The role of cleaning your windshield falls on your windshield washer and wiper system. When your windshield is dirty, you spray windshield washer fluid onto the glass and turn on the wipers to clear the dirty fluid from your view.
The fluid that sprays from your washer nozzles comes from a reservoir mounted under the hood of your vehicle. Some vehicles equipped with a rear wiper and washer utilize the same reservoir while others have a separate one in the rear. When the washer fluid is sprayed, a pump inside the reservoir lifts the fluid to the washer nozzles and it is dispersed onto the glass.
Depending on the type of fluid that’s been put in your reservoir, it may be possible for it to freeze if the temperature drops low enough.
Bug wash, which is a solution that includes cleaners to assist in the removal of bug remains and other hard-to-remove windshield contaminants, freezes when exposed to any consistent temperature below freezing (32°F). Keep in mind that a morning with frost isn’t enough to freeze your washer fluid.
Washer fluid antifreeze is available in several formulas. Some come with freezing points of -20°F, -27°F, -40°F, or even down to -50°F. This washer fluid contains an alcohol that lowers the freezing point of the washer fluid significantly. It can be either methanol, ethanol, or ethylene glycol mixed with water.
If your washer fluid freezes, thaw it out as soon as possible. In some cases, freezing can cause the reservoir to crack or the pump to be damaged as the water expands. If this happens, your washer fluid will all leak out and your windshield washers won’t spray. Your washer fluid reservoir can’t be repaired and would have to be replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as At What Temperature Does Windshield Washer Fluid Freeze? and was authored by Jason Unrau.