Driving can be a lot of fun as long as you can see. When you can’t see good it’s not only stressful but it can be dangerous. That’s why car manufacturers build reservoirs into vehicles to squirt water on the windshield when it gets dirty or it gets too many dead bugs on it. Over time people wanted more than just plain water in those windshield reservoir tanks and of course, manufacturers seeing an opportunity for sales obliged. Nowadays you can find windshield washer fluid that does everything from helping to clean stubborn dirt to repelling rainwater so you can see better during stormy weather. That’s why people are willing to spend extra money to buy the best windshield washer fluid brands.
In order to purchase one of the top windshield washer fluid products, you will have to know what to look for in them. That is where this article will come in handy. It will teach what the characteristics are of the most helpful windshield washer fluid brands. In it, you will also find a series of windshield washer fluid reviews on the best products that are available in the auto marketplace.
Best Windshield Washer Fluid Reviews
Here is what we feel are the best windshield washer fluids for the money.
1. Prestone AS657 Bug Wash Windshield Washer Fluid
This company is known for making a wide variety of quality car fluid products. This is a windshield washer fluid from Prestone that keeps with that tradition. Not only does it do a good job keeping your windshield clean but it also helps prevent bug and other residues from sticking to your windshield. It even has several detergent properties that help get your windshield sparkling clean just by using the wipers. It’s also a streak-free product that nicely repels water as you drive about in the rain.
It’s a stand-alone product that does not require any water to be mixed into it. This also comes in a one-gallon size which is usually enough to fill a standard car windshield fluid reservoir several times. This particular windshield washer fluid is not recommended for winter use. That’s because it does not have any anti-ice additives such as glycol in it.
2. Rain-X White RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive
This is a well-known manufacturer of products that helps water bead on windshields. They often work so well that a driver does not even need to turn their windshield wipers on to see when it’s raining. This product has all of these same characteristics. It’s not a stand-alone product but an additive that is mixed with other types of windshield washer fluids. Don’t be fooled by its smaller 16.9-ounce size either. This product can be mixed with up to 4-gallons of regular windshield washer fluid.
It’s a product that gets high marks from those that use it despite the fact that it’s a somewhat one-dimensional product. This Prestone Washer Fluid additive does, however, make windshields easier to clean with the protective barrier it forms on them. It can also be used in the winter if it’s mixed with a regular windshield washing fluid that has anti-freeze properties. The easy resealable bottle it comes in makes using it over and over again very convenient.
3. Nextzett 92100815 Kristall Klar Washer Fluid 1:200 Concentrate
Here is a very powerful windshield washer fluid concentrate. This small 8.5-ounce bottle, when mixed with water, makes 12 gallons of windshield washer fluid. It also will help get off heavy-duty windshield residues such as splattered bugs and road grime. The windshield fluid/cleaner also does its job without smearing and causing glare. It even has properties that will soften the water it’s added to. This helps prevent spray jets and other windshield washer components from being clogged with mineral deposits.
Another nice quality of this windshield washer fluid is the fact that its formula is ammonia-free and 100% biodegradable. Its formulation also will not harm windshield wiper sensors as some windshield washer fluids are known to do. It even has a very nice citrus scent that will come into the car from the air vents if they are open. This product is also safe to clean plastic headlights covers with.
4. 303 (230371) Instant Windshield Washer Tablets
Here is a very interesting windshield washer concept from 303 Products. Instead of using a concentrate, they have come up with easy to mix windshield washer fluid in a tablet form. All it takes is a single tablet added to water to make up to 1-gallon of windshield washer fluid. The tablet form it comes in makes it easy to store and take on the go with you. It’s a super-concentrated mix that helps clean road grime and bug residue off of even the dirtiest windshields.
These tablets once mixed are completely safe to use around plastic, rubber and all types of car paint finish. It’s also safe to store in homes with children because it’s a completely non-toxic formula. This is also a very environmentally friendly windshield washer fluid option. That’s because it is not packaged in big plastic containers that are extremely difficult to dispose of.
5. BMW Windshield Washer Concentrate
Here is a windshield washer concentrate that is actually considered to be an OEM approved product. That’s because it’s made to the specifications that BMW requires to be used on its cars. It makes windshield washer fluid that is completely streak-free as it works. This product also helps to loosen up any bug residue or other road grime that has accumulated on your windshield.
One other thing to note about this product is that it’s safe for winter use. You just have to alter the amount of concentrate that you mix with water. Adding 8 ounces of concentrate to 12 ounces of water will protect you up to minus 25-degrees. You do have to be careful not to spill this product in concentrated form on a hot car exhaust manifold. That’s because as the manufacturer states it is flammable. You also do not want to store it in your car in the concentrated form.
6. Qwix Mix Biodegradable Windshield Washer Fluid Concentrate
Here is 8-ounces of super-concentrated windshield washing fluid mix. Just this one container makes up to 32 gallons of window washing fluid. Qwix Mix designed its product this way to help save on shipping costs. It also makes it very easy to store in your vehicle so you can add it to your windshield washer reservoir anytime you need it. This is also a powerful formula that will help eliminate bug juice and road dirt and grime from any windshield.
Qwix Mix also says that this windshield washer concentrate uses a completely streak-free formula. It’s also designed to be an environmentally responsible product as its 100% biodegradable. This windshield washer concentrate is not suitable for winter use without combining it with other manufacturer approved additives. The company says if you do not love this product, they will buy it back from you no questions asked. That’s a pretty powerful statement about the confidence this manufacturer has in this product.
What is a Windshield Washer Fluid?
As you are driving around in your car, you will certainly notice that your windshield never stays totally clean. There is mud and dirt thrown up on it by other cars and Mother Nature adds bird poo, pollen and windshield grime into the mix too. Eventually, when enough grime and residue build-up on your windshield, it will be tough to see. This can create some very dangerous driving conditions. This is especially true at night when windshield residue sometimes causes glare.
It would be pretty inconvenient to stop and clean the windshield yourself all of the time. When auto manufacturers realized there was a problem here, they started to install systems in cars that sprayed water onto the windshield. There were some major drawbacks to using water in these systems, so eventually, windshield washer fluids were developed.
All windshield washer fluids are not the same. They come in different size containers, shapes, and perform differently. The one constant with windshield washer fluids is that they are better to use in your car than straight water. Most have properties that do such things as keep them from freezing, repel water or act as residue loosening detergent. The theory behind windshield washer fluid is they clean aid for the windshield with an assist from the windshield wipers. You don’t have to stop and get out of your call all the time to clean your windshield.
Windshield Washer Fluid Buying Guide
Use this buying guide to help you find the perfect windshield washer fluid for your individual needs.
4 Main Considerations When Buying Windshield Washer Fluid
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you start your windshield washer fluid shopping. They will help you narrow down your search so it becomes easier.
How much windshield washer fluid do you go through?
You will notice as you start shopping that there are all different size containers of pre-mixed liquid windshield washing fluid. You also will have options such as additives and tablets that will make varying amounts of windshield washer fluid. So you will have to decide which brand of windshield washer fluid you buy based on the quantity that you expect to go through in a certain timeframe.
Will you carry it in your vehicle or just add it at home?
This is an important question to ask yourself when windshield washer fluid shopping for many reasons. The first is that if you are going to carry your windshield washer fluid in your trunk, it is either going to have to be mixed already or be in a form where you can add water to your windshield washer reservoir. Then you will have to add the windshield washer additive or tablets directly to the water in the windshield fluid reservoir. You also can’t carry around winter use windshield washer fluids in your car. That’s because it has added glycol and that’s a flammable mixture which is dangerous to have stored in your car.
What time of year will you be using your new windshield washing fluid?
Not all windshield washer fluids can be used all year round. Some of them will freeze if the weather gets cold enough. So if you live in an area where it gets cold enough to snow, you will have to make sure that you have windshield washer fluid that will not freeze up when the temperature goes below 32 degrees. Your washer fluid be useless if its frozen and it can expand and damage the windshield washer fluid system.
Do windshield wipers bother you when they are on and working?
This may seem like a strange question to ask but it’s really not. That’s because some types of windshield washer fluid have water beading properties. That means that when coated with this type of windshield washer fluid additive, water tends to just blow right off. Many of these work so well you don’t even have to use the wipers when it’s raining.
A List of the Most Important Windshield Washer Fluid Features and Specs
Here are some of the main characteristics of windshield washer fluid to consider when shopping for it:
It’s been mentioned a few times so far in this article that there are many types of windshield washer fluids. Many are not even actual stand-alone products but additives that you mix with water or regular windshield washer fluid. Here are the different types of windshield washer products:
This is a concentrated liquid that you need to add water too in order to make a batch of windshield washer fluid. There are a lot of different ways that this type of windshield washer fluid is made to work too. Sometimes even the smallest bottles of windshield washer concentrate can make several gallons of the product when mixed with water.
This is the easiest way to but windshield washer fluid. This is pre-mixed product that is 100% ready for use. Nothing has to be done before you add it into the reservoir in your windshield washer system.
This differs from concentrate in that it’s not added int water but instead is added into generic types of windshield washer fluid. It is made to enhance the capabilities of these generic windshield washer fluid products. Additives do things such as increase a windshield washer fluids ability to dissolve grime or repel water.
These can be very handy to have on hand. They are tablets that are made to dissolve once they are immersed in water. This form makes it very easy to store and conveniently take these everywhere with you in your vehicle. Just a single tablet usually makes up to 1-gallon of windshield washer fluid.
Container Size/Quantity Made
You also have to be aware of how much windshield washer fluid a particular product makes and looks cab be deceiving here. For instance, a small package of 10 tablets can be used to make over 10 gallons of windshield washer fluid. The same goes for concentrates. So bigger is not always better when it comes to windshield washer fluid purchases.
There are some brands of windshield washer fluid that leave a layer on the windshield that repels water. Even in water from the hardest rain still beads up on the windshield nicely when these products are used. The best thing about them is some work so well you do not have to use the windshield wipers when it rains. This is a great windshield washer fluid characteristic for those that get annoyed when driving with the windshield wipers on.
It gets really hard to see out of any windshield when residue builds up on it. Air pollution, splattered bugs, and road dirt all contribute to this. That’s why it helps if your windshield washer fluid has properties that keep road grime from sticking to your windshield. So check the ingredients of any windshield washer fluid you are buying to see if it has this quality.
You have probably had a time when you sprayed washer fluid on your windshield and it did not help. That’s because sometimes the residue on your windshield is not easy to get off. That’s when it helps if your new windshield washer fluid has some detergent properties to it. If it does, the windshield washer fluid will actually loosen or dissolve the dirt on the windshield. This will allow your windshield wipers to be more effective when they are operating.
No matter how many ingredients there are in your windshield washing fluid, it does not matter if it leaves streaks. Streaks are very annoying because they can make it more difficult to see and contribute to glare also. Some windshield washer fluids have alcohol-based derivatives in them that allow them to dry very quickly once applied. This helps to eliminate any streaks being left behind after the windshield wipers are turned off.
Winter Use Permissible
One of the biggest concerns with windshield washing fluid is that it may freeze. So you have to be aware if your washer fluid is winter compatible or not. The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough. That’s because if your windshield washer fluid freezes it will not spray and can damage the windshield fluid system also. You may have to even use different windshield washer fluids at different times of year.
Environmentally Responsible Product
If you enjoy having a little greener living style, they do make environmentally friendly washer fluids. You must be warned that not all windshield washer fluids are like this. Make sure you read the package to see if your new windshield washer fluid is biodegradable or non-toxic. It will say it right on the package if it is.
Ease of Use
As you have noticed while reading, not all windshield washer fluids come ready to use. Some have to be mixed with water or other more generic types of windshield washer fluid. The effort you are willing to put into getting your windshield washer fluid ready is something to consider when shopping.
There are some manufacturers of certain makes of cars that will not honor the warranty on them if OEM products are not used in them. OEM products are products such as windshield washer fluid that are approved for use in a particular make vehicle. Often, it’s the case where the auto manufacturer makes the product themselves or has it made to strict standards. Most brands of windshield washer fluids labeled as an OEM product will say on the label. That label will go as far as identifying which vehicles that particular windshield washer fluid is approved for use in.
Headlight Cleaning/Other Uses
Sometimes all you need to do is put a little windshield washing fluid on your headlights to help clean them. This is one of the many extra uses for windshield cleaning fluid. Some can also be used to help melt ice that has accumulated on your windshield overnight. So check and become familiar with the extra uses that any windshield cleaning fluid you are thinking about buying has. Don’t forget to take a look at our headlight restoration kit buying guide if your headlights are severely scratched.
Just like you saw when reading our car wax reviews, there are some manufacturers that have so much confidence that you will like their window washer fluid they guarantee it. That’s a nice peace of mind to have especially when buying a product for the very first time. So look for windshield washer fluids that comes with a money-back guarantee. Even better yet if it’s a no questions asked guarantee.
Does It Matter What I Use for Windshield Wiper Fluid?
Picking the right windshield washer fluid is like choosing a car air freshener because not everyone likes the same type. That’s why it takes some research on your part to make the right windshield washer fluid choice. Also, your manufacturer may want you to use an OEM washer fluid in your vehicle in order to keep your warranty valid. There are also windshield washer fluids for seasonal use and windshield washer fluids that have special properties. So it most cases it definitely does matter what type of windshield washer fluid you use. Considering the many characteristics of windshield washer fluids should go into making the fluid choice that’s right for you.
Windshield Washer Fluid Versus Plain Water
Here are the pros of using water versus windshield washer fluid to help clean your windshield and vice versa:
– Water is abundant and very inexpensive
– Extra supplies of water store very conveniently and safely in your vehicle
– There is no mixing involved
Windshield Washer Fluid
– It has additives that help loosen dirt on the windshield
– Many types of it do not freeze as quickly as water does
– Some types actually repel rain so well you don’t have to use your windshield wipers as you drive
– Windshield washer fluids have additives that help loosen dirt and grime from a windshield so it stays clearer.
– Water can promote early rusting and parts breakdown of the windshield washer fluid system; most windshield washer fluids are more compatible with your car’s fluid application system.
– Tablet and concentrates of windshield washer fluid or easier to carry around with you and store than jugs of water.
Benefits of Using a Windshield Washer Fluid
There are reasons why people choose to spend money on windshield washer fluids instead of using free water. Here are some of them:
- It is filtered and mineral-free unlike most tap water. It won’t gunk up your windshield washer fluid system.
- Some windshield washer fluids do not freeze in winter weather like water will.
- There are additives in most windshield washer fluids that give them specific windshield cleaning abilities. This includes detergents to loosen dirt, protective layers of film that keep dirt from sticking, and water beading capability.
- Most are very easy to mix and fill to get the many benefits from them.
- It is a very inexpensive product for the many benefits that you get from it.
- Many windshield washer fluid types are environmentally friendly.
- Some add a layer of protection over your windshield.
- It will help your windshield wipers stay clean and last longer too.
Maintaining Your Washer Fluid
How to Add Windshield Washer Fluid in 4 Steps
Most people think that adding windshield washer fluid to your vehicle is a no brainer but that is actually not true. That’s because it takes a little thought process to get it right. Get it wrong and it can not only lead to vision problems while driving but have other consequences too. We also don’t ever recommend the use of water because of reasons that were mentioned several times throughout this article.
Here are the steps we recommend for adding windshield washer fluid to your vehicle:
Most people will empty their windshield washer fluid reservoir in about 2 months’ time. So before you refill your window cleaner fluid reservoir, consider what time of year it is. You don’t want to add a type of windshield fluid that will freeze if you are expecting severely cold weather in the next 2 months.
If you are using premixed windshield washer fluid then you just need to pour it in your reservoir. If you are using a windshield cleaning fluid that has to be mixed do so very carefully according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Now it’s time to add the fluid to your windshield washer fluid reservoir. Make sure you identify the right opaque plastic reservoir for this. There are several on your vehicle. Usually, they will have a black or blue cap with a symbol of a windshield and spray on it. Some may even just say ‘windshield washer fluid’. Before you start pouring it in the reservoir, lay down a rag to protect engine components from getting wet. Look for a line on the side of the reservoir that marks how high it can be filled. Once you have filled it, put the cap securely back in place. This is important because your car uses a vacuum system to pump the windshield washer fluid onto the windshield. A loose windshield washer fluid reservoir cap may cause this system not to function.
Clean up any windshield washer fluid that you spilled in the engine area on your car’s finish. That’s because some windshield cleaner fluids have properties than can be corrosive in certain situations. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
How to Keep Windshield Washer Fluid from Freezing?
As was mentioned, not all windshield washer fluids can be used safely during the colder months. More specifically, those months of the year where it gets below freezing near you. Then you will need to make sure that you have a type of windshield washer fluid that does not freeze.
There are two ways to go about this.
- Buy a type of windshield washer fluid that states it can be used in sub-freezing temperatures.
- You can also add glycol to your favorite windshield washer mix. Glycol is an alcohol-based substance with an extremely low freezing point. Before you can do this, you will have to make sure that the manufacturer of your particular windshield washer fluid says this is ok. That’s to make sure that the glycol will not react with any other substance in your windshield washer fluid. Add the glycol according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Only use glycol that is purchased from an auto supply carrier.
FAQs and Answers
Here are some of the questions that we get asked very often about windshield washer fluid:
- Question: Can all windshield washer fluids be used during the winter months?
Answer: This is a very important question so thank you for answering it. The answer is an emphatic no. That’s because not every type of windshield washing fluid has antifreeze properties. When winter driving, dirt and road salt often start to accumulate on your windshield and it gets tough to see. This can be very dangerous. And if you have windshield fluid without antifreeze properties, it may freeze. So when you go to spray it on your windshield to help you see nothing may happen. That’s why it’s so important to use windshield washer fluids that are made for winter use. It’s also possible to add glycol to your favorite windshield washer fluid to help keep it from freezing. Just check with your windshield washer fluid manufacturer to see if this is ok before doing it.
- Question: Which is better premixed or windshield washer fluid you have to mix yourself?
Answer: First off, this is a very hard question to answer. That’s because it’s like saying which is better $1 or 100 pennies because they both are fairly similar. Most every type of windshield washer fluid offers several benefits when using it. There is also such a big variety of them in the marketplace. Premix windshield wiper fluid obviously offers convenience and most of these won’t freeze either. The drawback to them is they are harder to store and carry. Mixable windshield washer fluid is a little inconvenient because it has to be mixed properly. On the other hand, it’s very easy to store and take with you. So much of the answer to this question comes down to personal preference.
- Question: Should I use OEM approved windshield washer fluid in my vehicle. I have heard conflicting reports on this.
Answer: To be truthful, much of the time a car manufacturer wants you to use OEM products is because they get money from them. The problem is if you don’t use them it made void the manufacturers warranty on your car. This is not something you ever want to play around with. So if that’s the case use the OEM approved windshield cleaning fluid. If your warranty is up, we don’t see any reason why you can’t use another type of windshield washing fluid.
- Why are VOCs in Automotive Windshield Washer Fluid Regulated in California?
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Without a doubt, windshield washer fluid is a much better alternative than using water to spray on your windshield. It just has so many benefits that help keep your windshield clean and streak-free. Even better when it causes rainwater to bead up so you can see without running your windshield wipers. The list of benefits that the best windshield washer fluid gives you just goes on and on. That’s why so many people are willing to spend money on this type of car fluid. It helps with the important task of keeping you able to see clearly out of your vehicle windshield.
We hope you follow the advice we gave you in this article. If you consider what was in the buying guide it will definitely help you find a good windshield washer fluid. There are so many different types of windshield washer fluids available it will also help narrow down your search. And don’t forget, any product included in our windshield washer fluid reviews is a great buy. So go get the windshield washer fluid for your needs so you can keep seeing clearly as you drive even under bad conditions.