The cheap windshield washer fluids

Posted by: dparm

The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:23 PM

After my minor fiasco with the car having fluid only good to +32 F (California car where anything else is illegal), I hastily went to AutoZone and bought a gallon of the pre-mixed store-brand washer fluid. It claimed to be good to -20 F.

I have to call [censored] on it, truthfully. It was about +20 F last night and every time I sprayed it on the window, it would crystallize and ice up with 2 or 3 seconds, making it totally worthless. Mind you this is with heated washer nozzles.

Promptly went out and bought two jugs of purple Splash!-brand -35 F stuff and put it in. Low-and-behold, it did not crystallize or freeze up at all. I'm really questioning if those cheap fluids meet the advertised specs.

Anyone else have similar experiences with cheap fluids?
Posted by: Rand

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:27 PM

did it freeze while parked or moving?

you have an effect similar to windchill on liquids in the winter.


I totally agree though usually -20 is good to about 25F

if its going to be below that you need at least -25+ for use while moving.

or you can just look at the % of alcohol. you want 30-35%+

once you get it spread out in a layer 1/1000's of an inch thick by the wipers it doesnt take much evap.. to freeze it up.




Also the alcohol will evap faster leaving .. yep water on your windshield to freeze.
Posted by: Kira

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:28 PM

Hello, I have always thrown in a bottle of isopropyl alcohol into my blue washer fluid when the weather goes cold. I like the smell too.

What burns is that we can't buy 100% methyl alcohol and make what we need. Delivering all those gallon jugs to stores all over creation is a good thing for John Q. Public I suppose. Kira
Posted by: ronbo

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:28 PM

Live in New York and buy the cheap blue fluid and no problems. That said I don't use the washer fluid much in winter or summer. In winter I have an unlimited car wash package for $25 a month and get a car wash every second day, weather permitting. In summer wash the windows as needed.

In the future will buy the better stuff with Rain-X in it or yellow Prestone.
Posted by: addyguy

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:30 PM

Up here in the winter, 'basic' blue washer fluid is rated to -35C, and 'premium' stuff is rated from -40C to -49C.

I've noticed a major difference in how little the -40C and below fluids ice over when they are used below -20C. The -35C stuff always leaves a glaze of ice, but the premium stuff barely does, and it goes away quicker.

I've switched to using premium stuff I buy on sale.
Posted by: silverrat

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:32 PM

I only use RainX De-icer rated -45c
Posted by: dparm

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Rand
did it freeze while parked or moving?

you have an effect similar to windchill on liquids in the winter.



Both. Went to wash the window before I drove out of the garage and the whole windshield was covered in crystals by the time I exited the garage.
Posted by: renegade_987

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:32 PM

I've got SuperTech winter formula in mine. No freezing at -6 this morning.
Posted by: Rand

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:34 PM

Originally Posted By: dparm
Originally Posted By: Rand
did it freeze while parked or moving?

you have an effect similar to windchill on liquids in the winter.



Both. Went to wash the window before I drove out of the garage and the whole windshield was covered in crystals by the time I exited the garage.


yea I edited my post to make it more booklike.,

basically its due to the small amount of alcohol in the cheap stuff.. combined with the fact that it evaps faster than the water.. leaving water to refreeze on your window.


this link is also fairly correct
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-dri...article6191127/
Posted by: Wilhelm_D

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:40 PM

Originally Posted By: dparm
Anyone else have similar experiences with cheap fluids?

Your experience is SOP.

Alcohol is expensive, water is cheap.

I mix any store bought washer fluid 3 parts fluid to one part denatured alcohol. That eliminates any problems and also makes it more effective in clearing road film.
Posted by: dparm

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Rand




Sounds reasonable. I've noticed it's less of a problem after I've been driving for 15-20 minutes and the interior of the car is warm AND the washer nozzles are hot.
Posted by: Ramblejam

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:44 PM

Originally Posted By: dparm
Anyone else have similar experiences with cheap fluids?


Yep, years ago with the cheap blue stuff...had it ice up going down the road.

Switched over to the yellow Prestone fluid (along with their summer counterpart) and I've never had an issue since. Sure, it's more expensive, but it's an incredibly small price to pay for what it delivers (clear, unobstructed vision).

Posted by: Donald

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:49 PM

Originally Posted By: dparm
After my minor fiasco with the car having fluid only good to +32 F (California car where anything else is illegal), I hastily went to AutoZone and bought a gallon of the pre-mixed store-brand washer fluid. It claimed to be good to -20 F.

I have to call [censored] on it, truthfully. It was about +20 F last night and every time I sprayed it on the window, it would crystallize and ice up with 2 or 3 seconds, making it totally worthless. Mind you this is with heated washer nozzles.

Promptly went out and bought two jugs of purple Splash!-brand -35 F stuff and put it in. Low-and-behold, it did not crystallize or freeze up at all. I'm really questioning if those cheap fluids meet the advertised specs.

Anyone else have similar experiences with cheap fluids?


I will say this much about the cheap WW fluid, its cheap and its blue.

I use one of the de-icer products year round.
Posted by: hattaresguy

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:51 PM

I've never had a problem with the cheap blue stuff.
Posted by: Donald

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 01:58 PM

Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
I've never had a problem with the cheap blue stuff.


Where does your car stay overnight?
Posted by: IndyIan

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 02:08 PM

Originally Posted By: dparm
Originally Posted By: Rand




Sounds reasonable. I've noticed it's less of a problem after I've been driving for 15-20 minutes and the interior of the car is warm AND the washer nozzles are hot.

I think heated nozzles are just to thaw the nozzle as the odd time they freeze up after the car has been sitting as the alcohol evaporates out the line. They might even make the alcohol evaporation problem worse on a very cold day.
Any washer fluid hitting a freezing windshield will leave an ice film in my experience. On my deserted sideroad, 30 seconds at 40mph looking through a clear spot will sublimate all the ice and leave a clear windshield. Maybe not a good idea in a urban drive. Then a few minutes of driving will have the whole windshield above freezing and I can spray all I want with out any freezing. Also I will clean my window when I park the car so I don't have to deal with dirt on a cold windshield. Most days after a quick scrape for frost I don't need to spray any fluid at all until the windshield is up to temp.
Posted by: 99Saturn

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 02:18 PM

I can't remember the last time I have had an issue with the cheap blue stuff - I just use the -20F year round now. 13F right now and no issues on the trip home, it's full of "Super Clean" or something like that from Kmart - saw the same bottles at AAP last week.
Posted by: Rolla07

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 02:32 PM

I like using rain x in all seasons except winter..i use cheap blue stuff in winter.
Posted by: Deltona_Dave

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 02:32 PM

Here in Central Fl, I just use the Green Rain X bug wash. Works good in the "freezing 28 degrees" that we see for 12 hours a month in January. I use it as it gets the bug guts off the windscreen and helps water bead off, so I don't have to use the wipers as much.

D.
Posted by: dparm

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 02:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Deltona_Dave
Here in Central Fl, I just use the Green Rain X bug wash. Works good in the "freezing 28 degrees" that we see for 12 hours a month in January. I use it as it gets the bug guts off the windscreen and helps water bead off, so I don't have to use the wipers as much.

D.


Okay, but as I had previously mentioned, it gets way colder than that where I live.
Posted by: mrsilv04

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 02:58 PM

I'm south of I-80, and I've used nothing but the -20 degree blue stuff (from either W*M or Menards) for several years now.

Two things:

1) I use the -20 stuff year around.
2) I always keep it tightly capped.

No problems here with the blue. I used to buy the -35 purple stuff, but that was years back.

Is is possible that you're still seeing residual effects of the +32 stuff?
Posted by: JDW

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 03:37 PM

I mix mine myself, 50/50

Posted by: SLCraig

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
I've never had a problem with the cheap blue stuff.


I use either the cheap blue stuff or sometimes Rain-X and I can get liquid to my windshield in the coldest of temps with either one. It was -25C recently too.
Posted by: dparm

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 03:39 PM

Originally Posted By: mrsilv04

Is is possible that you're still seeing residual effects of the +32 stuff?



Doubtful -- I ran the reservoir dry before filling with the -20.
Posted by: itguy08

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 03:48 PM

I typically use Rain-X winter in the winter and summer in the summer. It seems to do a good job and not freeze. I hate having a dirty windshield so I use the stuff quite regularly in the winter.

I have had the blue stuff do the ice up routine too. You could also try the Prestone deicer - that should help too.

The only stuff I don't like is whatever the Ford dealer was using last year - it smelled awful as it dried. Solved that by keeping the resivour full. smile

I'm still waiting for someone to do an actual scented washer fluid.
Posted by: Ramblejam

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 03:50 PM

Originally Posted By: itguy08
I'm still waiting for someone to do an actual scented washer fluid.


The Prestone washer fluid (summer) has a citrus scent.
Posted by: DemoFly

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 04:14 PM

Walmart supertech windshield washer fluid is good stuff.

Cleans great, beads the water up and makes it run off the window just like rain-x.

In fact, I purchased rain-x after using supertech and I couldn't tell a difference except for color.
Posted by: fdcg27

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 04:53 PM

I use the winter blends of either Prestone or Rain-X in our cars over the winter.
These never seem to freeze and I'll even use the washers to clear frost and ice from the windshield, although I will brush off more than a trace of snow.
Lazy, I know.
You can buy either on clearance each spring for cheap.
I'm going to try adding drug store alcohol to the cheap blue stuff just to see how that works. I'm sure that I have some in the garage.
Posted by: Corvette Owner

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 05:00 PM

I use Rain-X all seasons. It not only melts snow/frost well, but it also puts a protective coating on the windshield that keeps rain and bugs from sticking to the windshield. In a light rain the rain runs off the windshield without using wipers!
Posted by: AMC

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 06:12 PM

I am currently using the Peak -20 blue fluid with success. It cleans great, dries well and never freezes. I get 6 gallons of it for $10 at Bee Jay's wholesale club. I am pretty sure that price makes it "cheap".

I have also had very good luck with GM Opti-kleen washer fluid but it is expensive, $3 per Gallon
Posted by: 79sunrunner

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/21/14 06:19 PM

My mistake was filling up with washer fluid in Florida and returning to the deathly cold embrace of Illinois. Then the fluid froze. My mistake. I guess Florida service station never have to worry about purchasing cold weather anything.
Posted by: threeputtpar

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/22/14 11:25 AM

I use the orange Rain-X stuff all year long without a problem.

I've seen the Splash! stuff in Menards before, and recently saw some new jugs of it that were clear instead of purple. I've never liked the idea of coloring the fluid, even though it's mainly for leak detection purposes.
Posted by: mclasser

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/22/14 01:09 PM

I've only used the cheap blue stuff for as long as I can remember. Just make sure to pick up the -20 degree blend in the winter and you're golden.
Posted by: hattaresguy

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/22/14 01:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Donald
Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
I've never had a problem with the cheap blue stuff.


Where does your car stay overnight?


In my driveway, this morning it was 1.
Posted by: jeepman3071

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/22/14 01:51 PM

Bought the cheap blue stuff from AutoZone. It froze as soon as it hit the windshield, and I wasn't even moving. Looks like I will be picking up some Prestone or Rain-X.
Posted by: Kestas

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/22/14 02:14 PM

Owners' manuals mention not to use washer fluid on a cold windshield. The windshield must be defrosted for the fluid to work.

If there is any question on the efficacy of the fluid you have in stock, put a small sample in your freezer and leave it overnight. Your freezer should be calibrated to 0F.
Posted by: buck91

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/23/14 12:54 PM

Typically I use the rain-x combo driver/bug remover with good results- never had an issue with it icing up though sometimes the bug remover could be improved. Recently had some good experiences with the purple "splash" brand cleaning well but I do not like how the Preston's deicer fluid leaves streaks and smears.
Posted by: Wilhelm_D

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/23/14 04:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Kestas
Owners' manuals mention not to use washer fluid on a cold windshield. The windshield must be defrosted for the fluid to work.


That really depends. I am on travel in the Midwest with 0 F temperatures and have had no problem at all with cold windshields. I use three parts washer fluid to one part denatured alcohol. A side benefit is that it is murder on road film on the windshield.
Posted by: Bamaro

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/24/14 08:40 AM

Also, the alcohol in the blue stuff will evaporate from your bottle and from the fluid reservoir faster than the water over time and decrease its effectiveness.
Posted by: eljefino

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/24/14 04:29 PM

Just found some slushy "Splash" brand in my garage. Don't remember where I got it. (I stash lots and lots of it from spring clearance sales.)

8% VOC, good to +22'F. Crikey! What's the point? mad

The good news is it's six degrees now at sunset and was below zero this morning. It didn't explode its container, just got slushy. Won't work, but won't break stuff.
Posted by: Shaman

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/24/14 07:41 PM

I've wondered what adding antifreeze to the mix would do, pick up some of the cheap RV antifreeze at walmart and mix it up.
Posted by: cp3

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/28/14 11:53 AM

Petro-Canada is all I've been putting in the cars for the last couple years. Works very well but it isn't cheap.
Posted by: TiredTrucker

Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids - 01/29/14 08:36 AM

In my commercial trucks, the only thing that has stood the test has been the Prestone deicer windshield washer fluid. Any of the other products have frozen in the spray nozzles on the wiper blades. I don't need a problem, herding 80,000 lb of truck thru traffic and not being able to see with all that slush and salt being thrown all over the place. The Prestone is definitely more expensive, but compared to what? Taking out a van full of kids because I couldn't see them?