Best Windshield Washer Fluids: Get a Streak-Free Driving Experience
Our top picks for the best windshield washer fluids on the market
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PUBLISHED ON April 24, 2019
Not many drivers would think of a clean windshield when it comes to road safety. Having a dirty, cracked, or obstructed windshield can make driving hard and be a safety hazard. Getting a proper windshield washer will breakdown dirt, debris, dust, and even bugs on your windshield for a proper wipe. The following are the best windshield wipers we found. We picked ones that are both bestsellers and offer the best value.
- Best OverallRain-X RX11806D Washer Fluid AdditiveSummarySummaryInstant windshield washer fluid with rub on water-repellent capabilities. Adds a thin film of bug- and dust-resistant coating to the windshield. Improves wiper blade performance and visibility. Can be used to clean and restore headlights.ProsProsEffective water beading technology. Bug proofs your windshield. Can be used with other windshield washer fluid or de-icers for maximum effect. Works perfectly during heavy rain. Long-lasting treatment.ConsConsCan lead to minor clogs in the reservoir if not regularly cleaned. Not resistant to low temperature. Not easy to use. Creates a smear effect.
- Best ValueNextzett Kristall Klar Washer FluidSummarySummaryPremium, concentrated anti-clog windshield washer fluid. Makes over 12 gallons of liquid. Provides glare-free, smear-free results.ProsProsEffective for reducing glare and smears. Instantly removes bug residue and grime. One bottle is enough for up to 12 gallons of liquid. Long-lasting treatment. Will not clog your windshield washer system.ConsConsCan damage the reservoir if incorrect ratios of liquid and water are mixed. Can cause leaks if not combined with water or other fluids. Produces a strong, unpleasant smell. Not ideal for low-temperature conditions.
- Honorable MentionPrestone AS257 Bug Wash Windshield Washer FluidSummarySummaryHigh-quality bug residue windshield washer fluid. Removes tree sap/road grime and creates a bug stopper barrier. Cleans to a streak-free shine. Comes with a sweet smelling citrus aroma. Safe to use on all types of wipers.ProsProsComes in a large capacity container. Stops bugs, dirt, road grime, and tree sap from sticking on the windshield. Perfect for maintaining cleanliness. Does not streak or cause glare. Works perfectly as a glass cleaner.ConsConsYou cannot purchase this washer fluid in smaller quantities. Expensive if you are just looking to test it. Not ideal for low-temperature or cold weather conditions. Lacks water beading technology.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Windshield Washer Fluid
- Improve visibility in harsh weather. A lot of weather-related vehicle accidents usually happen when it’s raining, and a large part of that can be blamed on reduced visibility. The best windshield washer fluid will help improve your visibility through extreme weather.
- It doesn’t freeze in low temperatures. Windshield washer fluids are specially formulated to do a better job cleaning than water and will not freeze unless it's 20 degrees below or colder. It can be downright dangerous driving without them in most parts of the country, especially during winter.
- Easy to use. The windshield washer fluid is by far one of the most straightforward car products to use. Furthermore, it will make your car look great, improving your safety at the same time.
- Protect your windshield. When your vehicle’s windshield is continuously clean, you can easily spot blemishes early and have them repaired before they turn into a big problem.
Types of Windshield Washer Fluid
These products are more like detailing products than cleaning products. Users apply them directly using a microfiber towel or something similar. When cleaning the glass, it leaves behind some protective residue. This is used to help in water beading.
This product is what most drivers think about when looking for a windshield washer. This liquid is put inside the reservoir tank under the hood of the car. The driver will spray it onto the windshield when driving.
Illinois Tool Works
ITW or Illinois Tools Works is an American Fortune 500 Company based in Glenview, Illinois. The company was founded back in 1912 by Byron L. Smith. In 2011, ITW acquired SOPUS Products, which distributed Rain-X products. ITW has been the world’s leading manufacturer of specialized industrial equipment, consumables, and related service businesses. One of its most popular products is the Rain-X RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive.
Prestone is an American brand owned by KIK Custom Products Inc. The company was initially owned by Union Carbide, which later spun off all its consumer products in 1986 to come up with First Brands. Allied Signal purchased Prestone in 1997. Prestone is famous for its antifreeze coolants, brake fluids, steering fluid, and windshield washer fluids. One of its best-selling products is the Prestone AS257 Bug Wash Windshield Washer Fluid.
Nextzett is a German-owned company that was founded in 1936 by Werner Saur, Sr. The company began with a goal of making quality car polish. It later branched off into other car care products as well. Nextzett bases its success in high-quality car detailing products. Each of its products produced is tested to meet its strict quality guidelines. One of its favorite best selling car detailing products is the Nextzett Kristall Klar Washer Fluid.
Best Windshield Washer Fluid Pricing
- Under $10. There are a variety of windshield washer fluids available in this price. However, the windshield washer fluids you are likely to find at this range only offer the basic functionality of cleaning dirt and dust and might not be able to remove grime or bugs.
- Under $20. The best windshield washer fluids are available in this price range. These washer fluids have extra features and can clean a wide variety of stains on your vehicle’s windshield.
- Over $40. There aren’t a lot of windshield washer fluids in this price range. However, units at this price range are premium products. They have multiple uses, good ratings, and the best results.
It's important to note that windshield cleaners won't repel water but will encourage water to bead on the surface of your vehicle’s windshield. Essentially, this helps keep rainwater in big fat drops that run off the surface. This makes your wipers work more effectively, improving your vision while driving in poor conditions.
The best windshield washer fluids have bug-repellent adhesives and compounds. These ensure that your vehicle’s windshield does not attract bugs. It's common to have bugs splatter on your windshield when driving. Getting rid of them can end up being a sticky mess. Purchasing a windshield washer with bug-repelling compounds will create a surface that will prevent insects from sticking.
Having streaks on the glass after cleaning ruins a vehicle’s look. The best windshield washer is one that does the job without leaving streaks behind.
- Dilution Ratios: Depending on whether you are buying concentrated or crystal windscreen washer fluid, it is important that you follow the instructions about dilution ratio based on the type of climate area you live in. Otherwise, the washer fluid might end up getting too sticky to remove or might result in an excessive haze.
- All-Season Products: There are quite a number of washer fluid products available on the market. Each product is formulated for a specific climate. However, if you find dilution ratios a little complicated, you may opt for all-season options instead. These products maintain their liquid form in both warm and cold climates.
Best Windshield Washer Fluid Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Rain-X RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive
While most windshield washer fluids are designed for your reservoir, the Rain-X windshield washer fluid is an additive that can be diluted in either water or your choice of antifreeze or alternative washer fluid. Rain-X is one of the best windshield washer fluids for protection against dirt and bugs. When water comes into contact with your vehicle’s windshield, it turns into tiny beads. This makes the rainwater run off the windscreen smoothly, improving your vision in the rain.
This product has been manufactured to work like wax, but for glass. It gives your vehicle a beautiful, shiny finish that helps make your car look great. You can also use this product on plastic surfaces like headlight castings to get rid of haze and dirt. It is sold in a 16.9-fluid-ounce bottle. The manufacturer recommends mixing 4 ounces of the solution with water.
While the Rain-X washer fluid makes it easy to add a protective coat on your vehicle’s windshield, it won’t last as long as other options. This product is also not very useful when it comes to stopping the washer fluid from freezing. You might need to add 90-percent-proof alcohol to improve its freezing resistance at low temperatures.
Best Value: Nextzett 92100815 Kristall Klar Washer Fluid
The Nextzett Kristall Windshield washer fluid is an ultra-concentrated formula with about 200 times more concentrated than other liquids on the market. It is perhaps one of the most durable screen washers that offer the best value. The Nextzett windshield washer fluid delivers high performance removing dirt, road grime, and bugs. It also eliminates glare from your vehicle’s glass offering enhanced visibility while driving.
With its 8.5-ounce bottle, you can refill about five smaller washer bottles. Unlike most concentrated washer fluids, this product is designed with water softeners that prevent your vehicle’s water jets and hoses from clogging. It is also safe to use on plastic surfaces such as your headlights and won't harm the sensors in the containers. This product is non-toxic and has been made from the biodegradable and phosphate-free formula.
One drawback is that the product has a very strong scent, even though the company claims it is ammonia-free. It is also a bit complicated trying to get the ratios right, in case you miss the right concentration proportions, it could ruin your reservoir. This product also lacks water beading characteristics and will not improve your vision during a storm.
Honorable Mention: Prestone AS257 Bug Wash Windshield Washer Fluid
If you are looking for the best summer windshield fluid washer for your vehicle, the Prestone Bug wash is your best bet. If you are continually cleaning bugs plastered all over your windshield, this could be the product for you. The Prestone Bug Wash has been specially designed to create a protective cover across your car’s windshield surface.
It protects the windshield from bugs, bird droppings, general road grime, and tree sap. This product has been specially formulated to break down bug residue, so you can easily spray, activate the wipers, and clear away splatters with ease. Apart from providing a streak-free windshield, it also has a unique citrus scent.
One drawback with this one is that it’s a non-diluting product. If you live in a colder region, it would be a better idea to skip this and get a product with antifreeze properties. It also doesn’t give the best water beading finish.
- It’s important that your windshield wiper fluid reservoir is filled to the correct level. Make sure you regularly check your liquid level using the indicator. A good rule of thumb is to check the level of your windshield washer fluid every time you clean your car.
- Avoid filling the wrong reservoir. Depending on the make of your car, the wiper fluid reservoir and the coolant reservoir might be a bit confusing. The biggest difference between the two is the coolant reservoir has a tube leading to the radiator.
- Carefully read the washer instructions. All washer fluids are different; some need to be diluted, while others are good to go. Some washer fluids are better for cold climates, while others are good for warmer climates.
- Keep a spare container around. It’s always better to be prepared. Carrying a spare container of windshield washer fluid in your trunk could come in handy when you run out driving in rain or snow.
Q: Why can’t I use water?
A: Water doesn’t have any cleaning properties that can tackle, dust, grime, bird droppings, or tree sap. In case you use water and encounter bird droppings or bug residue, it will just smear it all over the windshield, further worsening your visibility.
Q: What’s in windshield wiper fluid?
A: Depending on the manufacturer, products will have different ingredients that are mixed to specific ratios depending on the formula. Windshield washer fluid will likely have ethanol or methanol, depending on its purpose.
Q: How do I add windshield fluid to my car?
A: The first thing you need to do is read the instructions. Find the correct reservoir, open the lid, and fill it up, making sure it matches the indicator. It should be marked with a Maximum Fill Line.
Q: What should I do if the washer fluid is frozen in my reservoir?
A: If you trigger the windshield washer button and nothing happens, do not force it, especially if you suspect the washer fluid is frozen. It could damage the whole system. You will have to wait and check for leaks once it has thawed. Repair the pipes or the reservoir.
Our top pick for the best windshield washer fluid is the Rain-X RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive. This washer fluid is a high-quality product with advanced anti-glare capabilities and is popular for its water-beading technology.
If you are looking to purchase something that is more practical and offers more value, check out Nextzett Kristall Klar Washer Fluid. With just one bottle, you can mix up to 12 gallons of fluid.