Rainwater use in cars - Happy Blue!
We have a rainwater butt and given the amount of rain these last few weeks it is full to overflowing. The tap is located a couple of inches off the bottom and the top of the water has a few floating bits on it. Drawing water off the tap should produce water free from obvious solid contaminents however small.

I have used the water to water the garden (why - it has rained a lot recently!) and to use for the fish tank. If there any reason not to use it for the washer bottle or even expansion tank and battery cells?
Rainwater use in cars - brum
>>If there any reason not to
use it for the washer bottle or even expansion tank and battery cells?

Yes, rainwater is full of contaminants, both organic and chemical. The sky is full of it you know.....

{naughty word substituted for a more polite one}

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 21/06/2009 at 04:09

Rainwater use in cars - Martin Devon
Yes rainwater is full of contaminants both organic and chemical. The sky is full of
it you know.....

Something in the back of my mind is telling me that you shouldn't use rainwater for fish tanks. More than that I cannot say.

Best regards...........Martin.
Rainwater use in cars - honeybear
I was told by an expert not to use rain water on new plants and seedlings as it a lot "dirtier" than comes from the tap, I would'nt use it for the car I think we get an image of fresh clean rainwater in our minds which probably is far from that.
Rainwater use in cars - Big Bad Dave
I was told by a vet that rainwater is completely clean from chemicals which is why dogs prefer lapping up from muddy puddles to drinking from their bowl.
Rainwater use in cars - DinUK
I would love to use rainwater to wash my car and would not have any problems putting it into the windscreen washer.
My fish don't have any problems with rain water either.

I know of somebody who collects all the rainwater in a cistern, which is then used to flush the toilets AND wash the clothes. They were a bit worried at first, but now would not change it for the world. But it has to be said that something like that makes only sense to be installed while the house is still being build.

Rainwater use in cars - perro
I was told by an expert not to use rain water on new plants and seedlings as it a lot "dirtier" than comes from the tap, <<

Oh, so Chlorine is just dandy for new plants but not rain water - I'll have to remember that one :)
When I lived at Gorran Haven, which is a nice out of the way coastal area in Cornwall, I used to know a geezer who was loaded with the ole green folding stuff, when he had his bungalow built, he had an underground water storage tank put in - big one like, took about a 1000 ltrs of rain water from his roof ... he used it to top up his pond containing some rather expensive phish.
Rainwater use in cars - Armitage Shanks {p}
I am old enough to remember (yawn!) when we were accused of killing trees in Scandanavia with something we produced from our power stations called "Acid Rain". Things may be a bit cleaner now but I would rather use filtered tapwater for most things
Rainwater use in cars - jc2
Acid Rain killed trees but most of our rain comes from the Atlantic.I discussed Acid Rain with a Swede(not the vegetable)and he told me he would prefer us to be all nuclear for power generation-he would rather have the unlikely scenario of a nuclear accident than acid rain from our coal-fired power stations.
Rainwater use in cars - perro
I was going to come over all smug like and say that here in Cornwall the air (and rain) is a ok but ... the fall-out from Chernoby is found in West Briton, so it all depends which way the wind blows - innit.
Rainwater use in cars - brum
Seriously though, depending on prevailing conditions, all manner of pollutants can be mixed with rain, pollen, very fine dust etc. Rainwater is great food for algae, something you should avoid in your windsceen washer.
Rainwater use in cars - 659FBE
Rainwater use in cars: Three possible (reasonable) applications - battery, coolant and screenwasher.

In a lead acid cell, the most dangerous contaminants are chlorine and iron - a few ppm of either will cause chemical damage. Tap water contains chlorine and is generally distributed in iron pipes... I have used rain water for topping up batteries for years without problems. (No iron guttering though).

In a cooling system scale formation can be a problem due to narrow passageways in the heat exchangers. Rain water is soft (there is a big free distillery up there) and usually free from harmful chemicals. Antifreeze generally contains buffers which will correct any ph problems so generally, there should be no problems. Again - I have used rainwater for years...

I have a VAG vehicle with those absolutely stupid "fan" type jets. You can't see where you are going when the pump is running - especially if there is any additive in there, but of course, it was a cost saving for VAG. (They don't have to aim the jets on the line).

Until recently, I generally used tap water in the screenwasher until I realised that these lousy VAG nozzles were beginning to clog. As I live in a hard water area, scale was the likely cause. 6 months after changing to rain water, the nozzles are fully clear again with no other intervention.

Most good things in life are free.


Edited by 659FBE on 21/06/2009 at 18:12

Rainwater use in cars - Armitage Shanks {p}
jc2 you are quite correct about the prevaling wind in the UK but there are a few power stations in the West. There is a huge one West of Dumfries
Rainwater use in cars - mike hannon
I've used rainwater to wash the cars for years, with no apparent ill effects. This is a very rural part of the world but, come to think of it, we probably get all the pollutants from Paris, 250 miles away.
Rainwater use in cars - oldnotbold
We live 6m due W of Didcot power station, which burns coal. My farmer friends now have to apply sulphur (in small, but noticeable quantities) to their land as the sulphur emissions from the power station chimney have fallen by over 75%. They take samples of soil two or three times a year for lab analysis, and have done so for 20 years.
Rainwater use in cars - bell boy
I live very near a nuclear power station,my two headed fish are fine,my roses are bigger than trees and the rain water is absolutely divine with my single malt
so dorling use it on your car by all means,you even say that the tap is not at the bottom of the butt so all the nasties will stay at the bottom
happy sponging
Rainwater use in cars - perro
Tap water contains chlorine and is generally distributed in iron pipes... <<

And lead in some old house's :(
Rainwater use in cars - 659FBE
No problems at all with lead - there's loads of it in your battery already and radiators used to be soldered together.

Dissolved pollutants are more of a problem with rainwater than debris - which can be filtered out. If you are lucky enough to live in a country area, there are relatively few of them. Generally speaking, dissolved organic pollutants including nitrates do not cause difficulties, automotively.

I collect the water as it flows from the (plastic) downspout. I wouldn't use water from a butt.


Edited by 659FBE on 21/06/2009 at 20:08

Rainwater use in cars - Andrew-T
I don't know about all you guys, but my water-butt has all sorts of crud in it off my roof: bits of moss, bird poo, cherry stones (from the same birds) etc. Definitely not suitable for anything needing clean water.
Rainwater use in cars - bathtub tom
Our local church began dissolving because of the dilute sulphuric acid falling on it as a result of rain passing through the clouds of sulphur rich smoke from the local brick works.

There used to be over 150 chimneys and now only 4 remain, all disused.
Rainwater use in cars - sumpnut
The handbook of a Russian motorcycle I owned for many years stated the battery should be topped up with melted snow or rainwater, but not that collected from an iron roof. If it helps, it also said when washing the vehicle do not drive it into the river as irrepairable damage will be done to the cylinder heads.


Value my car