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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently moved to the Chicago area, and now in winter washer jets don't spray the fluid. Previously I did use washer fluid, but not sure if its meant for such low temperatures or not. Yesterday, I top off with new washer fluid (which says won't freeze upto -25F) but I don't think the tank was empty because it top off upto brim with just little bit of fluid. Now, if the previous fluid has frozen up how can I get it out?
 

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perhaps you warm it up with an incandescent light overnight?
 

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Wait for a warm day, or check it after a good long run. Trying to get out the ice any other way is a recipe for disaster. Oh, and not to further depress you, but last time that happened to me (not on a B5) the ice destroyed the washer pump when it froze.
 

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Open the hood and look at the nozzles. mine squirted out some slush at first. After a good warm run, let it sit for a few minutes to allow the engine to heat soak the rest of the engine bay. It should defrost the system to allow you to cycle thru the new nonfreezing fluid.
 

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Go figure German engineering heats our washer nozzles, but not the reservoir.
That's why you should proactively put cold weather washer fluid in before it gets extremely cold.
 

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Go figure German engineering heats our washer nozzles, but not the reservoir.
I don't believe it ever occurred to them people might not take care of their cars "correctly" - which, I assume, includes proactively using the appropriate washer fluid. The nozzles are heated so they don't plug with ice from outside.
 

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I had a similar experience with some of the blue washer fluid, supposedly rated to -25F but froze at much higher temps.

I bought some denatured alcohol at the hardware store, as I think this is what is used in the fluid to lower the freezing point. I added as much as the tank would hold, and once it thawed out it stayed thawed.

Started buying better fluid after that.
 

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this is why you get the stuff that works down to 0F.

i would believe that if it truely did completely freeze, that there could be damage to the washer pump.
 

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this is why you get the stuff that works down to 0F.

i would believe that if it truely did completely freeze, that there could be damage to the washer pump.
all depends on the temp. remember, there is a certain point below freezing where H2O expands for a bit as temperature decreases... that's what damages the washer pump - it blows the case open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, so today I checked it again, and it hasn't frozen, but still no spray from from the nozzle.....:confused:
 

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this happened to me not to long ago. We were hit with unusual cold weather (-20 celsius) in early November. The summer Rain-x fluid froze so i waited until it melted and just used it all up so i could top it off with rain-x ice fluid. problem solved :D
 

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i stupidly put the wrong kind of washer fluid in during the fall/early winter last year. i ended up spraying some de-icer into the tank and with the engine warm some of the heat in there helped to thaw it out. and i just used that fluid as fast as i could. when it was all flushed out i put the good kind in and even in the summer now i make sure i get the good fluid so i never have to worry about it again. lesson was learned for me.
 

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Dumb question, how are the washer jets heated? What system is in place to heat them, the same way we heat our mirrors with a switch?
 

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good question. It shold be either connected to the mirror or rear defroster circuit, methinks. Possibly even the front defrost position of the vents.
 

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Reading through my owners manual, it states the heated washer nozzles are automatically activated dependent upon the outside temperature. Doing a search here resulted in some members claiming activation via the heated exterior mirror switch. You might possibly find the answer by doing some serious wiring diagram research.
 

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all depends on the temp. remember, there is a certain point below freezing where H2O expands for a bit as temperature decreases... that's what damages the washer pump - it blows the case open.
that is a very good point, but don't forget that attempted use of the pump as it's frozen and held can also lead to issues.
 

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alcohol is mixed with the winter washer fluid. but taking into account the windchill factor a -40 celcius fluid will freeze up on the windshield even if the temperature is -20 celcius.
 

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In Germany, typical supermarket winter washer fluid contains 80% ethanol which protects down to -76˚F neat.
It is usually used neat as it then acts as a deicer on a frosty or icy screen.
 
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