Crummy Windshield Wiper Fluid for Winter... -
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Unread 01-04-2012, 10:56 PM   #1
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2009 MK Compass 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 62
Crummy Windshield Wiper Fluid for Winter...

I was recently doing a long drive through temperatures ranging between 9-13˚F. The roads were heavily salted and still bore large bouts of dirty snow. My Compass looks like it was repainted gray thanks to the stuff.

As I'm driving along, I periodically need to clear the windows. At first I'm having no problems, and then suddenly, nothing is coming out. I start worrying that maybe I ran out of fluid, but nope, I'm still getting fluid when I try to wash the rear. I try again a while later, and a stream comes out of the passenger-side wash jet, but not the driver side. It'll do. A while later, it's not working, either. I notice that I've created some blue ice around the edges of my window - presumably from the fluid. The back window jet eventually stops, too, although I can hear the whirring of the pump (or what ever it is) when I try to activate it or the front jets. When I hit a city and some traffic, after idling for a while, both front jets were working fine again. Hmm...

I haven't refilled the windshield wiper fluid on the Compass. I recently had an oil change, and the fluid levels were pretty high - do the dealerships refill your washer fluid for you? If so, that was pretty poor of my dealership to use a non-winter mix. I've never experienced an issue like that before. The temperatures rose back up to the 20's today and everything seemed to be working fine...

Has anyone experienced anything like this before? I'm considering draining all of the washer fluid that's currently in my reservoir and filling it with my own, which is rated to -20˚F. Although honestly, given this experience, I'm wondering if I shouldn't go for one of the orange fluids that are rated for even colder... driving with a dirty windshield is no joke.

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Unread 01-04-2012, 11:34 PM   #2
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2011 MK Patriot 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newfoundland, Center of the Universe
Posts: 882
Consider yourself lucky you even have tge option for winter fluid. Here in California it's illegal. They don't even sell it.
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Unread 01-05-2012, 10:58 AM   #3
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2007 MK Compass 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Madison/Janesville, Wisconsin
Posts: 5,624
I've had mine freeze up before too. I just waited until temps rose a little and syphoned out what I could and then filled it with the lowest temp stuff that I could find (currently I have -20 stuff in it). Don't forget too that the fluid may be a liquid in the reservoir but the lines and the nozzles can freeze up separately if the the fluid is marginal. The dealers may top off the reservoir but they won't change out what's in it.

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Unread 01-09-2012, 09:04 AM   #4
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2011 MK Compass 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Rugby, ND
Posts: 5
I've had that happen to me. However, I would blow a fuse whenever I tried to use it when the problem was there. I suppose the line was blocked and was trying too hard & would blow the fuse. I finally had to use a hair dryer on the vehicle to warm up the lines (since I live in a place where when it gets cold, it stays cold for a long time). I then emptied it all out and started over. Didn't have the problem after that.
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Unread 01-09-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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2015 MK Patriot 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 284
In Canada we use the -40 stuff year around; there is not much point for us to buy the summer washer fluid.
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Unread 01-10-2012, 11:27 AM   #6
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2010 MK Patriot 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 505
RainX de-icer washer fluid works great. Never had it freeze when we lived in MA. Even when it got to -10.
I only had a 2 mile drive to work then.
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