Windshield Wiper Fluid: What Kind Do you Need And Why?
Don’t Use Only Water
Wet windshieldOne of the most common mistakes made when refilling your windshield wiper fluid reservoir is to pour in regular ole’ water and call it day. Sure, water might get your windshield clean in warm weather, but once the temperature drops, it’ll freeze up inside your tank and lines, potentially causing damage to your washer system and blinding you out on the highway.
Another, more insidious side effect of using water in your windshield fluid reservoir has to do with bacteria. Over the course of a hot summer, even the purest water can breed microbes, such as the legionella bacteria that cause Legionnaire’s disease, and make you sick when you activate your washers and spray the toxic mixture into the air. It’s a common issue for professional drivers who try to save cash by sticking with water, but don’t let it happen to you. Make sure to use a fluid mixture that contains at least a small amount of alcohol to prevent breeding disease inside your engine bay.
Winter Is The Enemy
Back to the part about windshield washer fluid freezing up in cold weather. If you live in a harsh winter climate, you’ll want to make sure that you use a windshield washer fluid that contains the appropriate mixture of antifreeze for the temperatures you will be facing. Most windshield washer fluids will post the temperature they can be safely used at right on the bottle, and all you have to do is match the fluid to the average low in your neck of the woods and you’ll be all set. Keep in mind that some might require you to thin them out with water, while others will be pre-mixed for your climate.
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