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Tips to Handle Frozen Windshield Washer Fluid

You rely on a clean, clear windshield to be able to properly see the road while driving, anything less than that is dangerous and can make driving extremely difficult. In the cold winter months drivers prepare their vehicles for just about everything, snowy roads, flurries that make it impossible to see in front of you, it is important to be ready for whatever may occur. One issue that can lead to extremely dangerous situations is if it gets so cold that your windshield wiper fluid or the windshield washer lines actually freeze. Frozen windshield washer fluid is an unusual but sometimes unavoidable issue depending on where you live, so in the event that your windshield wiper fluid is frozen in the cold, here are some easy steps to take to get it taken care of immediately and to stay safe out on the roads.

Antifreeze Coolant

  • Start By Buying High-Grade Fluid– Some companies make windshield wiper fluid that is capable of working up to 20 or 30 degrees below zero without freezing, meaning you do not have to worry about the lines or fluid freezing over. If you live in an area that experiences extreme cold in the winter then this is the easiest, most hassle-free option for you as it will prevent freezing from happening.
  • Don’t Use Hot Water to De-Thaw– One of the most common mistakes to make is to pour hot water over the lines to attempt to unfreeze them. However, the hot water mixed with the cool air and frozen lines can lead to the glass on your windshield completely cracking, which is a much more expensive issue to take care of.
  • Check the Windshield Washing System– Should your windshield washers or fluid freeze over during the winter, it is important that you check the entire windshield washing system for cracks and damages that may have occurred. Freezing can lead to a rupture in the fluid reservoir, it can damage the water pump or damage the nozzles that dispense the fluid or even split the lines. Should freezing cause any of these damages, they can prevent your system from properly working or can cause further damages to other areas of your vehicle as well.
  • Remove the Reservoir Bottle– Depending on the make and model of your vehicle; the easiest way to treat a frozen windshield washer line is the remove the reservoir bottle completely. In some vehicles this is as easy as undoing a few bolts, so if you are able to remove it, you can place it in a bucket and near a heater vent or flush it in hot water to melt all of the ice off.
  • Use a Heating Pad if You Can’t Remove the Bottle– In some vehicles it is extremely hard to remove the reservoir bottle completely so an alternative method to defrost the frozen part is to use a heating pad. Stuffing a heating pad in and around the bottle will help to defrost it immediately, the lower you can stuff the pad the better because the heat will radiate upward. You should be able to operate the washer completely like normal once it is completely defrosted but be sure to only operate them for a few seconds to a minute at a time.
  • Don’t Use Them if You Think The Lines Are Frozen– If you think the lines may have frozen or the fluid itself is frozen, you do not want to operate them at all as this can put severe strain on the entire system and can damage components like the pump itself. Instinct may tell you to try anyways to determine if they are in fact frozen but the damages that can be caused from the strain of trying to operate.

Adding Antifreeze Coolant

A few more words

You expect your windshield wipers to always work, when they don’t properly work then it can make it very difficult and dangerous to drive. In cold, winter months where the temperatures drop substantially your windshield washer lines and fluid could potentially freeze. Knowing what to do in the event that your washer lines freeze and taking the necessary precautions can help avoid the issue altogether and prevent expensive and extensive damages to the entire windshield washer system and other components of your vehicle.