Frozen windshield washer fluid?
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  1. #1
    tdb
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    Frozen windshield washer fluid?

    So I've been stuck in this mess in Atlanta for a week now. Today, I finally got back on the road and all this salt is on my windshield. I just tried wiping them down with the windshield washer fluid, but nothing came out when I pulled back the lever. I had the fluid replaced at my last service and I barely use the stuff, so surely it can't be out. I'm guessing it froze (temperatures for the week have been under freezing until today). Is that even possible though? I thought windshield washer fluid has a lower freezing point than water?

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  3. #2
    Mr. Bieber 1st place WaterFest 17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdb View Post
    So I've been stuck in this mess in Atlanta for a week now. Today, I finally got back on the road and all this salt is on my windshield. I just tried wiping them down with the windshield washer fluid, but nothing came out when I pulled back the lever. I had the fluid replaced at my last service and I barely use the stuff, so surely it can't be out. I'm guessing it froze (temperatures for the week have been under freezing until today). Is that even possible though? I thought windshield washer fluid has a lower freezing point than water?
    It does have a lower freezing point. but some of it is just really cheap and is MOSTLY water based. so I would suggest draining it and spending the extra $1 and getting the nicer stuff


    Mine keeps freezing too. Im just too lazy to do anything about it

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    If the fluid tank is not completely full then pour in some winter fluid and after couple days it will thaw the rest if its frozen. Someone here on the forum suggested me earlier and it worked for me

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    Quote Originally Posted by VW-Pssst View Post
    It does have a lower freezing point. but some of it is just really cheap and is MOSTLY water based. so I would suggest draining it and spending the extra $1 and getting the nicer stuff
    I always put that cheap Blue Coral WalMart crap in my car, but last week, I splurged for the $5 Prestone...I spent more on washer fluid that one time than I have combined in the last 3 years-LOL!

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    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    I put the cheap $2 -25F stuff in from the grocery store. Works great at 18F and 60mph (massive wind chill)

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    Skip the blue water, seen labels saying protects to -10F , but yet had it freeze at 20 F.

    Go buy some rubbing alcohol ( isopropyl alcohol) at your local discount store or drugstore. Dump it in the tank.

    Different car, but when my blue water froze, went to the local drugstore and could only find Mint scented rubbing alcohol. The added bonus was a fresh minty smell, everytime I used the wiperfluid.

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    Um. Hold in mind that many formulations of "rubbing alcohol" include a bit of mineral oil as a skin moisturizer; bad news for your windshield, wipers, and pump. Also, too high a concentration of alcohol will deteriorate the wiper blades and other rubber bits. Is it so hard to spend more than $1 for a quality washer fluid? I use VW OEM or Prestone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotts13 View Post
    Um. Hold in mind that many formulations of "rubbing alcohol" include a bit of mineral oil as a skin moisturizer; bad news for your windshield, wipers, and pump.
    Could you point us to the documentation for the mineral oil piece of this? I don't see it in the label for the 70% isopropanol I buy from Rite-Aid, which I assume to be the lowest common denominator.

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    I've used a distilled water/alcohol mix and it's worked just fine. Just read the alcohol ingredients -- some do have extra things like oil or mint flavor.

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    Overdrive
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvariant View Post
    Could you point us to the documentation for the mineral oil piece of this? I don't see it in the label for the 70% isopropanol I buy from Rite-Aid, which I assume to be the lowest common denominator.
    Interesting! I was unable to find concrete documentation for this, though the (quite old) bottle of Rite-Aid I have in my cabinet does list mineral oil - but without a percentage.

    The Wikipedia article refers to "perfumed oils" and in the UK formulation, castor oil. My advice came from old computer technician lore, that rubbing alcohol should not be used to clean parts because of the oily residue - only chemically pure isopropanol. Apparently, this may be obsolete or incorrect. Thanks!

    (I still think you should just buy decent washer fluid, intended for the purpose, though)
    Last edited by scotts13; 01-16-2011 at 07:12 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvariant View Post
    Could you point us to the documentation for the mineral oil piece of this? I don't see it in the label for the 70% isopropanol I buy from Rite-Aid, which I assume to be the lowest common denominator.
    Yours looks fine but always look at the label. Some have things that will leave residue but yours looks like just alcohol and water. http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed...o.cfm?id=29569
    Original Club B5 member: 08 R32 & missing my 99 B5

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    tdb
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    Thanks for all the replies! Turns out my windshield washer fluid was indeed frozen. I guess it's not too big of a problem for me what kind I use since I drive 99% of the time in non-freezing temps.

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    I wish I wasn't witless Passat2.8's Avatar
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    Well it was -9 F here last night, and my standard blue fluid is still fluid.

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    I've used my fluid in up to an indicated -19 in the Colorado mountains with orange fluid that cost about $5. Thank goodness for the heated windshield washer nozzles.

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    I'm just itching to be Banned NEWMAN'SOWN's Avatar
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    I always put a bit of Vodka into the reservoir during the wintertime, it works beautifully.

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    My pornstar name came up "Jay the Snork."
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    Wiper fluids sold in the south do not always have anti-freeze in them. I learned this after moving down here, then taking a winter trip back up to Syracuse during a blizzard. Lucky for me, a passing car at a toll booth on I-90 saw me scraping the windshield, and stopped and gave me a jug of the real stuff.

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    Overdrive
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    BTW, one of my cars still has the "summer" formulation of Prestone in it, and it was still liquid at 12 F last night. I checked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotts13 View Post
    Interesting! I was unable to find concrete documentation for this, though the (quite old) bottle of Rite-Aid I have in my cabinet does list mineral oil - but without a percentage.

    The Wikipedia article refers to "perfumed oils" and in the UK formulation, castor oil. My advice came from old computer technician lore, that rubbing alcohol should not be used to clean parts because of the oily residue - only chemically pure isopropanol. Apparently, this may be obsolete or incorrect. Thanks!

    (I still think you should just buy decent washer fluid, intended for the purpose, though)
    What you're saying and what is listed in Wikipedia certainly makes sense: there is no limit to the insanity of marketing!

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