Engine Fluids – Windshield Wiper Fluid

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,755
    John Nielsen with AAA’s Approved Auto Repair explains how to use and maintain the wiper fluid in your car.

    John Nielsen: Hi! I'm John Nielsen with AAA's Approved Auto Repair. Maintaining the fluids in our vehicle's engine is important to protecting our investment in the long run. Now one of the fluids to consider is going to be the wiper fluid. This is pretty easy to take a look at. There is usually a fill bottle located in the front of the engine compartment; it'll say wiper fluid or washer fluid on the top; couple of things that you should consider when selecting fluid for your vehicle. First off, water is not the right one. Water doesn't do a very good job of cleaning. It'll freeze.

    So let's take a look at dedicated windshield washer fluid. It's important to select a windshield washer solvent that's appropriate for the climate that you live in. For example, if you expect the temperatures to be below freezing, you should make sure that your washer solvent is rated for antifreeze properties at least 5 lower than the anticipated lowest temperature you'll experience. Otherwise, you'll have fluid freezing on the windshield which isn't going to do anything for visibility. Similarly in other parts of the country, in the summertime bugs are a big problem and they actually make washer solvents today that don't have any freezing protection, but do a great job at removing bugs from the windshield.

    So select the right washer fluid. Now while we're on the subject of washers and wipers, let's talk about the blades themselves. These are something that are often overlooked and they're easy to change yourself. The typical lifespan of a wiper blade is surprisingly short, in most cases it's around six months, but in very few cases as well they ever last longer than a year. Now, the way to tell that it's time to change your wiper blade is simply that you get streaks or chattering when you turn them on. Now in many parts of the country we have very dry summers and your wiper blades will simply set in one position and the first rain you turn them on, and they streak and they chatter, that's really too late.

    So a couple of things we can do is to clean our wiper blades when we wash our windshield by simply taking a paper towel with some washer solvent on it and wiping down the blade will remove road tar, contaminants that contribute to a poor wash and wipe quality. Anytime that we've exceeded six to eight months it's time to check them. If there is any set or cracking in the wiper blade itself, simply replace it. Many of us can do this ourselves, but certainly any repair shop and even some auto part stores can help. By keeping the right fluid in the car and using the right blade for the time of year, we are going to have better vision, increase the safety while we drive and really increase our overall driving enjoyment.