Bulk washer fluid at gas station

Messages
7,425
Location
California
Be interested to see how many people end up with Legionnaires Disease as a result of that practice. Similar situation that happened all over the UK about a decade ago.
The conditions in a HVAC system encourage growth of the bacteria that causes legionnaire’s disease. It can grow in a washer system - methanol or a surfactant keeps the bacteria from colonizing. Quaternary disinfectants(anything with n-alkylated ammonium chlorides or benzalkonium chloride as the active such as Clorox wipes or Lysol) are essentially surfactants that disrupt the cell walls of most bacterium and virii. Those have demonstrated antimicrobial performance.
 
Messages
4,865
Location
Lakeville, MN
In regards to the systems with the tanks that feed the windshield washing squeegees and at some locations for sale, I'd not bother at -20F fluid.

I can't recall for certain, but at least one of the stations nearby that uses this system perpetually has slushy squegees anytime the temp is below around 5 or so... perhaps the fluid isn't the -20 stuff, but who knows.

Second, practice here I've had much better luck with the fluids rated at -35F or so in our climate. I've found the -20 stuff to often freeze in some of the smaller washer hoses or nozzles at warmer temps. Perhaps the Methanol evaporated, but regardless... Your mileage may vary, but since I swtiched to the -35 stuff, I've had very, very few winter performance issues.

Last, on the legionnaire's disease, its an interesting pathway. A quick google search shows a flurry of articles and information around 2010 and 2014, but not a lot else. Many of the articles noted that while it was possible, there was not enough information yet to suggest that it was a common pathway to people contracting it. More research was needed...
 
Messages
7,425
Location
California
A washer bottle sees more temperature changes than a HVAC air handler or cooling tower/chiller. And most of the run-off from the washer nozzles goes away from the cowl plenum on a car.
 
Messages
145
I live in a California mountain community. We get snow a few times a year. Last winter I bought a gallon of Xtreme Blue brand washer fluid, rated to -15 degrees F at the local NAPA store. It has a big yellow label notation that it meets the CARB (California Air Resources Board) Type A regulations regarding VOC emissions or some such standards.

I asked the guys at NAPA if there were any restrictions regarding the disposal of the 3/4 of a gallon of older washer fluid that I had that wasn't rated to that low of a temperature and they said no, you can pour it down the drain if you want.

So yes, you can buy the "good" washer fluid here in Commiefornia.
 
Messages
391
Location
Southeastern, PA
Call me crazy, but I go through several gallons of washer fluid each year in my car. It is surprising to hear that there are people that can go years without refilling. I usually keep 2-3 gallons of the stuff in the garage (especially during the winter) so it can readily be refilled. $1.78/gallon at Walmart for the -20F washer fluid.
 
Messages
381
Location
New Jersey
I buy +/- 150 gals of WWF per week to fill customers reservoirs as part of their O/F/L service.
My waste oil company is also in the washer solvent business. I grew tired of buying 55 gallon drums
of methanol and the blue concentrate. It's cheaper to buy in gallon containers from WalMart but at
these volumes it is not practical.
I personally use the Rain-X winter formula.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GON
Messages
10,531
Location
MA
Call me crazy, but I go through several gallons of washer fluid each year in my car. It is surprising to hear that there are people that can go years without refilling. I usually keep 2-3 gallons of the stuff in the garage (especially during the winter) so it can readily be refilled. $1.78/gallon at Walmart for the -20F washer fluid.
That's normal. I usually go through 3-4 gallons myself. I don't like to stockpile it though so I usually end up with one gallon at the end of the year and then I just add a bit of water for the summer. Diluted windshield washer is better at cleaning than pure windshield washer fluid. A few times I've been driving in the snow and want my headlamp washers to kick in, but there's no button for it, so I have to use the windshield washer fluid more, it only comes at the 5th use of windshield washer fluid with the lights on. At least mine holds more than a gallon, when the warning light on low windshield washer fluid comes on, I can toss in a whole gallon and then get rid of the jug. In previous cars, they only held 3/4 of a gallon so you'd have 1/4 of a gallon sitting around taking up space.
 
Messages
4,912
Location
Ohio
they're connected to each reservoir and each has a valve for filling so the fluid for those is always nice and clean.
How does the old fluid get out ? At most of the nearby Speedway stations, I don't think they've replaced the water in theirs for a decade. Just keep adding washer fluid every so often.... If you get near them, you can smell the horrendous stench !
 

TmanP

Thread starter
Messages
649
Location
Southern MN & Omaha NE
How does the old fluid get out ? At most of the nearby Speedway stations, I don't think they've replaced the water in theirs for a decade. Just keep adding washer fluid every so often.... If you get near them, you can smell the horrendous stench !
The site mentions that the company comes to service the tanks... I assume they suck out and clean out the tanks every couple weeks. Kwik Trips' fluid is usually very clean - no smell, no oil, etc. I do know the smell you're referring to, though. Yuck.
 
Messages
706
Location
Indiana
Call me crazy, but I go through several gallons of washer fluid each year in my car. It is surprising to hear that there are people that can go years without refilling. I usually keep 2-3 gallons of the stuff in the garage (especially during the winter) so it can readily be refilled. $1.78/gallon at Walmart for the -20F washer fluid.
There was a time when I lived in a place that got more snow and I commuted and drove alot, that I could go thru a gallon of washer fluid in a week. The salt spray on your windshield was constant during certain conditions.

A black car could appear white after driving around in that junk after a week.
 
Messages
2,696
Location
San Rafael, CA
That's normal. I usually go through 3-4 gallons myself. I don't like to stockpile it though so I usually end up with one gallon at the end of the year and then I just add a bit of water for the summer. Diluted windshield washer is better at cleaning than pure windshield washer fluid. A few times I've been driving in the snow and want my headlamp washers to kick in, but there's no button for it, so I have to use the windshield washer fluid more, it only comes at the 5th use of windshield washer fluid with the lights on. At least mine holds more than a gallon, when the warning light on low windshield washer fluid comes on, I can toss in a whole gallon and then get rid of the jug. In previous cars, they only held 3/4 of a gallon so you'd have 1/4 of a gallon sitting around taking up space.
Yeah, I'd say I use a few gallons a year per vehicle as well.

I mostly get it for free from work though. Whenever we have leaky containers or partial leftovers we use them in the company vehicles and our personal vehicles. I do end up buying it occasionally but that's usually when I need it right then and there. Or for friends/family that again, I need it right away, can't wait for a leaker to be floating around.

I always buy the cheap blue stuff. Not a fan of the green Rain-X brand stuff personally. Seems too thick?
 
Messages
3,476
Location
Parts Unknown
True, our stuff only goes down to +32. There is some 0+ degree stuff on a overstock shelf somewhere at the local autozone, but that cannot be sold due to legal reasons. Most of the time, if I worry about it freezing over, I just toss in about half a quart of 91% alcohol. A gallon with about that much alcohol will get through most california winters.
You can get the 0 degree stuff in Bishop, on your way to Mammoth.
 
Messages
10,531
Location
MA
I always buy the cheap blue stuff. Not a fan of the green Rain-X brand stuff personally. Seems too thick?
I always use the cheap blue stuff. Both cars have a fluid level sensors and the non blue stuff screws it up. Already had one go bad. Different fluid gives it a different electrical characteristic.
 
Messages
12,954
Location
North Carolina
I just had to take the windshield washer pump off my sons saturn. I thought it was bad, it would run but not pump, lines clear. I found the screen clogged with blue goo! Cyan blue goo all over the screen. I have no idea what that was from, the reservoir was full of washer fluid. Cleaned it, cleaned the tank and it worked great.
 
Messages
5,371
Location
down in the park
you guys reminded me I bought washer concentrate a while back. down to -60C. We're going to the eifel mountains tomorrow to do some hiking in the snow, maybe I can poor some stuff in now. If I can locate the gallon jug. Otherwise I also have 95% ethanol somewhere
 
Messages
17,741
Location
NH
I stock up on the winter washer fluid during winter. I have no idea why but I only go through maybe a gallon per year. Thus it's just easier to use only winter stuff. Seems like too much work to save a buck here, when it's only a couple bucks per year of a cost.

The wife might go through more than one but she prefers the orange Rain-X stuff and so she just buys her own and adds it.
 
Top