Windshield Washer Fluid
Whether she knew it at the time or not, Mary Anderson changed how we drive and operate our vehicles on the road. It’s virtually impossible to operate a vehicle without windshield wipers, especially in mild to extreme weather conditions. With that said, it’s safe to assume that no one would prefer to drive without windshield wipers.
However, reviewing the best life-extending practices for something as simple as windshield wipers may not entice most. It is crucial for any driver to know how to maintain their wipers in order to ensure that you are fully prepared in the instance of replacement or repair. This also plays a key factor in overall safety while operating a vehicle and allows for the most visibility when on the roads.
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In the proceeding article, we will be discussing the history of Windshield Washer Fluid Systems, winter protection, and basic practices to ensure your car’s windshield washing system is at peak capacity.
The History of Windshield Wiper Systems
The invention of the first windshield wiper was unveiled as early as 1903 thanks to American inventor and entrepreneur Mary Anderson. Though, not a standard on all cars, it was available for select vehicles or for purchase. By 1916, Windshield wipers had become standard on most vehicles and were widely used by all.
In 1917, the first motorized power windshield wiper was created. During the middle of the 1930’s, the first windshield washer system that allowed for windshield wiper fluid to be sprayed was introduced.
Progressing to the 1940’s, the first combination windshield wiper and washer systems were being used commercially. This improvement of an already revolutionary idea provided additional vehicle safety and made it possible to drive during inclement weather, thus resulting in fewer accidents and injuries.
In the present day, windshield wiper and washer systems have a plethora of features and options. Today wiper systems are designed for ease of use, a more effective coverage of your windshield and to help maintain a clear view while driving.
Keeping up with your Windshield Wiper Systems
When it comes to keeping up with car care maintenance, there are a few areas that the average owner can take care of with little knowledge of the rest of the car. Some of these include checking the fluid levels, checking the tires, and cleaning/replacing windshield wipers. Our focus will be on your windshield wiper fluid and best practices for keeping it full and clean, as to not harm your car.
Regardless of the type of car you have, its windshield wiper fluid should always be kept full. Since your windshield encompasses 90% of your vision, it is imperative to ensure that nothing can cause obstruction to your vision.
Any type of dirt or grime on the windshield can cause glares from the sun that could attribute to your view of the road being impeded. This is definitely a reason for proper care of your wiper blades and fluid systems, as the potential danger due to neglect could cause an unsuitable situation for the driver.
As the climate changes to match the season, more hazards can potentially have a direct effect on driving a vehicle safely. This is especially true during the winter month. Once the roads are covered in salt in order to melt the snow, the road becomes filled with a salt-liquid mixture that inevitably will end up on your windshield.
After your car is coated in a white chalky color, you will find that the sun creates a rather opaque glare on your entire windshield, thus obstructing your view. With a filled wiper fluid container, you’ll be able to clean the salt away and continue driving without worry.
However, if your fluid container is not filled, you are going to need to pull over and clean the obstructed windshield by yourself. Additionally, winter tire pressure can change rather abruptly, a slightly under flatted set of tires could be dangerous when paired with slippery salted roads. Therefore, when you check windshield wiper fluid you should also spend a few extra minutes ensuring your tires are at the correct PSI (pounds per square inch).
The information for the exact PSI that your tires are rated for will be found on the inside of the car door in most cars. If you aren’t able to find it on the inside of the door, your owner’s manual should definitely have it included. However, if you have purchase tires that aren’t directly from your car’s manufacturer, you may need to consult online to see exactly what pressure should be used to inflate.
Keeping Your Windshield System Working Optimally
Like all moving mechanical parts, windshield wipers will eventually wear away. Most car owners will be accustomed to the noise a windshield wiper makes as its rubber coating deteriorates and peels away from the wiper blade itself. A single high-pitched screech is all it takes for a driver to immediately recognized the problem and want it corrected as soon as possible.
Remedying this issue is as simple as going to an auto parts store and purchasing a set of new wiper blades for your car. It’s so easy, in fact, that most auto store’s employees will offer to install the new blades for you.
There are some instances that would indicate that the windshield wiper blade isn’t rotting but just has a piece of debris stuck underneath it. To remedy this, you could simply run a damp towel along the edge of the rubber blade. Doing so will remove any dust, dirt, debris, and grime that builds up over time. This will improve your wiper blade’s lifespan and quality received from the wiper blade throughout its lifetime.
When cleaning the blades, you’ll have the optimal opportunity to check your blades for dry rotted areas, cracks or any other general wear and tear.
The next area to focus would be to inspect the functionality of your windshield washer system. If you notice your windshield washer fluid light illuminate you may want to check the washer fluid level and top it off if needed. It is important to maintain the appropriate mixture of anti-freeze and windshield washer fluid suitable for the surrounding climate. Never use water of any kind in the mixture, as it will freeze in cold weather, or possibly develop bacteria while being left inside the container during the summer.
Always inspect the washer system spray nozzles to make sure they spray evenly across the windshield glass and provide coverage over the entire area that is being cleaned by the wiper blades. When it comes to the accessibility of the windshield there is no argument that unimpeded vision is imperative for safe driving.
Whether it’s a snowstorm, rainstorm or kicked up snow from the back of someone’s tire – you always need to be covered for any situation. DriveSmart’s knowledge base offers multiple articles regarding safe practices when driving and maintaining your vehicle. So, the next time you find yourself with a question as to the operation of a part of your vehicle you know where to go.