Close your eyes for a moment and picture yourself cruising through 6 lanes of traffic at over 60 mph, more than 88 ft per second. Now picture looking through a windshield smeared with bugs or the spray of a hundred semi’s. Not pleasant is it? A little bit scary, right? Welcome to the importance of washer fluid.
Not the first thing you might think of when maintaining your vehicle, but it can be the difference between safe and ???. You get the point. The ability to clear the windshield is critical, and the wipers will not do it alone.
Most would think of washer fluid as that jug of blue liquid in the C-store for a buck a bottle. The main ingredient is methanol and it works to break up bug residue on the windshield. The one challenge with the cheap blue stuff is that methanol will freeze solid below 32°. For cold weather you will need a combination of methanol and ethylene glycol (anti-freeze). This washer fluid may be blue, or green or some other color. It will cost more, but when the weather gets cold, it will continue to be liquid. Some of the winter fluids will also contain a de-icer to help clear the windshield of frost. Always check the label on the jug to know the freeze-point.
If you choose to use the summer version in the warm weather and then transition to the winter fluid, you will need to completely empty the system and clear the lines before adding the new fluid. A better approach is to use a fluid that is rated to -20° or so all year long. In that case you will be prepared when the cold weather happens. At 88 ft. per second, just hit the washer control, and enjoy the view!