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Old 06-15-2010, 09:05 AM   #1
fbrdphreak
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Default PSA: Don't use water in your windshield wiper fluid reservoir

Quote:
If you use standard tap water in your windshield washer fluid reservoir instead of a cleaner, you may have effectively turned your vehicle into a biological weapon. Sure, that sounds cool and all, but according to BBC News, the only person you're going to be hurting is yourself. As it turns out, using plain water can cause the washer fluid system to become a breeding ground for Legionella bacterium the same nastiness that causes Legionaires' Disease and pneumonia. Spray your windshield and the bacteria becomes airborne, allowing it to easily enter your lungs and wreak havoc with your immune system.

Researchers discovered the hive of scum and villainy lurking under the hood by attempting to discern why professional drivers were five times more likely to become ill than their amateur counterparts. After a little scientific sleuthing, the lab coats unearthed the bacteria. So do the world a favor and top off your windshield washer fluid reservoir with some sort of purpose-built cleaner. The stuff will kill the infection-causing bacteria and will keep the fluid from freezing in the winter. Not bad for 99 cents a gallon.
http://www.autoblog.com/2010/06/15/r...of-legionnair/

I dunno about all the statistics around this causing 20% of Legionnaires' Disease cases in the UK, but still good to know!
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:12 AM   #2
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ummm...yeah...water under constant warm temps.....
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:43 AM   #3
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A cup of alcohol will fix that. Most washer fluid is just isopropyl or methyl alcohol and blue dye. So tap water plus a little alcohol is all you need.

I mix my own to save time and money. Dump in alcohol and fill rest with water. J
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:50 AM   #4
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What a waste Marlin - you should be drinkin' that alcohol
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:55 AM   #5
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better than accidentally putting coolant in there. (My pop did and boy was that a mess to clean out)
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:37 AM   #6
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Good to know I guess... for the cost of washer fluid and frequency required (only in winter) I don't have a problem spending the $5 per year on proper fluid
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:21 AM   #7
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better than accidentally putting coolant in there. (My pop did and boy was that a mess to clean out)

My inlaws did this. I went to use the washer fluid and the windshielf got worse, really worse. Opened it up and knew what it was when I smelled it.

Told them what to use and what NOT to use. Next time I came back and now it was making lots of foam. I guess dish washing soap was better then the coolant.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:46 AM   #8
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I just use non-ammonia glass cleaner. Cleans and smells SUPER!
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:57 AM   #9
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Yeah would never do just plain water. It doesn't really do much for stuck on bugs anyway. When I get oil changes the places around here usually top them off. But, now that I'm starting to do my own changes, I will have to pick up a bottle now.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
hive of scum and villainy
lol
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
hive of scum and villainy
Paging Obi-Wan Kenobi ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BVlARaJM74
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:52 PM   #12
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I'm pretty sure that the bigger issue is that when the temps drop below freezing the washers stop working.

ZV
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:11 PM   #13
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Well if it makes you guys feel any better, you can get 1 gallon of washer fluid for about $2 at autozone where I live. Also washerfluid = windex/other generic window washing fluid, at costco, 1.3 gallons of windex will cost you $11.50 opposed to the $2 for the washer fluid at autozone. Weird that windex would be more expensive than washer fluid considering how often people fill up their washer fluid.

Last edited by obamanation; 06-15-2010 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:39 PM   #14
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wow op I never even though of that, good to know ill top up my washer fluid then, I wash my car too often to even use it though the fluid in there is over a year old lol.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:40 PM   #15
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I'm pretty sure that the bigger issue is that when the temps drop below freezing the washers stop working.

ZV
That's what I thought this was going to be about or perhaps a busted reservoir.

Interesting nonetheless.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:45 PM   #16
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You guys are too cheap for $3 Rain-X?
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:10 PM   #17
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I don't know about where you live, but my tap water is treated with chloramine, it should keep most of the scum and villainy under control, that's what it's for anyway, keeping scum and villainy out of the pipes...

I use the correct fluids regardless, plain water doesn't really wash windows very well.
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Zenmervolt View Post
I'm pretty sure that the bigger issue is that when the temps drop below freezing the washers stop working.

ZV
not a problem here in az
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:10 PM   #19
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You guys are too cheap for $3 Rain-X?
This.....its usually on sale for 2 bucks a bottle at walmart
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:31 PM   #20
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I'm pretty sure that the bigger issue is that when the temps drop below freezing the washers stop working.

ZV
My sister had a Dodge one time, that in the winter time, you didn't dare turn on the defroster until the engine was warmed up. They put the washer fluid lines going down the wiper arms (out in the open, instead of spraying from the nice warm hood), and if you jumped into the car in the wintertime, and attempted to defrost your windows by turning on the air, while the engine was warming up, it would freeze those lines solid.....and there wasn't a damn thing you could do to thaw them, unless you wanted to start hitting them with a hair dryer, or a bunch of warm water. If you waited, no problems.

The dealer told her that Dodge knew of the problem, but didn't plan on doing anything about it, and she'd just have to live with it.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:12 PM   #21
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A cup of alcohol will fix that. Most washer fluid is just isopropyl or methyl alcohol and blue dye. So tap water plus a little alcohol is all you need.

I mix my own to save time and money. Dump in alcohol and fill rest with water. J

Saving money? What, $1-2/year? That alcohol and water isn't free. I don't see how you'd be saving timeas you're dealing with 2 bottles instead of one.

For $3/gallon, the Rain-X fluid is really incredible.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:26 AM   #22
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Woah, I just topped off my res with water just the other day because it ran out and I didn't feel like going to the store. Looks like I'll be adding some alcohol to that, sheesh!
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:59 PM   #23
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Most tap water in the US probably won't support bacteria growth due to the sanitizing stuff that's in it from the treatment plant.
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:40 PM   #24
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Interesting. Why is this, though? What exactly makes it a breeding ground for this specific bacteria? Could you hold a tub of water at ~100 degrees and get the same result?

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Most tap water in the US probably won't support bacteria growth due to the sanitizing stuff that's in it from the treatment plant.
Nah. Chlorine evaporates out of water rather quickly. It would hinder things for a while, but the bacterium would have no problems gaining a foothold given enough time.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:42 AM   #25
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Methanol is toxic low-cost bullshit. I use water and isopropyl alcohol, and that's what everybody should use. It boggles the mind that a substance that causes blindness and is toxic when inhaled is allowed to be used as windshield washer.
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