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How to ... Top Up Your Screenwash

How to ... Top Up Your Screenwash

How important is screenwash?

It is vital that you have a clear view out of your windscreen when driving. To do this you need to keep your screenwash topped up at all times, so any obstructions can be easily cleaned off. It could even be seen as against the law if you are in an accident which is deemed to be caused by a lack of vision and your screenwash is empty.

Topping up your screenwash can easily be done at home and here's our step by step guide to how ...

How to top up your screenwash

You will need;

  • A bottle of screenwash (available at most garages, car accessory shops and larger supermarkets.)
  • Water - if your screenwash is concentrated
  • A funnel (optional)

Step 1: Mix your screenwash if necessary

There are many types of screenwash available. Some are already mixed for you and others are concentrated and must be mixed with water. If your screenwash is concentrated, please read the instructions printed on the bottle as these will tell you what quantity of screenwash to water needs to be mixed.

Step 2: Raise the bonnet and secure in the open position

The bonnet release catch is usually found in the passenger, or driver, footwell. Once released raise your bonnet and secure in the upright position.

Step 3: Locate your screenwash tank

This could be found anywhere under the bonnet. The screenwash symbol will be displayed. This will show a windscreen shape with water jets. If you are unsure make sure you check the location in your vehicle handbook.

Step 4: Pour in your screenwash

If you would like to reduce the chance of spillages you can use a funnel. 

Step 5: Close the bonnet

Which screenwash should I use?

There are many different types of screenwash available in a variety of colours. The only difference you will need to look out for is the freezing point of the solution. If you live in a very cold place you will need a screenwash with a low freezing point. Most concentrated screenwashes will have a guide to mix different amounts with water for different outside temperatures.

Can I just use water?

It is best to use a screenwash as these have been specially formulated to effectively clear your windscreen. Water will not contain the cleaning agents that screenwash has, so may not be able to remove tough dirt such as tree sap.

Water also has a freezing point of 0ºC. This means pure water will freeze as soon as the temperature dips this low. You will then not be able to clear your windscreen at all until the ice has melted.

Can I use washing up liquid or another household detergent?

This is best avoided. Washing up liquid and household detergents will contain much stronger chemicals than screenwash and may also contain salt. When these come into contact with the paintwork on your car there is a chance they could cause damage. Additionally, household cleaners tend to produce a lot of foam which may hinder your vision when squirted onto the windscreen, or clog up the washer jet nozzles.

Can I also use screenwash as a coolant?

No. Both screenwash and coolant change the freezing temperature of the liquid, but this is where the similarities end. Screenwash contains chemicals to clean and coolant contains additives to reduce corrosion in the moving engine parts.

If you are not confident, please do not attempt to top up your screenwash yourself - contact a trained professional.

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The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.

Driver advice
22 May 2018
Written by Natalie Faughy
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