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

Discussion in 'California' started by MarcG, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. MarcG

    MarcG Active Member

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    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
     
  2. dbfish

    dbfish Member

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    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
     
  3. MarcG

    MarcG Active Member

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    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?
     
  4. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    You can add a little Isopropyl alcohol available at the pharmacy. Cheap Vodka will work in a pinch also.:eek:
     
  5. MarcG

    MarcG Active Member

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    Interesting, thanks for the tip! How much Isopropyl would you recommend adding?
     
  6. InternetDude

    InternetDude Member

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    Around here good winter wiper fluid is good down to -45.
     
  7. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    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.
     
  8. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  9. OlderThanDirt

    OlderThanDirt Member

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    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.
     
  10. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    IPA will raise the freeze temp of washer solution, but might eat up your wiper rubber over time. 15% IPA has worked well for me. Common in Europe.
     
  11. MarcG

    MarcG Active Member

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    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!
     
  12. Klaus

    Klaus Member

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    Safeway should have it.
     
  13. Khatsalano

    Khatsalano Member

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    I've had good luck just on the Nevada site of the border. Any "gas station" will carry it in the winter ... but it's horrible to have to go back to one.

    - K
     
  14. dbfish

    dbfish Member

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    There's a NAPA auto parts near the Superchargers if Safeway doesn't. Call to check but they should carry it. (530) 587-4684
     
  15. Mark Z

    Mark Z Active Member

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  16. MarcG

    MarcG Active Member

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    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 - - -

    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?
     
  17. InternetDude

    InternetDude Member

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    Easy, spray until it stops spraying.
     
  18. Mark Z

    Mark Z Active Member

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    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.
     

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