Windscreen cleaner is not the same as windscreen cleaner. What provides a clear view in summer can cause major damage in winter. What to look out for.
When the temperatures drop, expect – surprise – frost, snowfall and sleet. For the perfect view, you need well-maintained windscreen wipers (read here what you should pay attention to) and the right windscreen cleaner. Because the summer variant is no longer sufficient; it usually only contains water as a solvent – of course unsuitable in frost.
So it’s time to change the windshield wiper fluid. But when is the best time to do this? Of course before the first frost. The expert organization Dekra recommends changing over in autumn when the summer cleaner in the cleaning agent tank has been sprayed empty.
Summer and winter cleaners: that’s the difference
Summer and winter window cleaners differ in terms of the cleaning components. The cleaning effect of the products is adjusted to the dirt that is typical of the season. In addition, winter window cleaners contain alcohols such as ethanol and glycols to lower the freezing point.
Incidentally, winter window cleaner concentrates are usually cheaper than ready-made mixtures and can be diluted with water before use. “This increases the cleaning effect as well as the yield,” explains Dekra.
Mixing windscreen cleaner: Better not
The frost protection values specified on the packaging can only be achieved if the mixture is correctly mixed with water. The winter windscreen cleaner should therefore not be filled up with the summer cleaner still in the tank, according to Dekra’s recommendation.
Because if the summer window cleaner freezes, the windscreen is not cleaned properly. In addition, the expansion of the water when it freezes could cause damage to the car windshield washer system – for example, cracks in the plastic hoses and lines or in the reservoir.
Touch yourself? Not a good idea
Dekra also generally advises against using self-made products in winter. This is because antifreeze requires the use of solvents. The windscreen cleaner must also be compatible with the material. Otherwise there could be swelling or dulling of the paint or cracks in plastic headlights made of polycarbonate.