Can I Use Water Instead of Windshield Washer Fluid?

Windshield washer fluid has a purpose, and the purpose is to remove those stuck on bugs from the windshield of the car. But, can water be used instead of the windshield washer fluid? Will it be effective?


Let’s check out the following information on windshield washer fluid versus water.

Windshield Washer Fluid

First, windshield washer fluid is a solvent comprised of detergent and antifreeze agents. The engine of cars and trucks have a special reservoir for the fluid, and a pump disburses the fluid onto the windshield so the windshield wipers can quickly clean the window. The fluid can also be sprayed directly onto the windshield to clean the windshield with a clean cloth.

Windshield washer fluid varies in ingredients such as some may use methylated spirits as an antifreeze agent, which prevents freezing of the fluid in the winter. When shopping for windshield wiper fluid you’ll find that some are sold as “All-Season” formula while some may be advertised as “Bug and Tar Remover.”

There are also fluids on the market that require water is added, and some that may be a powder formulation that is mixed with water to form the solution. When the need to add water to the formula is necessary, it is recommended that distilled water is recommended to mix the solution because minerals are found in tap water and can cause the washer jets to clog as well as leave deposits on the windshield glass.

The debate between fluid & water

There have been debates as to the safe use of washer fluid as it does contain chemicals. While the chemicals are used in the solution to eliminate freezing of the fluid, the chemicals are harmful when inhaled. With all the debates over the concerns of the chemical used in windshield washer fluid, manufacturers of the products are manufacturing the fluid with less toxic isopropanol alcohol to still be effective against winter freezing of the fluid. You may hear some groups or consumers concerned about the effects of the solvents and antifreeze products on the finish of the car, concerned that damage to the chrome and paint as well as corrosion may be an issue. There are concerns to be had, which is the reason many drivers are asking if they can use water opposed to washer fluid in their cars.

Water is being used instead of windshield washer fluid by some drivers. Drivers in warmer region choose to use water. The pros are you are being eco-friendly with a non-chemical solution for your washer fluid. Drivers also save cost and reduce pollution. The downfall is that if the system freezes, car owners can be faced with hundreds of dollars of damage, and this can occur in freezing temperatures when water is being used as the washer fluid. As a word of advice, if you leave in a cold climate then you should not consider water over windshield washer fluid. And, even then you might want to consider windshield washer as if temperatures do freeze, you know that your car is protected from possible damage costing hundreds to thousands of dollars.

With all cars, always read the owner’s manual for the car as it will provide the best care and maintenance, including specs of the vehicle to keep the car at its top performance. Following the guidelines will save in expense in the long run as they are recommendations to keep your car in top shape.

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