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#3255104 - 01/21/14 01:23 PM The cheap windshield washer fluids
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 13431
Loc: Chicago, IL
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?
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#3255111 - 01/21/14 01:27 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 12082
Loc: NE,Ohio
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.
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#3255114 - 01/21/14 01:28 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
Kira Online   content


Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 4063
Loc: Champlain/Hudson Valley
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

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#3255116 - 01/21/14 01:28 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
ronbo Offline


Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 800
Loc: western ny, usa
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.


Edited by ronbo (01/21/14 01:30 PM)

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#3255119 - 01/21/14 01:30 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
addyguy Offline


Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 14161
Loc: Canada
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.
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#3255123 - 01/21/14 01:32 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
silverrat Online   content


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 1555
Loc: Ontario
I only use RainX De-icer rated -45c
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#3255124 - 01/21/14 01:32 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: Rand]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 13431
Loc: Chicago, IL
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.
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#3255125 - 01/21/14 01:32 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
renegade_987 Offline


Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 1560
Loc: Ankeny, IA
I've got SuperTech winter formula in mine. No freezing at -6 this morning.
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#3255128 - 01/21/14 01:34 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 12082
Loc: NE,Ohio
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/


Edited by Rand (01/21/14 01:38 PM)
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#3255136 - 01/21/14 01:40 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
Wilhelm_D Offline


Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 818
Loc: Tacoma, WA
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.

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#3255140 - 01/21/14 01:43 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: Rand]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 13431
Loc: Chicago, IL
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.
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#3255143 - 01/21/14 01:44 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
Ramblejam Offline


Registered: 11/05/13
Posts: 3152
Loc: Kentucky
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).


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#3255150 - 01/21/14 01:49 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 19519
Loc: Upstate NY
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.
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#3255154 - 01/21/14 01:51 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: dparm]
hattaresguy Offline


Registered: 06/01/11
Posts: 7180
Loc: CT
I've never had a problem with the cheap blue stuff.

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#3255158 - 01/21/14 01:58 PM Re: The cheap windshield washer fluids [Re: hattaresguy]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 19519
Loc: Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
I've never had a problem with the cheap blue stuff.


Where does your car stay overnight?
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