Expert tips: how to put screen wash in your car

Screen wash helps ensure you can see in low winter sun

Topping up your screen wash helps ensure you can see in low winter sun. (Picture © Prestone)

Car maintenance such as topping up screen wash isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. But there are some things drivers really should be able to do to ensure their cars are as roadworthy as possible. It’s quite a worry that a new survey shows that two thirds of drivers can’t check the oil level in their cars; 31 per cent don’t know how to check tyre pressures; and nearly a third don’t know how to fill their screen wash bottle. 

Filling up the screen wash is quick and easy and it could save your life. Being able to see ahead of you is one of the most important aspects of driving. The earlier you can spot a hazard, the more chance you have to react to it in a safe and appropriate manner. And in order to be able to guarantee that you can see in front of you there needs to be liquid – and preferably screen wash – in your car’s washer bottle.

Why screen wash?
Screen wash is available from motor retailers, garages and even some supermarkets and is designed specifically for the job of windscreen cleaning. It will help avoid the wiper blades smearing on the screen; it has water softener in it to keep the pipes and jets clean; and it’s formulated to clear road grime and insects. It also has anti-freeze in it so won’t turn to ice in very cold weather. And unlike washing up liquid it doesn’t have salt in it that can damage paintwork.

Screen wash can prevent windscreen washer bottles freezing on cold mornings

Screen wash can prevent windscreen washer bottles freezing on cold mornings. (Picture © Continental)

What does the washer bottle filler look like?
Washer bottles can be located anywhere under the bonnet. The easiest way to find yours is to look in your car’s handbook. The cap is frequently blue, although it might be black or even white. It’ll also be stamped with a graphic that shows the shape of a swept windscreen with water drops squirting up from the middle.

How much screen wash?
This depends on the time of year. The colder it is, the more screen wash you’ll need to prevent the liquid freezing in extreme cold. Each bottle of screen wash will detail the proportion of wash per litre of water, depending on the time of year.

How much do you put in?
Washer bottle capacities vary from car to car. They nearly always hold at least two litres of fluid but you should find their capacity in the handbook. Otherwise, the only thing to do is to mix up a couple of litres of screen wash with water in a clean bucket and pour it in, either using a jug or funnel, until it gets to the top of the filler pipe.

Green Flag's Nick Reid talks all about screen wash Nick Reid is a fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry and head of transformation at Green Flag

 

 

 

 

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4 comments on “Expert tips: how to put screen wash in your car

  1. John Perfect February 26, 2016 3:32 pm

    Is it OK to mix different types of screenwash eg blue coloured screenwash with pink coloured screenwash?

    • James Mills March 17, 2016 3:11 pm

      In a word, yes. Should smell a treat too!

  2. Doug Barnes June 12, 2016 7:58 pm

    if you live near an airport, a little bit of Meths helps as well, Also improves icy weather behaviour, but pipes do need an occasional flush with plain water to keep them clear

    • wayne jones December 12, 2016 8:05 am

      what has living near an airport got to do with it very confused

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