'Supercharging' screenwash - osmic wrap
Listening to the radio the other day, I hear that we are in for a particularly cold winter.

Bearing in mind that I use ready-mixed screenwash and I have substantial quantities of it (suitable for temperatures down to -7), I was wondering about adding a quantity of Methylated Spirits or alcohol to the screenwash reservoir the night before a 'cold snap' as they say, in order to give the fluid some extra anti-icing properties.

I don?t want to get into whatever screenwash is best, etc., and also bearing in mind that the winter can sometimes be quite mild (yet driving conditions require plenty of screenwash to clear dirty spray from the screen), then turn very cold for a few days or a week I am interested in a short term and cheap, yet potent method.

All suggestions welcome.
'Supercharging' screenwash - martint123
When I was on the road doing 50k miles a year, I used to install a giant water bottle (one of those old big plastic sweetie jars from a shop). I cut one of the heater hoses and inserted a coper pipe made of ISTR small bore C/H pipe that went into the water bottle with a rough coil of it. Enough to keep the water above freezing.
The original snag was that Vauxhall fitted the bottle in the airflow at the front and it froze in the slightest frost.
'Supercharging' screenwash - Roberson
My VW Polo handbook states that methylated spirits can be used, so yes, I would say you could use it without ill effect.
'Supercharging' screenwash - bazza

Solution tables for ethanol in water solutions:

% ethanol freezing point (celcius)
10 - 4
20 - 9
30 - 15
40 - 23
50 - 32

'Supercharging' screenwash - osmic wrap
Thanks for the above replies,

So if my current screenwash is good down to -7° or so and I put half a litre of Methylated Spirits into the reservoir that is holding 4 litres (but has a capacity of about 4.5), in theory, that should give me another 5° or so of protection.

Based on the table provided by bazza, I'm estimating that my current screenwash has a concentration of about 15% ethanol (.6 litre in every 4 litres) and to add .5 litre would make the total concentration 1.1 litres per 4.5 litres or about 25%.

Assuming also, that the antifreeze properties are from ethanol in the screenwash and not glycol but in any event I think I have my answer. That is that the night before a particularly bad frost or running up to a 'cold snap' the best bet to 'supercharge? the screenwash is to add some readily available Methylated Spirits
'Supercharging' screenwash - bazza
That should sort you out for all but the coldest mornings....but make sure you run the "concentrate" through to the jets the night before. A drop of glycerol in the mix also helps. These days I just buy concentrate in the supermarket and mix it about 30% in deepest winter. Ready-mix is a bit of a con, you're just buying water!
'Supercharging' screenwash - nick
I agree that readymix is a bit of a con. I expect the most expensive parts of screenwash are the container and the transport costs. So why pay to package and move water?
'Supercharging' screenwash - osmic wrap
I know what you are saying about the ready-mix; in service stations it can be £5 for 5 litres of dubious quality. I use Halfords 'premium' all season ready-mixed at £6 for 10 litres (normally £6 for 5 litres but I bought a load on a two for one offer) 60 pence per litre is not too bad.

I have added .5 of a litre of Methylated Spirits already as a trial. When the cold hits us as long as this mix works ok I will know what to do.

The Halfords concentrate is £5 for five litres and I found that for it to be any good I had to mix it at 20%, this would make it 20 pence per litre (a lot cheaper than ready-mixed) but it had an awful smell and left streaks. One other thing I noticed was that it left some kind of white goo in the screenwash reservoir. I regularly (once or twice a year) siphon out the reservoir with a length of hosepipe and give it a good flush with hot tap water, so this wasn't a problem but I doubt it will happen with ready mixed stuff.
'Supercharging' screenwash - osmic wrap
Just found this: www.webasto-hotshot.com/index_en.php

It heats the washer fluid using battery power.
'Supercharging' screenwash - osmic wrap

When added, the Methylated Spirits smelt awful. Later on in the week I siphoned the screenwash reservoir out and in the bottom was that same kind of gunge as I had previously found in a bottle of Methylated Spirits we keep in the kitchen. I don?t know if it reacts with water to form this or what. What about Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)? Would this mix with screenwash to achieve the desired effect.

I have found some Mobil screenwash concentrate on the web that provides protection down to -65° C (at 100%) and ?25° C (at 50%). Don?t know where to get it from as yet...
'Supercharging' screenwash - SlightlyFatRep
My problem with screen wash is that it seems to leave a greasy film on the windscreen. I tend to use normal washing up liquid (one good squirt into the reservoir before filling gently with warm water). Works a treat. When it comes to winter I still add this to normal screenwash and the two together seem to work well.

Worst case I had was frozen water in the pipes and having to buy Evian at a service station to pour over the screen to clear (normal tap there frozen up!).
'Supercharging' screenwash - PhilW
"screen wash is that it seems to leave a greasy film on the windscreen. I tend to use normal washing up liquid "

Odd, I found exactly the opposite, hence have not used washing up liquid for donkey's years. I also find that Halfords is a bit smeary, but Carplan or Decosol are both excellent and nearly as good as any screenwash bought in French supermarkets for half the price!!
'Supercharging' screenwash - David Horn
I use normal stuff but add a squirt of Sonax concentrate to keep things sqeaky clean and smelling lemony fresh.
'Supercharging' screenwash - J Bonington Jagworth
"down to -65°C"

I think you might have other worries at that temperature! Like being able to open the door...
'Supercharging' screenwash - L'escargot
What about Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)?

Ethyl alcohol (ethanol) is what you need. I'm not sure what damage the dye (or the methanol) in meths would do.
'Supercharging' screenwash - J Bonington Jagworth
"It heats the washer fluid using battery power."

Or extend the washer tube so that you can wrap it a few times round a heater pipe. You used to be able to buy a heat exchanger that did the same thing, but some soft microbore copper tubing makes an effective substitute.
'Supercharging' screenwash - J1mbo
Anyone tried using Deionised water with screenwash? I live in a hard water area.
'Supercharging' screenwash - Roly93
A friend of mine gave me some genuine Porsche screenwash, as they gave himn a bottle each time he got his car serviced. I have to say, this is the best screenwash - by a huge margin, that I have ever seen.
Some time later I found what was almost definately the same product in Euro car parts. It is orange in colour and in a bottle which measures the amount of liquid as you squeeze. Of course you could buy it from Porsche but it probably costs an arm & leg.
'Supercharging' screenwash - cub leader
Not sure if this is true but apparently if you mix vinegar with warm water a pour this over you windscreen the night before it will prevent your windscreen icing up in the first place. any ideas?
Im a student ive got time!!!
'Supercharging' screenwash - AngryJonny
Vinegar is supposed to be good for cleaning glass (diluted) but I'm not aware of any antifreeze properties that it has. Can't imagine it sticking to the glass either. Sounds a little far-fetched to me. Possibly it removes any dirt that might cause ice to crystalise or something, but I can only imagine it being fractionally better, if at all.
Life is complex; it has real and imaginary parts.
'Supercharging' screenwash - osmic wrap
At the moment I seem to be both obsessed and fascinated by the screenwash subject.

After reading up on the web for hours on end about this I have come to the conclusion that this winter quite a lot of people will have frozen screenwash, as we are in for a particularly cold one.

Also, I notice that you can spend a lot of money on the stuff. For example, I saw some concentrate at a service station for £3.08 per litre. When mixed at 50% with water it works down to -10° C. I have bought stuff from Halfords (ready mixed) that works down to -8° C. This costs £0.60 a litre, so for over twice the cost you only get an extra 2 degrees of frost resistance or whatever. Concentrate may be best but not always.

'Supercharging' screenwash - L'escargot
Anyone tried using Deionised water with screenwash?

Good idea, but expensive.
'Supercharging' screenwash - Huw
Solution tables for ethanol in water solutions:
% ethanol freezing point (celcius)
- 4
- 9
- 15
- 23
- 32

Good idea baz - Use ethanol rather than methanol. If you get stuck in the snow you can invite others in for a party
'Supercharging' screenwash - Urban Spaceman
Many years ago, I used to work in what was then, West Berlin. I had access to large ammounts of industrial alcohol - neat!
Anyway, I used to fill my washer bottle up with that stuff in the winter. Someone once warned me that it may rot the windscreen rubber, but I didnt notice any ill effects from it.
However, one night, when it was a bit chilly, hmmmm about -25C, I used the washers, and the neat alcohol froze on the screen. Smelt nice, and I couldnt see ahead, until I got the scraper into action.
'Supercharging' screenwash - osmic wrap
What would adding a bottle of Vodka do to the screenwash, surely that would boost the low-temp. properties?

I'm sure I could get some cheap at NETTO, sorry, Waitrose
'Supercharging' screenwash - Nsar
Long time BR contributors may be familiar with my annual rant about this time of year that it is frankly rubbish that heated washer bottle/nozzles aren't a standard safety feature of cars. VW have fitted them for at least 15 years to most of their models but not Audi for some weird reason. I've owned two SAABS built in the late 90s which didn't have them and you'd kind of think the safety conscious Swedes would be familiar with winter driving by now.

How many accidents are caused each year by people driving into early morning winter sunshine with salt smeared across their windscreen but unable to clear it due to frozen washers?
'Supercharging' screenwash - tyre tread
>>How many accidents are caused each year by people driving into early morning winter sunshine with salt smeared across their windscreen but unable to clear it due to frozen washers? >>

None of course. All accidents are due to speeding hence all the speed cameras! :-)

Cynical? Moi?

'Supercharging' screenwash - AlastairW
There are many better uses for Vodka :). Just ask my ex!
'Supercharging' screenwash - Mudguts
I have found this at my local Ford dealer:

Ford Winter Screen Wash, 500ml, 1 216 065 2U7J 19C544 DA

On the front it says -55°c, on the back it indicates that at 66% concentration it is good down to -31°c, at 50% concentration it is good down to -21°c and at 33% concentration it is good down to -12°c

It costs about a quid for 500ml
'Supercharging' screenwash - Galaxy
Many years ago I always used to put Methylated Spirits into my screenwash bottle in winter at something like 50/50 mix. I never had any problems.

At this time, however, I was able to help myself to Industrial Methylated Spirits from where I worked, which contained neither the purple dye nor all the other nasty things which are put into the usual Meths, to put people off drinking it.

I don't think you can buy IMS, unfortunately, without a licence, so I couldn't do this trick now, anyway.

'Supercharging' screenwash - psi
I would have thought you would be using common or garden ethyl alcohol, the methyl alchohol only added as a denaturant to stop winos drinking it?
'Supercharging' screenwash - Hamsafar
The price of meths these days means it's probaby cheaper to buy concentrated screenwash.

The alcohol in screen wash is ethanol or propanol (isopropyl), have never seen methanol listed.
'Supercharging' screenwash - eurocourier
Interesting thread.

I bought some screenwash in Finland that didn't freeze at -30. Also thought about the hotwash system. Entirely agree that this ought to be a standard feature, especially given the likely ease and low cost it could be incorporated for.

Until that day Mercedes-Benz own screenwash is only a few quid and works very well.
'Supercharging' screenwash - Falkirk Bairn
'Supercharging' screenwash!!

The last time I had the car serviced at a franchised dealer they charged me - in the"parts supplied" £3.00 + VAT for screenwash. The bottle was 100% full when I put it in for servicing so they had left it on the front seat unopened. Handed it back and got £3.45 off the bill - that is really "Supercharging Screenwash" - I can get most of the winter on a 5 litre Screenwash from Halfords
'Supercharging' screenwash - Xileno {P}
Hardly ever use the stuff. I find if the weather's very cold, the roads are usually dry anyway. My french neighbours use cheap white wine undiluted. Probably about the best use for a rough french wine.
'Supercharging' screenwash - local yokel
Xileno - that's fine until you overtake a lorry that's driving through slush on the inside lane - then you have to drive on instruments. I remember such a time up the M1 in Jan of 91! It had been about -10 over night.
'Supercharging' screenwash - PW
Before we all panic, weren't there similar news stories about a year ago, and 2 years ago saying we were in for a really cold and hard winter.

Apart from one bad day here was actually fairly warm.
'Supercharging' screenwash - Xileno {P}
Uk doesn't know what a hard winter is, regularly -15 in central France at some stage over a winter. I don't believe all these news stories, still waiting for us all to turn into mad cows and sneeze like birds.
'Supercharging' screenwash - DP
I read in the local rag a few weeks back that they were predicting a mild one.

Let's face it, they haven't got bleedin' clue!! ;-)

'Supercharging' screenwash - Hamsafar
"Before we all panic, weren't there similar news stories about a year ago, and 2 years ago saying we were in for a really cold and hard winter."

YES! and at the start of November we were lied to that there would likely be snow in the last week of November.
'Supercharging' screenwash - yorkiebar
Baxk on the original thread, sorry.

Most time the screenwash freezes its in the pipe or the jet itself, not the screenwash bottle.

Lag the pipe as best you can and protect the jet from cold air blast if you can and it shouldnt freeze if you use decent screenwash at a sensible mixture.
'Supercharging' screenwash - L'escargot
Some people say we are in for a particularly cold winter, but others say we have global warming so it should be warmer than hitherto!
'Supercharging' screenwash - Dalglish
"Before we all panic, weren't there similar news stories about a year ago, and 2 years ago saying we were in
for a really cold and hard winter."


just look at the date of the initial post !

'Supercharging' screenwash - Dalglish
Before we all panic, weren't there similar news stories about a year ago


this thread first post dated 2005 !
'Supercharging' screenwash - LeighB
When I was stationed in Germany in the late 60s you could buy a 40 oz bottle of 80% proof American gin at the PX for 8 shillings (40p in todays money) This was used by some forces personnel in their screenwashers as it was cheaper than the screenwash fluid you could buy in the local garages!
Was quite effective I gather, didn't try it myself as it seemed a waste of good gin :-)
'Supercharging' screenwash - orbs
try local hgv motor factors 25 litres for £12 then use it neat without diluting it , never freezes
'Supercharging' screenwash - barchettaman
That´s cheap gin, Orbs.
Accounts for the erratic HGV driving one sees so often ;-)

Ask Honest John

Value my car