Is it a bad idea to use windshield wiper fluid in the winter?
So how do you intend to clean your windscreen? With water? Windscreen wiper fluid is designed to work in the winter. You may find some freezes in the winter because the mix of water with the fluid is too much. For example, a mix of Decasol and water where the water is 66% would be too weak a mixture whereas a mix of 50/50 would not freeze. Normally cheap bottles of screen wash will freeze on the first contact whereas more expensive washes will not. A car manufacturer would alter the mix in a new car depending on which continent it was going to and what season. So a car going to South Africa in summer would have a different mix to a car going to Sweden in winter.
Believe it or not but having a quality winter windshield wiper fluid can really make a difference when it comes to your ability to keep your windshield clean as well as see through the glass in a range of different outdoor conditions and weather elements.
I hate it when bugs, dirt, debris, snow, and raindrops build up on the windshield and make it hard to see and before I started using the right fluid I thought it was normal to never be able to see quite as clearly as I wanted to through the window in front of me.
After going on the road trip where I must have crashed into a million mosquitoes and then enduring a long and cold winter with tons of snow and freezing rain I realized that I needed to make a change so I began my search for the best windshield washer fluid that I could find that would be able to clear my windshield and make it easier for me to see while I was driving.
In my opinion, this is not an area where you want to skimp and just buy the off-brand fluid for winter driving habits and outdoor weather environment.
In this post, I want to share with you some of my different recommendations when it comes to what I think are suitable choices if you’re looking for the best windshield wiper fluid.
In A Hurry? This Is The Best:
- Engineered to quickly remove light ice and frost
- Easy and fast de-icer
Anyone looking for the best winter windshield washer fluid is going to want to consider taking a look at the Prestone AS250 De-Icer Windshield Washer Fluid.
The problem with some fluids is that during those cold snaps that some places experience during the winter they become less effective and could even freeze on the windshield, leading to a dangerous driving scenario.
This one is designed to be effective up to -27F and a few people i’ve spoken with have said it works when it’s even colder than that outside.
It’s effective at clearing the windshield of the unwanted road spray that’s tossed up by passing cars when it’s snowing or wet outdoors and also cleans off any grime, moisture leftover from snow, and light ice.
As a de-icer it’s able to keep the windshield clear and free from ice during those winter driving situations when having suitable visibility is key.
I would recommend checking out the Prestone AS250 De-Icer Windshield Washer Fluid if you’re doing a lot of winter driving in areas that get a lot of snow and extreme cold weather.
nextzett Kristall Klar Washer Fluid Concentrate
- Glare and smear-free cleaning for safer driving
- Quickly removes bugs and dirt
- Reduces wiper skipping and shuddering
- Water softeners prevent hard water mineral build-up which can cause...
- 1:200 Concentration makes over 12 gallons of washer fluid
Before starting my research I had never heard of the washer fluid concentrate before and it was the nextzett 92100815 Kristall Klar Washer Fluid Concentrate that ended up seeming like the most practical one for me to use in the summer and during the spring and fall when it doesn’t dip below freezing.
The concentrate actually needs to be mixed with water before being added to the fluid reservoir in the vehicle rather than just pouring the whole thing in.
I find that this makes it a reasonably cost-effective way of keeping fluid available and ready to use in the reservoir and with this concentrated formula you’re able to get about 7 gallons of wiper fluid per 8.5 fluid ounce bottle.
You’re definitely going to want to consider picking it up if you want to be able to get rid of the bugs and road grime that builds up on the window quite regularly during driving and it’s glare-free so as long as you measure it out correctly for the reservoir you shouldn’t have to worry about any slimy glares on the window.
I also find that after spraying it onto the windshield a pleasant scent coming through the vents.
To start using it you’re going to want to measure out a single dose and then mix it into a gallon of water before you pour into the reservoir – don’t add it to the reservoir first and then follow with adding water, make sure you mix it beforehand.
SEMPER Quick Dissolve Windshield Washer Mix
- Quick Dissolve Windshield Washer MixSpecifications
- Weight: 0.11
- Package Quantity: 1
- Excellent Quality.
- Great Gift Idea.
The SEMPER Quick Dissolve Windshield Washer Mix is another interesting solution if you’re looking to refill your windshield washer fluid.
Rather than just coming in a 1-gallon jug of liquid this is actually a quick-dissolving solution that allows you to save money vs buying those large and unwieldy 1 gallon jugs each time you need to refill.
Right out of the packaging this mix is ready to use and unlike the one I previously mentioned where you have to mix it with a gallon of water beforehand this one you can just pour directly into the windshield wiper fluid reservoir and then fill with all the water that you need in there.
In the resealable bag you’ll get 5 pouches and each can be used for a single fluid reservoir refill so in the bag you got a total of 5 refills.
This mix can be used for washing the windshield on your vehicle and keeping it free from any bugs, dirt, and grime that tends to build up over time while you’re driving around.
Keep in mind that this is not a winter suitable windshield wiper fluid and if you live somewhere that experiences freezing temperatures on a regular basis then you’re going to want to consider using a different fluid that isn’t going to freeze.
Rain-X De-Icer Washer Fluid
I’ve had a lot of my friends argue with me about whether or not Rain-X De-Icer Washer Fluid is a suitable choice to use for keeping the windshield clear during the winter but personally I’ve never experienced any problems with it since I started using it a few years ago.
Not only do Rain-X products make it so that water beads on the windshield but this de-icer also offers a streak-free application making it possible to enjoy better visibility during unpleasant weather driving conditions.
During the winter there are many fluids that when applied to the windshield if it’s below freezing can freeze and reduced visibility drastically but the Rain-X De-Icer Washer Fluid is effective all the way down to -25F and it’s designed to be used during the winter to keep the windshield free from ice, snow, and sleet while you’re driving.
I also find that it was also in quite a clear windshield once it has been applied and thanks to it making the water bead I don’t have to spray the windshield as often if it’s snowing or raining.
Despite some of my friends not being happy with this product I’m personally quite happy with the Rain-X De-Icer Washer Fluid and I would recommend checking it out if you’re doing a lot of winter driving and you want to keep your windshield clear.
Rain-X Washer Fluid Additive
- Add to existing washer fluid
- Applies water beading technology
- Enhances driving visibility
- Helps prevent and remove sleet, snow, ice, bugs and road spray from...
- Improves cleaning
The Rain-X Washer Fluid Additive Is a solution that’s meant to be added to washer fluid that you’re already using so that you’re able to take advantage of the Rain-X water beading technology.
For it to be used effectively you just need to add some of this additive to your current windshield washer fluid and you should find that it helps when it comes to visibility during unpleasant weather conditions such as rain, snow, and ice.
I’m not sure about the details regarding the exact technology behind how it works but it’s able to help the water and moisture bead rather than stick to the glass and cover the windshield where they can have a detrimental impact on visibility.
From the bottle it’s possible to add this additive to up to 4 gallons of washer fluid so you’re able to get about 4 different full reservoir uses per bottle.
I’ve been quite happy with the different Rain-X products that I’ve used over the years and I would recommend checking out the Rain-X Washer Fluid Additive if you’re looking to keep your windshield clean and clear while you’re driving around.
Prestone AS259 All Season Windshield Washer Fluid
The Prestone Winter Windshield Washer Fluid is one that you can use year round for clearing bugs and grime off the windshield in the summer and for clearing frost, snow, and sleet off during the winter.
I prefer the all season fluids since it’s easier for me to keep on top of and I don’t have to fiddle around with two different jugs during the year.
This one comes in a 1-gallon jug which perfectly fills up the reservoir on my Volvo S60 and I recommend checking online to see if it’s the ideal amount for your car or if you need less or more.
During the summer it’s effective at keeping the glass clear and clean while you’re driving and when used in conjunction with good wipers it’s able to clean away bugs, dust, bird poop, grime, and even light drops of tree sap.
In the winter it’s able to melt frost and light dustings of ice without it freezing the windshield completely over after applying it.
For year-round windshield cleaning capabilities, I’d recommend checking out the Prestone AS259 All Season Windshield Washer Fluid, especially if you’re looking for one to use during the winter as well.
How To Make Your Own Winter Windshield Washer Fluid That Won’t Freeze
If you live in a climate that’s warm year-round, you can substitute a cup of plain white vinegar for isopropyl alcohol at this step. The alcohol has a very low freezing point, so it will keep your wiper fluid from freezing even in very cold temperatures. White vinegar will help your fluid dry quickly on your windshield, but will not keep it from freezing since the freezing point of vinegar is only a few degrees lower than water!
Winter Driving Windshield Tips
After making sure that you have the appropriate winter tires to use for driving during the winter season the next thing you’re going to want to pay attention to is the windshield and how to properly prepare it for the upcoming cold weather extremes.
Having a suitable set of tires give you better control on the road when it comes to driving in the snow and an icy conditions but none of this matters if your windshield is completely covered in ice and you can barely see out of it.
What’s the temperature start skipping below freezing you’re going to want to start paying attention to how to properly care for your windshield during the winter.
Here are some helpful tips that you should keep in mind.
Don’t Use Boiling Water
Every year I always spot one of my neighbors pouring boiling hot water on their car windows when they’re late for work and trying to remove the snow or ice as quickly as possible.
This is an absolutely terrible idea and could result in the glass cracking and could even damage the paint or other components on the vehicle from the high heat and temperature extremes.
Rather than using boiling water just wake up a few minutes earlier and turn on your car along with the defroster and heat on the inside so that the interior can warm up slowly and the ice or snow can melt off the windows.
Use an Ice Scraper and Snow Brush
One of the best tools that you can have in the car during those cold winter months is an ice scraper along with a snow brush.
These two tools are highly effective at getting ice off the windshield and snow off of the rest of the car and it’s a good idea to consider spending a little bit of money up front to ensure that you have suitable snow removal tools to use for many winters to come.
If you’re in the market I recommend checking out my article on the best snow brush for cars where you’ll be able to see my recommendations as well as get a better idea of the different options you have to choose from.
Make Sure the Windows are Clean
I recently wrote about the importance of keeping the car windows clean in my article on how to prevent foggy car windows and making sure they’re clean also helps during the winter.
With clean windows it’s easier to see what’s going on around you so that you’re in better control when you’re on the road during snowy or poor visibility conditions.
Clean windows also make it harder for moisture such as fog to build up on so you’re less likely to run into any problems with a foggy window while you’re driving around.
Consider Replacing Your Old Wiper Blades
If you can’t remember the last time that you replaced the wiper blades on your windshield then it might be a good >consider replacing them as soon as you can.
As with many car components old blades typically fall apart during the winter when they are exposed to the harsh weather conditions and not only do they lose their effectiveness at keeping your windows clear but they can also damage or scratch the glass if any of the hard plastic or metal pieces are exposed.
Double Check Your Washer Fluid Reservoir
For those driving with an older car that doesn’t have a windshield wiper fluid sensor, you’re going to want to remember to check how much you have left on a regular basis to make sure that you don’t run out during a snowstorm.
This happened to me once when I was driving home on the highway and while the windshield wipers still worked the window was getting extremely dirty and hard to see through as there wasn’t any fluid left for me to be able to keep the windshield clean.
Try peeking into the reservoir to see how much is left or just try to remember to top it off every so often before you run out and run into some problems with visibility on the road.