What to do if your windshield Washer Fluid is Frozen

windshield washer fluid is frozenWith the winter months almost over you may have completely forgotten that your windshield washer fluid froze this winter.  If the temperature stays cold in your area of the country it may have stayed frozen for months this time.  Even if you live in a warmer climate, usually once a frozen reservoir thaws it won’t work quite right.

If your windshield washer fluid is frozen, or has frozen over the winter, it is important to check the integrity of your windshield washing system to make sure it is operating properly.  Just like a full water bottle to freeze can rupture the water bottle, allowing your windshield washing system to freeze can rupture the fluid reservoir, damage the pump, split the lines or damage the nozzles.  These damaged components can prevent your system from working properly and can end up causing other problems as well.

Start by checking your windshield washer fluid reservoir for cracks or leaks.  Sometimes the easiest way to do this is by adding new windshield washer fluid slowly and checking for drips.  If your windshield washer fluid reservoir is in an area where it is difficult to check for leaks, at least make sure there is a clear path to the ground by checking for any plastic shielding under the reservoir so you can spot leaks quickly.

washer fluid reservoirIf you find a leak, your only option is to replace your windshield washer fluid reservoir.  If you get the reservoir filled up all the way without any leaks, you can move on to inspecting the rest of the system.  This is most easily done with a partner.  Have your helper jump in the driver’s seat and turn the key to the “on” position without starting the car.  Then, have them engage the windshield washers in short bursts.  This will allow you to listen for the windshield washer fluid pump running.  In most cases, if your windshield washer fluid pump has frozen the damage will be catastrophic so if the pump motor is still running then most likely the pump is functioning properly.  Similarly, if your windshield washer pump isn’t running, your only option is to replace the pump.

Lastly, you can check the lines that carry the washer fluid from the pump to the outlet nozzles on your hood or your wipers.  Much of these lines can be hidden under fenders or other equipment and even if you can find them often cracks or holes can hide in the rubber so the best method for discovering a leak can be simply running the washer fluid pump for an extended time and watching for drips.  Have your partner engage your windshield washer system for 15-30 seconds and watch around the reservoir, in the engine bay, and around your windshield wipers.  If you don’t immediately see any leaks you can also use this time to check for proper spray pattern from your windshield wiper nozzles.  The nozzles should evenly spray windshield washer fluid onto your windshield in the areas that your wipers cover.  If you find a leaking section of hose, simply cut out the broken section and replace it with the same size hose.  Washer fluid hose sections and connectors are easily available at your local auto parts stores.

Once you’ve got your windshield washer fluid system back to operating normally, use BlueDevil Washer Concentrate to refill your reservoir.  BlueDevil Washer Concentrate can be mixed to any strength needed for the temperatures you expect in your area to offer freeze protection and an industrial strength windshield cleaner that is safe for your car.

For more information about BlueDevil Washer Concentrate, visit our product information page here: Washer Concentrate

You can purchase BlueDevil Washer Concentrate at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • CarQuest Auto parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Fast Track
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
  • S&E Quick Lube Distributer
  • DYK Automotive

 

Pictures Provided By:

windshield_washer_fluid.jpg – by Ritter75 – Licensed by Thinkstock Photos – Original Link
washer_fluid_reservoir.jpg – by Phantom 1311 – Licensed by Thinkstock Photos – Original Link

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13 responses to “What to do if your windshield Washer Fluid is Frozen

  1. Temperature affects liquids and hence special care needs to be taken for windshield washer fluids in winters. If you take care of it properly, you will not face any issues.

    1. I bought a big jug of that Dollar Tree crap, apparently it doesn’t have alcohol in it because all my vehicles reservoirs froze! My Dodge Reservoir is currently thawing, because it reached above freezing, but I just hope it’s not cracked! Because when I picked up the jug this morning and looked at it, the entire thing was solid

  2. This post Does not explain how to unfreeze a frozen winsheild resivoir or tricks to use if you cant get it in a heated garage. how can i pour blue devil in when there is no room?

    1. Jim-

      To drain the windshield washer reservoir, you could place pliers on the hose at the bottom of the reservoir and pull the hose straight down and off. Some models have a metal clip to squeeze with the pliers or a metal hose clamp to loosen with a flat screwdriver to pull the hose off. The contents of the reservoir will drain out the bottom. After reconnecting the hose, you could simply add the diluted mixture of the BlueDevil Windshield Washer Concentrate into the reservoir.

      Thank you!

      -BDP

      1. This still did not answer Jim’s question. “If the reservoir is frozen solid, what should I do?” You can take it to your dealership or a mechanic of course, but one solution is to get extension cords and use a hairdryer to slowly melt it, will take some time, but should work.

        1. Thank you for finally answering how to thaw frozen fluid. I will try the hairdryer when I get home. I had to pull off the highway when I could not see out my window any longer.

      1. Hadn’t thought of that (and didn’t think it would be easy to do in this weather), but if my husband can remove it then I could immerse it in a sink full of hot water in the laundry room to speed the process.

  3. I had to take a pitcher of hot water and pour it on the reservoir bottle and then when it defrosted I ran out the fluid and put new fluid in. I bought the -35F washer fluid and mixed it with RV anti- freeze and Heet. I think the washer fluid formula changed for some reason lately. Probably the epa got involved and made us suffer.

    1. You have to be more vigilant these days. I saw windshield washer fluid at Walmart that boasted ‘Freeze protection to +32 degrees’ in bold text on the bottle. Let that sink in.

      To unfreeze a system without using heat pour Isoprophyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in the tank. Just letting the engine idle may create enough heat to thaw the system. Driving is no good because then you’re forcing cold air under the hood which is how it got froze in the first place.

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