Should my balls float?

I bought a car which has a full washer fluid reservoir. I don’t know whether they put summer or winter fluid in it. Does anyone know
whether the balls-floating type of tester for coolant will work on washer fluid, and what kind of result indicates winter-safe fluid?

Unless you live in Northern Alaska you should have a couple of months before it becomes and issue. Between now and then just add the winter stuff when needed…then by winter the problem will be moot.

As for will the anti-freeze tester work…never tried it…but I’m pretty sure it won’t. The floating balls tester are testing the specific gravity of the liquid. Anti-freeze is heavier then water.

Winter washer fluid is basically some type of alcohol base…which has a specific gravity close to water.

If it is either pink or blue, you are probably OK. Just means it isn’t just water. Unless you live in a really cold climate the blue stuff works pretty much year 'round if you are calling that “summer fluid.” No, the anti-freeze ball tester won’t work on it. They barely work on anti-freeze, they are so cheaply made.

Just replace the fluid with what you want or is that too simple .

Dear know it alls:

  1. Around here the “summer blue stuff” has the same freezing point as water.
  2. No, it’s not too simple. I am not physically able to get under the car and take off the
    baffles that allow access to the bottom of the fluid resevoir.
  3. The car won’t be used enough to use up the fluid in the next couple months.

Moving on…

You have been around long enough to know that this forum’s culture does not look kindly on snarky responses to people who are trying to help you.

You can drain the fluid through the fill tube. Put a vessel to catch the fluid on the ground, run a polyurethane tube long enough to go from the bottom of the fluid reservoir to the vessel on the ground, and siphon the fluid out. Considering that winter mix antifreeze is only a couple of bucks a gallon, I’d siphon the unknown stuff out, refill the reservoir with the winter mix, and run the squirters a few times to fill the lines.

I leave winter mix in the system all year long. There’s no reason not to.

NOTE: dispose of the old stuff at your local recycling center. Or let it sit outside this winter and see if it freezes… that’s the best test. If it doesn’t you have a supply of winter mix.

If it is either pink or blue, you are probably OK. Just means it isn't just water

I guess they sell different types of fluid in other parts of the country. The winter and summer fluid here in NH both are BLUE. In fact I rarely ever see the summer fluid sold here…it’s always the winter stuff.

There is some special pink fluid that used for defrosting windows faster.

And here I thought melott was in a joking mood, given the title of his post… :wink:

Good idea on the siphon. Thanks.
I have always thought that heat would evaporate the alcohol out of winter mix during the summer, messing it up.
NB: I used to keep a “blue jug” for the beach. Rinsed it out, filled with tap water and blue food coloring. Drank it on the beach to troll for reactions…

It would if the system were open to the atmosphere.
I truly hope you never grab the wrong bottle on your way to the beach.

And I hope no young kids ever see you do that. One of them just might get the impression that bleach is safe to drink and try to play a trick on one of his/her friends. Kids are very impressionable.

I guess I should lie in the bathtub and find out.

Just use the unknown fluid up and refill with standard winter fluid. Going forward, avoid using the sketchy summer stuff that requires dump-out prior to winter. Use “winter” fluid year-round. (Heck, I didn’t even know “summer fluid” was a thing!)

“Unless you live in Northern Alaska you should have a couple of months before it becomes and issue. Between now and then just add the winter stuff when needed…then by winter the problem will be moot.”

Even if the car doesn’t get a lot of use over the next few months, it really wouldn’t be that difficult to use the washers…profusely…on a periodic basis, and then refill with the winter-grade stuff.

I had a couple of incidents where I would use the windshield washer in cold weather. The cheap blue stuff would go on as a liquid and freeze as it was wiped across the windshield. Not fun at all! I eventually switched to Prestone De-icer fluid which is expensive, but worth the price. When I switched over, I just drove down the street with the windshield washer running continuously until it was empty.

Can’t we all just get along? Rodney, er . . . Rocketman

Stick a plastic tube down into the reservoir, put your thumb over the top to remove a sample. Put it in a small container (pill bottle?) and stick in your freezer. Look at next day and you will have your answer. You would need a VERY old antifreeze tester dating back to when Prestone was making Freezeone Antifreeze. It was an alcohol based antifreeze and had to be checked and have the alcohol replaced regularly.

I refuse to use the yellow stuff. Just something about spraying yellow liquid all over your car that does not seem right. I think they should fire their marketing people for coming up with that.

And I thought I was a worry wart. I have to say that I have never in 50 years ever worried about what kind of washer fluid was in any car that I bought-new or used.

Low budget stores sell blue water as windshield washer fluid, but it does not have any alcohol in it. Only once did I have my washer fluid freeze, never want that to happen again. +1 to TSM, the siphon idea is great, also the low budget stores sometimes sell a turkey baster for $1 that can be used to pull the old stuff out.

In recent years I often run accross a clearance price on 70% to 90% isopropyl alcohol and buy a few quarts to add to the water in my windshield fluid bottle. I begin topping off the bottle with alcohol in the fall and it’s usually January before it turns cold here and the mixture by then is more than adequate. Many years ago I bought a bottle of blue water assuming it wouldn’t freeze and don’t want to get caught like that again.