What Happens If You Put Windshield Wiper Fluid In Coolant?

It is a very common mistake when you put windshield wiper fluid in coolant because, in the structure of your car, the windshield washer reservoir is designed right beside the coolant. So if you make this mistake and are concerned about what happens to your car? Don’t worry! We’re going to go ahead to help you!

How Does Windshield Washer Fluid Work?

Windshield wiper fluid is used to clean windshields with wipers while your car is being driven. This is a specialized chemical for cars to help clean the windshield to ensure that the glass is always clean and clear to improve visibility when driving. This fluid is stored in the car, washer fluid is sprayed from an automatic spray and combined with a lever to wash away the dirt on the surface of the windshield.

Windshield washer fluid requires higher requirements than normal glass cleaner, that is, This washer fluid must not be scaled because if it creates a residue, it will clog the pump, more than that when sprayed on the glass surface. If there is residue, it will scratch the windshield. Windshield wiper fluid does not contain too much detergent, bleach because too much soap will damage it, and harden the wiper because they have synthetic rubber.

How does it work? An in-car controller operates to spray the washer fluid onto the windshield, usually using an electric pump through nozzles mounted below the windshield or below the wiper(s). Levels are turned on automatically, cleaning dirt and debris on the windshield. In some high-end models, the windshield washer fluid can be preheated before being sprayed onto the windshield. This is especially ideal in cold climates where a thin layer of ice or frost accumulates on the windshield surface. So it eliminates the need to scrape the glass or manually pour warm water over the glass.

I put windshield wiper fluid in the coolant
I put windshield wiper fluid in the coolant. What will happen to my car? (Photo: pinterest.com)

5 advantages of using windshield power fluid

  • Good washer fluid with a specialized cleaning will help remove the oil film, remove the reflection phenomenon, and light refraction.
  • Easily penetrates, dissolves, and cleans stains quickly, making the windshield surface shiny, and ensuring visibility for drivers.
  • Helps the operation of the level to be smooth, without wear due to friction, contributing to the longevity of the wiper and protecting the windshield surface from scratches.
  • Do not corrode metal parts, age rubber, and do not affect the plastic parts of the car.
  • The washer fluid with anti-rain coating wax will help raindrops curl up and bounce off the car to help you drive safely in bad weather like storms.

Where to put windshield wiper fluid?

The windshield wiper fluid will be contained in a reservoir. The most important thing is you should identify exactly the position of this tank so you can pour the fluid. Windshield fluid reservoir locations can be designed to be located in several locations depending on the year, make, and model of your vehicle.

It is usually located in the engine compartment and can be found near the windshield along the firewall. The windshield power fluid reservoir will be marked with a little picture of a water solvent jet. In case you can’t locate the reservoir, you can refer to the manual from the manufacturer for guidance.

>> Read more: Making Of Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

What Happens If You Put Windshield Wiper Fluid In Coolant?

If you accidentally put washer fluid into the coolant reservoir. And it makes you worry about what will happen to your car when you mix the coolant with washer fluid. Our answer is that it’s not a big problem but putting windshield washer fluid in your coolant tanks is also not a good idea. The main component of windshield power fluid is mainly water so in case, you didn’t put too much fluid in the reservoir. It will simply cook off when your engine warm-up. Other chemicals in this solution will not affect the antifreeze and cooling system of the car.

After pouring the wrong fluid into the coolant, the most dangerous consequence that can happen is that your car will not operate and cause the cooling line or radiator to be clogged. Because the windshield washer fluid contains a small amount of soap which will easily expand when your coolant heats up. And if the windshield washer fluid stays too long in the reservoir, some of the chemicals in this liquid will react with the antifreeze turning the cooling liquid into a gel.

In addition, some windshield washer fluid types contain alcohol which will provide some antifreeze protection. However, when the engine heats up the alcohol will boil and blow through the radiator cap. As a result, you will leak coolant and antifreeze. Seriously, methanol in the washer fluid can also affect seals and hoses.

What To Do If You Poured Washer Fluid Into Coolant Reservoir?

Presumably, you accidentally put the windshield power fluid instead of the antifreeze in your cooling system. What should we do next? Windshield power fluid includes methanol with a significant portion and some ammonium hydroxide. Methanol will burn to produce carbon monoxide, ammonium hydroxide to ammonia, instead of letting it boil, we should drain it. In this situation, the best solution we think will be effective is that you should flush all the mixture into your coolant reservoir.

You can use some specialized tools or simply a turkey baster to suck up the contaminated liquid from the coolant reservoir. Or you can use a small tube and a can to drain all the liquid from the container. Make sure that all liquid has been sucked out of the tank. You can pour more clean water and proceed to suck it out, this will help you clean the reservoir, limiting the phenomenon of scale.

can you use windshield washer fluid as coolant
Can you use windshield washer fluid as coolant? putting windshield washer fluid in your coolant tanks is also not a good idea (Photo: offroadingpro.com)


Can I use the water instead of windshield power fluid?

According to experts, the use of water to replace the washer fluid is only temporary. And in the long run, can damage the wipers and clog the spray. The dirt on the surface of the windshield is very diverse. It can be dirt from the environment, tree sap, bird droppings, insect carcasses, or paint stains. Only water cannot dissolve dirt and even the level cannot wipe away the dirt on the windshield.

Therefore, manufacturers often recommend drivers use water mixed with chemicals and additives to help the cleaning process better. Currently, some consumer organizations have expressed concern that the solvents in the windshield washer fluid may affect the paint and chromium of your car. So many drivers in warmer latitudes have chosen to use plain water instead of the washer fluid. 

>> Related post: Windshield Washer Fluid vs. Water – Which Works Better

Can you mix windshield washer fluid with water?

You can mix water with the washer fluid without leading to any danger or damage to your engine or other parts but of course. The performance of cleaning the windshield could be decreased. There are many drivers who often use tap water to pour directly into the windshield washer fluid to save money. However, regular use of water will cause hardening of the wiper and pipes, not to mention the cold temperature, the water can absolutely frost. 

How to put windshield wiper fluid in a car?

Step 1: Locate the washer fluid reservoir.

The windshield power fluid reservoir has a fairly basic structure. Usually located under the engine compartment with a lid that is usually blue and has a wiper-shaped symbol. Depending on the brand and model of the car. The position of the glass washer reservoir will be different, some cars are located behind the trunk. And some are located at the front of the car, inside the engine compartment. You should check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see where the tank is.

Step 2: Twist the lid and check the condition of the reservoir.

Gently open the lid of the container, and check to see if there is still an old fluid. If the washer fluid has been stored for a long time, you should pour it out and clean the reservoir.

Step 3: Refill the fluid 

After making sure the reservoir is clean and free of old fluid. You can use a funnel to pour the windshield power fluid into the tank. You can turn on the test spray button and see if it’s ok. If the fluid sprays evenly, the process is done and you can rest assured.

Closing Thoughts

We believe that by reading this section, you already have the answer to the question: Can you use windshield washer fluid as coolant? So if you accidentally put the windshield washer fluid into a coolant reservoir, it is fine because it can’t cause any damage to your engine. But this fluid shouldn’t stay in the reservoir, you should flush this fluid. Or you can take your car to a trusted repair center to have a guide.