Why You Should Use Windscreen Washer Fluid
Driving with a clean, smudge-free windscreen is essential for road safety. Having a clear view of the road and vehicles ahead of you makes it easier to spot and react to hazards, and it is particularly important when driving at night when visibility is naturally reduced. Washing your car regularly helps ensure your windscreen is clean most of the time, but it is difficult to avoid bird droppings, bugs, and other dirt from spoiling your windscreen when driving.
Which is why having your windscreen washer fluid properly topped up at all times is important. If some dirt lands on your windscreen while driving, you won’t always be in a position to pull over safely to clean it, so will need to rely on your windscreen wipers and washer fluid to help clear most of it away. Using windscreen wipers on dry glass is never recommended since it will just make things worse, and in some instances even damage the windscreen.
What Windscreen Washer Fluid Is Right for Me?
Windscreen washer fluids are either sold as pre-mixed solutions that you use exclusively in your washer fluid system, or as concentrates or additives that you add or dilute with water. First check your vehicle’s owner manual to ensure the manufacturer doesn’t recommend a specific solution, and if not, either type of washer fluid can be used. Also always read the instructions printed on the washer fluid to avoid damage to your car, or injury to yourself. Most washer fluids contain chemicals that can be harmful if not used properly, while additives and concentrates typically need to be diluted with distilled water and not regular tap water.
Can’t I Use a Homemade Solution or Plain Water?
There is no shortage of recipes for homemade windscreen washer solutions one can find on the internet, but these – and plain water – should always be used with caution. The chemicals used in professional windscreen washer fluids can be harmful in some situations, but they also serve a very important purpose. They not only help dissolve grease and other types of stubborn dirt that might build up on your windscreen, but they are also designed for all weather conditions. If you live in an area that is exposed to freezing winter temperatures, the risk with using plain water or a homemade solution is that it could freeze and damage your washer fluid system, resulting in very expensive repairs being necessary.
Some homemade solutions use vinegar, which is not recommended for extremely cold weather, but also not for very hot environments where the vinegar will start to give off a sharp, unpleasant smell. If you do decide to make your own solution you should always test it out at home to ensure it is effective and doesn’t end up leaving streaks. And you should also be aware that there is a risk of your homemade solution damaging the system since it may include ingredients the system cannot handle. Distilled water on its own can work in some environments, particularly if you never have to worry about stubborn, caked-in dirt, but should always be avoided in cold locations.