Windshield wiper fluid is an important supply for your car. Especially during the winter months as it cleans your windshield and gives you a clear front view. Do you know what are the different types and how they affect your car’s detailing needs? Do you know why it is important that you do not fill the windshield wiper fluid reservoir with tap water? Let’s go through these together in this article.
What Is Windshield Wiper Fluid?
Windshield wiper fluid is the fluid your vehicle uses to clean the front window using the wipers while driving. It is also known as windshield fluid, washer fluid, or wiper fluid/washer. There is a special compartment under the hood where the fluid is poured into. It usually has a plastic cap with a water symbol on it. If the vehicle has a rear wiper, there may be a second fluid reservoir for it.
It is very important that you choose quality products for the windshield, but also to clean your car exterior and maintain it as a whole.
Windshield Wiper Fluid Types
There are different types of wiper fluids, depending on ingredients used, seasonality, concentration formula, etc. Let’s explore in more detail.
Based on Concentration
Concentrated vs Ready-to-Use Wiper Fluid
The basic difference is the quantity that you buy. If you buy a concentrate it is usually 1 gallon and when dilute it, becomes 4 gallons (generally). But you have to add water by yourself. However, it is much easier to carry it from the supermarket. On the other hand, ready-to-use products are of less quantity – you buy 1 gallon and get 1 gallon, so it finishes quickly. Ready-to-use, or even the concentrated, fluids have aromas included in the ingredients, but this is not necessary, just a benefit for the users.
Both types are ok, but you should be careful when diluting the concentrate. Make sure you follow the instructions strictly. When possible, dilute with deionized water and avoid tap water unless you are certain of its high quality.
Winter Windshield Wiper Fluid
Above we mentioned that it is very dangerous to fill in the reservoir with just plain water from the tab. This is because during winter water may freeze. Consequently, it will not clean anything, which might cause you to crash.
Generally, winter is the season during which we should be more careful and mind road safety tips. Imagine that you drive on the highway during winter, after snow has fallen. All of us know what happens – dirty snow everywhere on the street. Driving through it for just a few miles you will not be able to see anything through the front windshield. Hence, if you do not have the right windshield wiper fluid, you will not be able to clean it, which might cause you to crash. Bear in mind that there are additional winter car maintenance tips that you might want to attend to as well.
Basically, all winter fluids contain alcohol, which does not freeze during colder days. But not all alcohol ingredients are ok for the health. For example, many scientists recommend that you should avoid methanol products. When they go through the car fluid system and the smell comes inside the car, this might be toxic. Especially if the fluid is a concentrate and the person does not dilute it properly. As noted above, instructions should be followed strictly. Still, it is better to use a windshield wiper fluid product with ethanol (ethyl alcohol), which is safer and non-toxic.
Snow and ice removal machines use special salt and other mixes for cleaning the road. Unfortunately, all these mixes get onto the vehicles and ruin the paint. In order to avoid this, we should use detailing services during winter more often. Also, wipers are not enough to clean the windshields as the edges can still be dirty and block you from seeing the road in full.
Summer Windshield Wiper Fluid
During the summer the wiper fluid should be again a specialized quality product. Yes, water from the tap can do the work, but it cannot clean all insects that stick to the window. Additionally, dirt and tree sap also fall on the vehicle. Sometimes it is hard to remove these just with water and you should use a specially formulated fluid as well as regularly go for detailing services.
All-Seasons Windshield Wiper Fluid
There are fluids on the market that are designed to be used during the whole year. However, you still need to check the minimum temperature at which they will be ok to use. Compare it with the climate in your region and decide whether it would be suitable.
Ingredient-Based Types of Windshield Wiper Fluid
There are windshield wiper fluids with different extras on the market. For one, there is a fluid for extra dirt removal. Then, there are products with special technology that can repel rain drops or make the snow go down and not stick to the windshield. You can find such special products in specialized stores or online shops.
A very good and quality windshield wiper fluid is the one containing glycerine. This ingredient protects the rubber part of the wiper and prolongs its usage time with 20%-30%. Moreover, fluids containing glycerine clean the windshield faster. Therefore, if you plan to drive outside of town with higher speed, you might want to choose this type of windshield wiper fluid.
If you mainly drive around town with lower speed, you can set for a regular windshield wiper fluid or even water when the weather allows it. Yet, if you travel a lot, it is better to get a premium product to secure yourself, especially during the winter. When you notice fluid streaks or remnants on the windshield, make sure to schedule a detailing appointment right away. The benefits of mobile car detailing services may be just what you need.
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