Which Type of Windshield Washer Fluid Do You Need?

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Most drivers don’t think about their windshield washer fluid very much or realize there are specialized formulations to meet different needs. Although you might be tempted to pick up the cheapest washer fluid you can find, there might be a better choice available. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of washer fluids available and how to choose the right one for your driving needs.

Windshield Washer Fluid Types

First, it’s important to know that you should never refill the washer fluid reservoir with pure water. Cold temperatures can cause it to freeze and damage the lines. Spraying cold water on your windshield in freezing temperatures can also result in a layer of blinding ice that will obstruct your view.

There are many types of windshield washer fluids on the market, with different formulations for various climates. Many of them contain alcohol to prevent them from freezing. If you look at the label, it will usually let you know the lowest temperature the fluid can handle while still being able to work properly.

Some washer fluids will also have a detergent, which helps clean off contaminants. Other washer fluids are formulated to reduce streaking. Some windshield washer fluids are designed to be diluted; others are pre-mixed. If you purchase a pre-mixed fluid, it can be poured directly into the reservoir.

Here are the most common options you’ll find in an auto parts store:

  • Classic blue
    This is the standard windshield washer fluid. It’s generally all-purpose, so although it will work in most situations, it’s not ideal for extreme temperatures or cleaning off tougher debris or bugs.
  • De-icing
    This fluid is designed to keep your windshield frost-free. It typically works down to -25 degrees, so it’s a perfect choice if you plan to travel to areas that get really cold. If you only deal with ice on your windows on occasion, you can put some of this fluid in a spray bottle and apply it to your windows as needed.
  • Bug remover
    This type of fluid is generally marketed as “bug remover,” but it also works well for cleaning hard-to-remove contaminants off your windshield—like pollen, tree sap, and bird droppings. Although it costs more than the classic blue fluid, it’s great to have around, especially if you park your car under trees during the spring and summer months. Keep in mind that it typically freezes at 32 degrees, so it’s not a good choice for more extreme winter temperatures.
  • All-season
    If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of swapping out fluids throughout the year, you can’t go wrong with all-season windshield washer fluid. It handles it all—frost, snow, light ice, bugs, bird droppings, and other grime!

One of the most important things to remember is to keep your windshield washer fluid level up. Our technicians can help you keep it topped off with the right fluid for your driving needs. We’ll also make sure your washer mechanism is working properly so you stay safe on the road.

When to Refill Your Windshield Washer Fluid

Many newer vehicles display a warning light or message that will let you know when your windshield washer fluid is low. It usually looks like a windshield with water spraying on it or has a message that says something like “windshield washer fluid low.” If your car doesn’t have a warning light or message, you’ll need to check the level on occasion. The good news is that, unlike oil, washer fluid doesn’t break down over time.

If you’d prefer to refill the fluid yourself, it’s usually the same in most vehicles. You can find the location of the windshield wiper fluid reservoir in your owner’s manual, or we’re happy to show you. The reservoir will be translucent, with a cap that has an image of water spraying onto a windshield. To refill the fluid, you’ll open the cap and pour the fluid in until it reaches the fill line.

Important: if the reservoir is empty, be careful not to turn on your washer fluid system because this can cause the pump to overheat and fail.

Contact EuroCar Service for All Your Auto Care Needs

At EuroCar Service, we’re committed to your driving safety. If you have any questions about refilling your windshield washer fluid, which type to use, or problems with the system, we’re always here to help! We can also check your wiper blades to make sure they’re ready for winter weather and summer bugs!

In addition, we offer comprehensive auto care for all European models, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Fiat, Smart Car, Mini-Cooper, Jaguar, Volvo, Saab, and Volkswagen. Whether you need factory-scheduled maintenance, new tires, or a repair, you can rely on our ASE-certified technicians to get the job done right! Contact us today at (206) 527-8828.