How To Unfreeze Windshield Washer Fluid

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By Andy Pasquesi

Even if you successfully scrape all of the ice off your windshield and have your defogger running at full-blast, you still need a fully functioning washer to clean away all the salty slush that will inevitably get splattered onto your windshield. Because washer fluid is water based, it expands when it freezes, possibly cracking the reservoir. To thaw frozen washer fluid in your vehicle's reservoir, you'll need a combination of chemicals and patience.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Place a sealed bottle of methanol-based windshield washer fluid in the bucket.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Place the bucket underneath the faucet of a 2-foot-deep sink. Alternately, you could use your bathtub.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Run hot water (no more than about 105 degrees F) into the bucket, allowing water to continuously overflow out of the bucket and empty into the sink drain below. Basically, this increases the rate of heat transfer.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Stop the water and remove the bottle after seven minutes.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Open the hood of your car.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Remove the cap from the windshield washer fluid reservoir.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Open the bottle of heated windshield washer fluid.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Pour as much of the heated fluid as will fit into the reservoir. Let the fluid sit for seven to 10 minutes.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Place the inlet tube of the siphon pump into the reservoir and manually pump as much newly-melted liquid as possible into an empty paint can (which should be placed on the ground next to the car).

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Repeat Steps 8 and 9 until the frozen water in the reservoir thaws completely. If you run out of heated fluid before all of the ice has thawed, repeat Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 to heat a new bottle.

Mute the speaker Listen to this using a male or female voice M/F Fill the reservoir entirely with Prestone De-Icer or other methanol-based windshield washer fluid to prevent future freeze-ups.

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