Accidentally put windshield washer in place of coolant

I just accidentally put bug remover windshield washer fluid in the engine coolant reservoir. What do I do ???

If you haven’t run the car, get a turkey baster and suck all of the windshield washer fluid out of the reservoir bottle and replace it with coolant.

If you have run the car, drain the cooling system and pour in fresh coolant.

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I semi-agree with @shadowfax. If you haven’t run the car, then follow his advice. If you have run it, do the same thing as most of what is in the reservoir stays there for some time. I would not worry about what gets into the system so I do not recommend draining the system.

Windshield washer fluid bug removal formula, is mostly water with some detergents. They won’t hurt the system.

Thank you for your input.

Thank you for your perspective. I had to drive to work, and sent a message to the dealership service dept. I am curious as to what they will say about it. I have a bumper to bumper service contract, so they won’t make any money off of me for doing any work to it. I’ll share what they recommend…if I ever hear back from them…!

Thanks again,


How much did you put in? 1 cup? 1 gallon?

This is not a service item. I would expect a charge so find out first before agreeing to the fluid change.

I mainly recommended draining it because we can’t tell what’s happened as far as coolant being pulled from the reservoir. I do agree that they’d probably be fine, but I don’t know what kind of chemical is in that anti-bug portion of the washer fluid, and whether/how it will react with the antifreeze.