Why do drivers need the best windshield washer fluid rather than just use plain water? The windshield in the vehicle should be always completely clean since the drivers are looking through it to stay safe. The windshield washer fluids can provide that stuff. Besides, using these products might be a legal requirement in some countries, especially for motor vehicle testing.
Windshield washer liquids is a brightly colored or clear product made of methanol and other toxic alcohols. The high-quality product features good anti-freezing and cleaning power. It helps keep windows free of bugs, rain residue, bird droppings, or road grime.
Since it’s rather difficult to remove all that dirt manually, the following reviews will let any driver choose the appropriate solution. The products described below have various properties. For example, some of them are ready-to-use liquids and other ones are concentrated and require some add-ons. In addition, it’s possible to pick the all-purpose units or the fluid that is used deliberately for the de-icing, for instance.
The best windshield washer fluid is a must-have for every driver, as the low-quality products work as plain water but cost more money. Note that plain water doesn’t contain any cleaning solvents that is why it freezes in cold weather and leaves a mess on the window.
The following products are formulated intentionally for cleaning windshields. One can pick a bottle for a specific climate. Just consider the recommended range of temperatures that the manufacturer usually points out. Some units are based on the special techs that provide extra benefits – prevent the window from rain and sleet spots, for instance.
Windshield Washer Fluid Reviews
The Prestone windshield washer fluid is a ready-to-use product, meaning it’s not concentrated and there is no need to dilute it. This product is versatile and it will work great in any vehicle. It can remove bugs and bird droppings creating a bug stopper barrier. It even works well against the sand/salt that is put down on the roads in the wintertime. Besides, the fluid leaves the protective residue that provides clean windshields for a long period.
This is an excellent unit for both winter and summer due to its special formula that is able to protect your windshield from frost starting at -270F. It doesn’t freeze and there’s no need to worry about flushing out fluid depending on the time of year. The unit features the rain-repellent effect providing good visibility in rainstorms.
The liquid is safe and it’s not able to damage the car’s paint or wiper fluid sensors. It evaporates quickly after being sprayed and it turns the wipers on. Some drivers used to add fluid to the container while it still has some water, but it will be diluted and might lose its effectiveness. So, it’s better to use old fluid first then fill with the Prestone. Besides, it’s possible to use it as a simple glass cleaner without pouring it into the tank.
The fluid is rather expensive. It comes in the extra-large bottles and there is no opportunity to acquire it in smaller quantities.
- No bad chemical smell, but, on the contrary, it adds a pleasant citrus smell.
- The product doesn’t leave streaks.
- It does well with fresh bugs but not after they have been on the glass for a while.
The Rain X windshield washer fluid is a concentrate that should be diluted because it does a good job as a cleaning fluid, but it will freeze without some somewhat additive. For example, a deicing washer fluid can be used as a base with the purpose of deicing. What is more, it’s possible to put 1/2 of a bottle of rubbing alcohol in a gallon of water and then add 4 oz. of the Rain-X.
Generally, this winter windshield washer fluid works great with any general-purpose windshield washer fluids. Nevertheless, it won’t work just with water. It requires the other elements of the wiper fluid to be mixed with them.
The Rain-X is a high-quality product that doesn’t clog on the washer nozzles. No one will ever see hard-to-remove stains on a car or dirty footage in windshield corners. By the way, the latter is possible if a user doesn’t let the windshield dry off first.
This windshield liquid ensures good protection from bugs and other dirt – nothing sticks to the windows at all. The liquid is not able to protect windows from being fogged up since this product is an additive to the windshield washer fluid reservoir. It isn’t produced for use on the interior. Besides, it’s not recommended to use it on the glass that has already been treated with the Aquapel.
- The fluid helps the windshield wipers do a better job and makes it easier scrape ice/snow off the windows in winter.
- It’s applied to the glass very easily.
- It works well for bugs cleaning, but it’s still necessary to clean the windscreen regularly during the summer months.
- It can cause clogs of the tank that’s why a driver has to clean it often and thoroughly.
This windshield fluid is compatible with all vehicles. A concentrated anti-clog detergent ensures the glare-free effect and long-lasting treatment. In addition, it prevents the windshield water system from clogging. The prepared mix makes over 12 gallons of fluid.
The manufacturer instructs to mix one part of concentrate with no less than 100 parts of water. That means it’s possible to mix 1:100, 1:150, 1:200, etc. but not 1:99, 1:98, 1:90 and so on. Note that incorrect concentration might damage the tank and provoke leaking.
However, the product is not rated for freezing below 32 0F that’s why it’s not suitable for deicing. If living in a cold climate, add a mixture of 99% isopropyl alcohol in winter to prevent the washer fluid from freezing. The alcohol (methanol or ethanol) concentration should be from 30% to 50% (depending on how much it’s necessary to lower the freezing point).
The fluid contains a lubricant for the wipers, but it works not as well as the dedicated rain-repellents. Still, it clears the bugs and grime easily. Note that it’s better to mix the fluid with distilled water to avoid spots and streaks when it dries. If adding regular tap water, it’s recommended using soft water conditioners.
- The product is easy to apply since it’s not foamy.
- It’s safe and there is no need to use gloves.
- The product is highly concentrated so it will last long.
- The bottle isn’t sealed.
- The concentrate has an unpleasant smell.
The BMW windshield washer fluid keeps the glass clean and it doesn’t smear or leave streaks. It comes in a small bottle that allows keeping the product in the glove box to take it for long trips.
The product recommends 4 oz. of concentrate to 60 oz. of water that will freeze at 26 0F. At 4 oz. concentrate to 28.5 oz. water, the mix will freeze at 20 0F. Nevertheless, the dilution amount/ratio depends on the level of protection that is necessary for the stuff freezing.
Bear in mind that this product is flammable. When adding the required amount of water, there’s nothing to worry about. However, it’s necessary to store it carefully. Besides, use this concentrate with distilled water, as it contains antifungal agents that are not good for windshield washer pump (it will get sticky and stop working).
- It works well with regular tap water.
- The product is odorless.
- It forms a few small soap bubbles when the fluid is applied on the windshield.
The Sonax is a cheap windshield washer fluid, but it does its job according to the manufacturer’s claims. This product is able to remove oil, silicone, grime, and dangerous dazzling films. It is concentrated and should be mixed with water. So, it’s easy to store a small bottle. Besides, it requires less money to get the same amount of mixture. The product comes with a ratio of 1:100 and makes 6 gallons.
The Sonax 386141 is of good quality and doesn’t start smelling after a few days. The liquid doesn’t leave a water repellant on the glass. If following the instructions for use, it is safe for the electric car’s sensor. It can be used on both high-quality XENON headlamps and light diffusing plastic headlamps in clear-glass optic. Since the washer is less caustic, it won’t etch into the car’s clear coat. It smells great with a fresh non-chemical scent while spraying over the windshield.
Note that it cannot be added to the tank if already having another product in it since it simply won’t work right. It’s recommended emptying the current washer fluid tank first and start fresh. Bear in mind to mix it with plain water for the best results.
- The fluid washes either fresh or dried on bugs away with ease and there’s no need to use the washer multiple times to clean them off.
- The unit is easy to wipe off even after a couple of weeks in the hot sun.
- There is a dosing chamber on the bottle.
- Do not use this product while driving in frosty winter weather, as it freezes on the windshield.
- When the washer dries, it leaves a bit of a white soapy residue.
How to Remove Windshield Washer Fluid Reservoir?
When the windshield washer’s container is empty, it is time to replace it with a new one. Why should the drivers do it? Since the reservoir has a rather fragile design, the freezing fluid or traffic accident might crack it and cause leaking.
First, it should be noted that the replacement is not unique to each model of the car. The only possible difference is the reservoir’s location, but the procedure stays the same.
Take off parts surrounding the tank and its mounts – the tire, body panels, screws, mudguard, splash guard, and all the screws around the ram of the reel wheel. Don’t forget to remove the mounts on the front edge of the bottom of the front bumper and one screw on the back of the splash guard. Then follow these steps:
- Clean all the garbage collected to prevent rust.
- Remove the electrical connector.
- If still having some fluid in the tank, just drain it.
- Remove the neck if the reservoir by taking off the clip connector.
- Pull out the bolts that hold the tank inside the car and slide the container out.
- Mount the new tank in reverse order.
- Fill in the tank with the windshield washer fluid.
It’s recommended to test the front and rear washers first before installing the bumper and any shielding. If some issues are noticeable, further diagnostic is required.
How to Drain Windshield Washer Fluid?
If the wrong fluid has been added or the dirt has fallen into it, it’s crucial to replace the liquid. For this purpose, take a drain pan, new fluid, flathead screwdriver, gloves, jack, and jack stand. Proceed as follows:
- Raise and support the vehicle.
- Remove a tire and all the components mentioned in the paragraph above.
- Place a funnel into the empty jug.
- Move the hose down if the pump is installed.
- Drain the fluid into the bucket.
- Reconnect the hose at the bottom of the pump.
- If not going to use another type of washer (for example, there was a rain repellent in the container and it’s required to fill it in with the de-icing product), just add the old stuff.
Then, check the proper operation of the washers. Why is it so important? If the fluid or a tank has been contaminated, it’s necessary to clean the tank once the remaining liquid has been drained. It’s not allowed to add new fluid to the dirty reservoir. The contamination might be not visible without removing a tank, so, how to reveal the issue? Just turn the windshields of and if a very small amount of water is squirting from the nozzles, the problem really exists. In this case, the tank should be cleaned before filling it with new fluid. Note that the first several squirts are always weak.
After that take the tubing and attach it to the vacuum hose to clean the tank. Consider the length of the pipe since some reservoirs might be very deep. Place the tube in the tank and use a wet towel to seal the space between the vacuum hose and the pipe.
How to Fix Windshield Washer Fluid Hose?
It’s not necessary to replace the whole windshield water system if the delivery hose is broken, it’s possible to repair it. These hoses are normally designed as the rubber lines. The hose is hooked up to the pumping motor at the bottom of the tank.
This delivery system carries the liquid to the location of the sprayer nozzles and it features small fittings. If having a problem with the hose and the washer pump motor is engaged, the fluid will spray all over the underside of the engine, but it won’t flow into the pencil nozzle. Let’s clarify how to fix it to provide the system’s better performance.
- Open the hood of the car and examine the hose. It’s necessary to remove a little bit of the fire protectant to get access to the bottom part of the hose.
- Turn on windshields to check the hose for leaks.
- If some damages or broken fittings are noticed, use the non-adhesive rubber automotive tape to fix the hose. The tape ensures the reliable seal on low-pressure hoses.
- Stretch the tape a little to make it work.
- Wrap it tightly around the place of damage. Wait for several minutes to make sure it has bonded to the rubber.
However, if the hole or the crack is large, the repair is impossible. The hose should be replaced. To that end, remove the hose clamp and the reservoir. Pull the hose off the demounted tank and then off the nozzles. Attach a new hose to the tank and then to the nozzles. Install the system in the car.
Last update on 2020-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API