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How to tell if your windshield wiper fluid is frozen

By Product Expert | Posted in Safety, Service, Tips and Tricks on Friday, January 5th, 2018 at 2:44 pm
Car windshield and wipers wet

What should you do if your windshield wiper fluid freezes?

The temperatures are getting downright frigid, and that means you’re going to face many interesting automotive problems including potentially freezing wiper fluid. Let us help you and answer what should you do if your windshield wiper fluid freezes.

Water drops on car windshieldWhy does windshield wiper fluid freeze?

Before we go into the how to fix it, let’s go into why it happens. How does your windshield wiper fluid freeze? It’s simple, all windshield wiper fluid uses nature’s most powerful solvent as a base component, and that solvent is everyday water.

Simple science will tell you that water has a freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, however, wiper fluid has many additives which will actually lower the freezing point. Unfortunately, most summer blends or blends created for southern states do not lower the freezing point enough to combat subzero temperatures. This can let your wiper fluid freeze.

Read More: How to prepare your vehicle for winter

What wiper fluid should you use in the winter?

Special winter blends of windshield wiper fluid have freezing points as low as -20°F or even -50°F, but even the -20°F should work in most situations. If you live in a colder climate, then it’s a good idea to use these winter blends even in summer, so you don’t get stuck with summer blend in your tank when the temperature starts to plummet.


Should you let your car warm up in winter?


Windshield washer fluid reservoir on a carIs your windshield wiper fluid frozen?

If your fluid will not spray at all, and the jets are clear of snow, then it’s a good indication that your fluid reservoir is either empty or frozen. The latter is bad because it can crack your tank. The best way to check is to simply look under the hood to see if the reservoir is empty.

Most reservoirs are clear, so you don’t even have to pop the cap to check. If it isn’t frozen, has fluid, but still isn’t working, then you may have a faulty pump. In that case, a local mechanic can help. If it is frozen, we’ll tell you what to do.


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How to get out frozen windshield wiper fluid

The best way to combat frozen wiper fluid is to let your car warm up, park it in the sun, put it in the garage, wait for an upcoming warm day, or even simply drive it around for a while. Once it’s warm, and the fluid starts spraying again, simply spray it all out.

Afterward, add in the lowest temp wiper fluid you can find to help dilute any leftovers in the system. Now you should be good to go and spray away even in the frigid temps.

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