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Choosing the right windshield wiper fluid isn’t the most complicated aspect of maintaining your car, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be confusing. It seems like if you ask three different people what wiper fluid you should be using, you’ll get three different answers, which isn’t much help when you’re standing in the aisle at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store trying to decide which type to buy.

It’s time to cut through the noise and lay out, in simple terms, what windshield wiper fluid is best for your driving needs.

Don’t Use Only Water

One of the most common mistakes made when refilling your windshield wiper fluid reservoir is to pour in regular ole’ water and call it day. Sure, water might get your windshield clean in warm weather, but once the temperature drops, it’ll freeze up inside your tank and lines, potentially causing damage to your washer system and blinding you out on the highway.

Another, more insidious side effect of using water in your windshield fluid reservoir has to do with bacteria. Over the course of a hot summer, even the purest water can breed microbes, such as the legislation bacteria that cause Legionnaire’s disease, and make you sick when you activate your washers and spray the toxic mixture into the air. It’s a common issue for professional drivers who try to save cash by sticking with water, but don’t let it happen to you. Make sure to use a fluid mixture that contains at least a small amount of alcohol to prevent breeding disease inside your engine bay.

Consider Concentrate

If you don’t want to lug around a jug of washer fluid with you in your trunk, you might want to pick up a concentrated washer product that you can mix with water and create your own cleaning solution. Mixing one of these commercially-available concentrates with water will kill bacteria as well as provide you with a few solvents to help better clean your windshield glass. Once again, you’ll need to make sure you match any concentrate with the temperatures you’ll be driving through in the winter months to avoid any risk of freezing up your washer system.

Check out all the chemical products available on one of our Napa local stores (Zeelandia, Gosieweg, Caracasbaaiweg or Sta Maria) for routine maintenance and repairs.

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