damaged windshield. However, compared to other parts, glass needs to aim for perfection in every aspect in order for it to maintain its functionality.
The only thing you can do is consult the manufacturer and try to get a refund or a fresh installation of a new windshield.
6. Prolonged Sunlight Exposure
This is an often-overlooked factor. Sunlight can affect the frame of the windshield in the same way other temperatures can. Extended sunlight exposure will cause the frame to expand, thus enabling the glass to vibrate more, making it crack on its weakest points.
This is the main reason why you should park your car in the shade during the scorching summer days.
Windshield Wiper Problems – Quick Fixes you Can Apply at Home
Another crucial part of windshield maintenance is to keep the wipers and wiper blades in a well-maintained condition. If you notice that something is off, being it sound or windshield wiper performance, act immediately because it can save you a lot of money and time down the road. Here are some commonly known problems and how to approach them before you consult a professional.
1. Windshield Wipers are Making too Much Noise
The number of reasons for a noisy wiper to happen is significant, but the solution is almost always on the simpler side of things. What you must not do is ignore the noise.
During the cold winter days, having a set of operating windshield wipers is as important as having a trustworthy antifreeze formula, so maintaining them should be taken seriously. If the noise is chronic, you should stop the car and take a look under the wipers, where the blades are. Noise is usually caused by accumulated ice, dirt, and/or windshield washer fluid.
If there is too much ice or dirt, all you have to do is clean the blades and readjust the angles. But, if the windshield washer fluid is the issue, then you should consider replacing the fluid or diluting it even more. People often go by the “the more, the better” rule and put excessive amounts of windshield washer fluid into the reservoir.
2. The Windshield Wipers are Working in One Direction Only
This is probably the case of old windshield wiper blades. To make sure that something else isn’t the problem, you need to rule out other factors. So, if your windshield is getting cleaned in one direction only, start by resetting the blades and cleaning the whole glass surface. Applying an extra layer of windshield washer fluid may also help in this case.
After the cleaning is done, readjust the wiper blades and test the wipers. If they are still not cleaning in both directions, it is time to replace them.
3. Wipers not Spreading the Windshield Washer Fluid Evenly
Similar to the other two issues, you should start by eliminating the obvious. Clean the windshield wiper blades, and wipe the windshield manually. Put everything back and see if it works. If the wiper effectiveness stays the same, there may be a case of old windshield washer fluid. Refill the reservoir with a fresh batch and test again.
Now, if there is still no improvement to the wiper’s effectiveness, you might want to get new wiper blades. Keep in mind that damaged wipers can damage the glass itself, and eventually cause a severe crack that will hurt your wallet as well.
Making Your Own Windshield Washer Fluid
There will come a time when you run out of windshield washer fluid in the middle of the road, and there is no vendor in sight. Worry not, because we have prepared a few “recipes” for you. However, keep in mind that homemade windshield washer fluid does not come close to the original stuff, so it should be used in emergencies only. Another great time to substitute is during the hot season when a lot of windshield washer fluid is used due to dust and occasional heavy rain.
We want to put out one more disclaimer: use protective gear while mixing and pouring your own windshield washer fluid, because some of these chemicals cause skin irritation and are not that safe to handle.
1. Use the Window Cleaner
Starting from the simplest quick solution is to use a bottle of Windex, or any other alcohol-based window cleaner. Glass cleaners contain a lot of protective chemicals, though they are not engineered to protect car windshield glass.
Firstly, get a large bottle with a gallon of water inside. Using distilled or demineralized water would be great, but it is not necessary. Then, take a cup of window cleaner fluid and pour it into the water. Close the container and mix/shake it until the liquid inside homogenizes, usually indicated by the evenly-spread color.
After you are done mixing, pour the newly-made windshield washer fluid into the proper reservoir.
2. Ammonia and Dish Detergent
This may be one of the most famous windshield washer fluid formulas that people make at home. As you might already know, ammonia is used in cleaning agents because it dries out quickly without leaving any stains on the surface. However, ammonia is not used in windshield washer fluid formulas because it is not that potent when it comes to degreasing. So, we will take ammonia’s quick-drying capabilities and enhance them with dish soap. Keep in mind that ammonia is quite smelly and hazardous, so use protective gear and try not to inhale it.
What you have to do first is to fill a capped gallon container with water. Distilled water will do best, but tap water is fine if you do not have distilled at your disposal. Pour a 1 ½ tablespoons of dish soap into the water and shake the container for a brief moment. After the soap dissolves, take a ½ cup of ammonia and quickly add it to the container (careful not to spill any). Close the container and shake until the mix is homogenized.
Use the new windshield washer fluid by pouring it into the right reservoir.
3. Frost-proofing the Formula
Having an abundance of windshield washer fluid during the summer is relatively easy because you do not need to worry about performance that much. But, if you want your windshield washer fluid to prevent ice formation on the glass, you need to do something about it.
The simplest solution is to add isopropyl alcohol into the mix. But you will have to do some testing before you pour the windshield washer fluid into the reservoir, depending on how much you added. You test the mix by leaving it outside on the cold overnight. Leaving the container in the freezer may work as well. If the windshield washer fluid freezes, then more isopropyl alcohol is needed.
So, test it little by little, and add until you get the correct mix. Make sure to write down the recipe and chemical ratios for future reference.
FAQ About Windshield Washer Fluids
There can never be enough knowledge to share. For that reason alone, we have gathered a small number of frequently asked questions about windshield washer fluids, for the sake of being certain that nothing is missed.
1. Can I use water instead of a windshield washer fluid formula?
Can you use it? Yes! Should you use it? Absolutely NOT! Water is capable of washing away smaller dirt particles from your windshield, yes, by that is where its functionality ends. There is no protective layer, anti-freezing layer, or even the possibility of cleaning stubborn dirt and grease.
Windshield washer fluid formulas are used for a reason. Engineers and car chemists design these fluids to have a wide range of features that serve drivers all around the world. If you do not want to risk the health of your vehicle, we suggest staying away from using plain water inside the windshield washer fluid reservoir.
2. I think my windshield washer fluid froze inside the car. What should I do?
This is a common mishap during the winter, especially with novice users. Some windshield washer fluids simply do not have the capability of withstanding extremely low temperatures, so the fluid freezes inside the reservoir under the hood. You can spot this if the windshield washer fluid isn’t sprayed when you press the corresponding button on the dashboard.
So, here’s what you need to do:
- Park your car in the garage and heat the garage up. The higher the heat, the faster will the ice block that is windshield washer fluid now melt.
- Open the hood and find the windshield washer fluid reservoir. Make sure to take a look at it every 10 minutes as it melts.
- While you are patrolling around the windshield washer fluid reservoir, try to spot brakes and leaks around the windshield washer fluid system. Liquid tends to expand when frozen, so the pipes may be damaged.
- If everything is ok, pour a fresh batch of windshield washer fluid. This time use a specific formula that is designed to withstand freezing and below-freezing temperatures.
- If you notice any leaks, please refer to a professional for repairs.
3. Can I mix the fresh windshield washer fluid with the old one?
Some manufacturers will be against it, but the answer is that you can mix different brands of windshield washer fluid. However, do not go over the top and mix more than two windshield washer fluids, no matter how fun and interesting it sounds. Some brands use stronger chemicals that will not sit well with each other, but, if used in smaller quantities, nothing sever can happen.
Essentially, if your car runs out of windshield washer fluid, it is perfectly safe to pour a new batch (of a different brand) on top of it. Draining and bleeding the windshield washer fluid system is only necessary in case of pipe damages.
One thing is for sure: if you value safety and care for hygiene, you will certainly benefit from our best windshield washer fluid guide. People often undermine the upsides of keeping the windshield in check, whether if its to prevent damages due to temperature, or to just keep in squeaky clean. As you could find out in our multiple sections, a trustworthy windshield washer fluid formula can save you a lot of trouble.
So, we encourage you to use our guide as a checklist, using our windshield washer fluid reviews to come to a valuable decision as well. In case you want to add something, or ask us a question about car fluids in general, feel free to leave a comment and we will gladly provide you with an answer as fast as possible.
Bonus guide: top-rated garage floor paints