Beware of Summer Windshield Wiper Fluid in Winter

Do you know what kind of windshield wiper fluid is in your vehicle? Is it rated for use below freezing? For over a month now, we have been using winter-rated wiper fluid designed to be used at temperatures down to 20F degrees below zero.

Summer wiper fluid may FREEZE now that temperatures are dropping below 32 degrees, which can cause damage to your wiper pump or reservoir. Using this fluid in the winter is also dangerous because it can instantly freeze to your windshield, creating a sheet of ice and impairing your vision.

This Youtube video demonstrates what happens to summer wiper fluid in sub-freezing conditions.

If there is summer wiper fluid in your system, do NOT add antifreeze to the washer fluid in your reservoir to prevent it from freezing. Antifreeze has other additives that could damage your washer fluid pump and also create a residue on your windshield. The best course of action is to siphon out summer washer fluid and replace it with fluid rated for winter temperatures.

Why do people use summer washer fluid in the first place? Cost. Wiper fluid designed for sub-freezing conditions includes additives to prevent the liquid from freezing and this increases the cost. Summer formulas often cost $2 or less per gallon, while winter formulas can cost $3-5 per gallon.

Bring your car in to Alignment Pros & Express Lube for your fall oil change. We will make sure that you have winter-rated wiper fluid in your system. During fall and winter months, we only use wiper fluid rated for below-freezing temperatures.

Cover photo courtesy Charles Roderick