Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

WTB: Subzero (0F or -20F) windshield wiper fluid in SF Bay Area

MarcG

Active Member
Oct 29, 2014
2,967
1,792
San Francisco
I'm planning a road trip to UT and WY to go skiing over the holidays, so I'm expecting it to be really cold out there.

In preparation of the freezing temperatures, I've been trying to find windshield wiper fluid that doesn't freeze below 0F or -20F but have had no luck with the main auto stores (and of course, the local Tesla service centers only carry 32F fluid).

Can anyone recommend a location in the SF Bay Area where I can find -20F or 0F windshield wiper fluid?

Thanks!
-Marc
 

dbfish

Member
Feb 14, 2013
139
69
Sacramento, CA
The California Air Resources Board has made it illegal to sell winter, non-freezing windshield washer solution in California except in high mountain areas due to the methanol content contributing to ozone pollution. You'll have to buy it in mountain areas when you get there.

Why are VOCs in Automotive Windshield Washer Fluid Regulated in California?

Before it was regulated in 1993, automotive windshield washer fluid (AWWF) was a very large source of pollution in California's cities. AWWF contained high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are a component of ground-level ozoneformation, and one of the main pollutants that compose smog. VOCs are used in AWWF as an anti-freeze which reduces the temperature the fluid will freeze in cold weather. In most areas of California, milder temperatures do not necessitate the use of VOCs for AWWF to wet and clean vehicle windshields. Reducing the amount of VOCs emitted into the atmosphere from consumer products is imperative to California's commitment to cleaner air, to protect public health and the environment. The California Consumer Products Regulation establishes limits on the VOC content of AWWF.

More info here:
Consumer Products Regulation Affecting Automotive Windshield Washer Fluid
 

MarcG

Active Member
Oct 29, 2014
2,967
1,792
San Francisco
Thanks for the quick response! I had no idea about the CARB regulation... oh well, guess I'll have to wait to hit the mountains. Do you know if it's for sale in Truckee or other Tahoe areas?
 

Lloyd

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2011
6,258
2,048
San Luis Obispo, CA
Interesting, thanks for the tip! How much Isopropyl would you recommend adding?

I found this formula:

1/2 ga. warm water
16 oz bottle of rubbing alcohol
1/2 tsp Dawn dish detergent
optional: 1/4 cup sudsy ammonia
optional: 1 tblspn Jet Dry

Fill up with additional water to make a gallon.

If it's not going to be really cold, I would add less alcohol.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
9,937
4,851
Interesting, thanks for the tip! How much Isopropyl would you recommend adding?
This "how-to" suggests 1 cup per gallon of water (along with other cleaners). You can use different strengths (percentages) for different conditions.
"Add one cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to any of the first three methods if temperatures drop below freezing. If your winters are mild, use 70% rubbing alcohol. If you experience extreme cold weather, use 99% instead.
In a pinch, you can use high proof vodka instead of isopropyl alcohol.[8]"
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Windshield-Washer-Fluid#Adding_Rubbing_Alcohol_to_Prevent_Freezing_sub

The reasons not to use too much is the flammability and risk of paint damage. It might be cheaper however to just to buy proper winter wiper fluid.
 

OlderThanDirt

Member
Apr 19, 2015
230
226
Two Rivers, WI
Be aware how much of the 32F fluid you have in the washer tank before adding the cold weather solution though. You don't what to dilute the cold weather solution so much it's not giving you the protection your looking for. Thats going to apply to the whole washer system right up to the nozzles. Seen that happen more than a few times here even with our normal solution being -25F to -35F. GM's been good at pulling that trick on us in the past.
 

MarcG

Active Member
Oct 29, 2014
2,967
1,792
San Francisco
Thanks for all the responses and technical details!

Looks like I'll just wait until we hit the mountains and buy the 0F or -20F windshield wiper fluid from there.

If anyone can recommend a place next to the Truckee superchargers (either location) where I can find such fluid from, I would highly appreciate it!
 

MarcG

Active Member
Oct 29, 2014
2,967
1,792
San Francisco
There's a NAPA auto parts near the Superchargers if Safeway doesn't. Call to check but they should carry it. (530) 587-4684

Called and confirmed they have -15F fluid. Thank you!!

Now I have to find a way to drain the wiper fluid that's in there.. any ideas?

- - - Updated - - -

Another option is to use an additive to the existing windshield wiper fluid. Here is one product to look for:

20/10 Products WINTER BOOST - Windshield Wash Concentrate | O'Reilly Auto Parts

Thanks for the link! That also seems like a good alternative, but it says "Just add to water". Do you know if it would be okay to add to the existing wiper fluid, in case I can't find a way to drain what I have in the car now?
 

Mark Z

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
1,842
1,301
North Orange County
...Thanks for the link! That also seems like a good alternative, but it says "Just add to water". Do you know if it would be okay to add to the existing wiper fluid, in case I can't find a way to drain what I have in the car now?
It is designed to add to existing wiper fluid. I added a small amount to my Model S recently before driving up to Lake Arrowhead where temperatures were below freezing.

Follow the label instructions for the percentage allowed in warmer California counties.
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top