The best windshield washer fluid … is it really that important? Can’t we just use some water from the faucet and be done with it? Surely all we need is something to give it a basic wash? Admittedly, if you were stuck in the deepest darkest jungle of Peru, your windshield covered in mud and bugs, certainly plain old water would be better than nothing, but for the rest of us … why wouldn’t you get the best product for the job?
You see, windshield washer fluid is more than a pleasant fragrance, or just some fluid that washes crud away, it can also help to prevent it returning, soak off and clean up bug splatter, give you clearer vision when driving, perhaps even help to prevent problems with vision when it rains.
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Best Windshield Washer Fluids
I’ve rounded up five great products, some to make up a washer fluid, and some to add to a fluid to give it extra properties. Whatever it is that you’re looking for, I’m sure one of these products will be exactly what you need.
1. Rain-X RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive
As the name suggests, this is an additive to put in ready made (or made up) fluid – it can’t be used in plain water, and has no cold weather abilities, in other words, it isn’t a standalone washer fluid.
One bottle can make up to 4 gallons – advised ratio is 4 fluid ounces to one gallon of fluid, and it’s extremely cost-effective, especially when you consider the benefits, which include excellent water-repelling ability, improved visibility & cleaning, and the prevention of the build up of grime, sleet, snow, ice and bugs.
As anyone who has ever used the Rain-X windshield treatment, it’s an excellent way of improving visibility in the rain, and a liberal dosing with the treated fluid makes a huge difference to clearing the bugs from the screen, once they’ve had a chance to dry out a bit.
2. nextzett 92100815 Kristall Klar
And the award for the strangest name goes to …
This little bottle is a super-concentrated formula to mix up your own washer fluid, one bottle can make up to 12 gallons in total. I like the fact that the bottle includes a little measuring cup at the top – make it so much easier to dose, either straight in to your reservoir or in a container for premixing.
I’d have to say that on the whole, the Nextzett is good – it does exactly what they say it will … reduces wiper judder, leaves a smear-free finish, removes bugs and dirt and it also contains water softeners to help prevent hard-water mineral deposits, but … they say that it’s ‘the only fluid that doesn’t contain toxic methanol’ … perhaps they ought to talk to Aqua Charge.
It’s a handy container, easy to dose, and mixes well, a great car screen wash was ‘developed for leading German car makers’.
3. 303 (230371) Instant Windshield Washer
These are a great idea – 25 tablets, either drop one in the washer fluid reservoir or a container of water, and it mixes easily to form a windshield washer with 3x the power of regular washers. Better still, you could almost label them as ‘eco-friendly’ as there’s no plastic bottle to recycle.
Each tablet makes up to 1 gallon of washer fluid, so they’re very economical, and will last forever – really handy to leave in your trunk or glovebox. My only issue with putting them straight in to the reservoir (and this goes for ALL these products, not just the 303 tablets) is that you may not necessarily know how much fluid is already in there.
4. Aqua Charge Windshield Washer Ultra Concentrate
It’s very blue, and it’s a concentrated dye – if you spill this while mixing it, you will end up with blue floors, hands, car … whatever the fluid touches, even once it’s mixed to the correct ratio.
This is a great cost-effective method of making up your own washer fluid when you use it on an industrial scale – 1 container contains a quart of concentrate, and you can mix up to 55 gallons of fluid, although a slightly weaker mixture will of course see that go even further.
It’s a proprietary formula, methanol free and is great for removing tree sap, squished bugs, bird droppings and regular dirt, all while leaving a streak-free finish and shine.
I’d recommend wearing some gloves when mixing it, or you may just end up looking like a Smurf.
5. Prestone AS657 Bug Windshield Washer
This patented formula has been designed specifically for harder to remove dirt – bugs in particular, although it works well to penetrate all manner of dirt & grime, right down to tree sap and bird poop.
Not only that, but it leaves a barrier which helps to prevent further grime sticking to it, meaning it’s giving better results the next time, and it’s also perfect for repelling water – with excellent water beading qualities.
No mixing involved, it’s ready to use straight from the container, and it’s plenty cheap enough to do just that – if you don’t want the hassle of working out whether your washer reservoir is full or empty, or how diluted everything inside it is, then the Prestone AS657 is the product for you.
For best results, I’d recommend changing your windshield wipers regularly, and choosing a quality windshield wiper for replacement. Team that with any one of these washer fluids and your winter or summer driving will be easier and safer.
If your current windshield wiper blades ‘judder’, ‘shudder’ or ‘chatter’ across the screen, and you haven’t quite got round to replacing them yet, you may be able to revive them enough with a little rubbing alcohol or cider vinegar – soak a cloth and give them a thorough once-over and it will stop it long enough for your next journey or three.