Winter winshield washer fluid

toyota
camry

#1

Well, the outside temperature is about 15-deg-F. My washer fluid is whatever was being sold at the grocery store or auto parts store whenever I bought it. One of the two washer nozzles is frozen. The spray from the other – when spread by the wiper – leaves a thin layer of ice on the windshield. No big deal; I guess I can find some “winter” fluid when I get to a store. Until then (or for a substitute)…

I have both isopropyl and ethyl rubbing alcohol. Would either of them be appropriate to add as anti-freezing agent? 2004 Camry.


#2

If you had used Google you may have found that AutoZone has washer fluid rated to -20.


#3

Gee – it’s so cold out that I don’t even want to look at the bottle in the trunk (if one is even there) to see what is in the reservoir now. :>)

As I mentioned, when I get a chance to go to a store I’ll get some winter fluid. Until then…?


#4

Frankly I would not use anything but the fluid rated for the cold. Why take a chance on paint damage or something that might have a bad effect on hoses ?


#5

chemically, either isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol (ethyl alcohol) will work to depress freezing point.
many washer fluids use methanol (methyl alcohol) because it is cheap, although much more toxic. and it sounds like your current fluid is around 20% or so.
you probably need a little to tip the alcohol concentration higher (closer to 30%) so that it doesn’t freeze at your temps.


#6

Thanks, people. I’m going to heed V70’s advice and not risk the hoses and paint. Especially since the sprayer started working when the temp got up to about +20-deg. And especially since I found a bottle of “-20-deg” washer fluid in my storage space here. (But I don’t know if that fluid will work. It’s so old that it might have been mixed by Lavoisier.)


#7

I can’t even buy summer fluid in July here in NH.


#8

If your old bottle was never opened, it is probably ok. It also likely has methanol.


#9

You might try a washer fluid additive which will lower your freeze point by an additional 20 deg F, if it is still available. Sometimes you can knock the ice off the nozzle with your thumbnail.


#10

Living in a state with winters, I just leave my windshield washer system full of winter mix all year around… that way I don’t even have to think about it. I cannot think of any reason not to.


#11

There is no summer fluid in MD. It’s year-round. Why keep two sets of product in the store when only one is needed, especially for inexpensive stuff like windshield washer fluid?


#12

Well, I am in Maryland, so I can assume that whatever is in the reservoir is the “winter” stuff. So why did it freeze? I guess it’s been there long enough for the anti-freezing agent (methanol?) to evaporate out, or whatever it does. The bottle from storage was already partly used, so looks like it’s time to buy a new bottle.

I’m surprised at how seldom I have to fill that reservoir. Then again, I drive only about 8,500 mi/yr.

Thanks, again.


#13

The main risk to your wallet here isn’t the spray nozzles freezing, it’s that the pump that supplies water to the nozzles freezes. That pump can cost a pretty penny to replace. Suggest you completely drain the WW washer plastic bottle until you have secured some proper winter washer fluid.


#14

I think it’s a mistake to make that assumption.
There’s summer mix in NH, and we had it in North Dakota. I cannot accept that there is no summer mix in MD.


#15

Well in North Dakota you use Summer mix only on the Fourth of July.


#16

LOL, there’s truth in that there statement! :laughing:
I never used it, but I distinctly recall having to read the labels to make sure I didn’t buy it by mistake. ND is where I first became acutely aware that there were two different mixes.


#17

We used to use pure isopropyl alcohol when I ran from Buffalo ny to Watertown NY and Montreal. -20 fluid doesn’t cut it up there.


#18

How about using Prestone De-Icer Washer Fluid? Though this product does streak a bit.


#19

Last winter, when the temps in my part of NJ dropped to about 15 degrees, my “winter” WW fluid froze in the lines.

Even if it is labeled as being “winter” WW fluid, it is apparent that some of the blue stuff sold in supermarkets and Wal-Mart doesn’t have the amount of methanol necessary to prevent freeze-up.
Ever since that incident, I have used only the more expensive yellow-colored winter WW fluid from either Rain-X or Prestone during the winter.


#20

It can be difficult to drain the existing washer fluid, especially if it is frozen. This is the stuff I referred to in my earlier post but it seems to be getting hard to find.

http://prestone.com/enca/node/435

There is a link on the page on where to buy it.