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Windshield De-icer vs Wiper Fluid: What’s the Difference?

It’s winter time in Alberta and you know what that means: your windshield is going to ice up in the cold. There’s plenty we can do to help our vehicles run through the winter. In terms of seeing through your windshield, however, that comes down to what you have for wiper fluid.
1-1 Car Care DIY Windsheild De-icer
Windshield De-icer vs Wiper Fluid: Know the difference for a clean windshield in winter.

Today, we want to walk through wiper fluid and windshield de-icer. What are they? How are they different? And which one do you need for your vehicle?

The Difference between Wiper Fluid vs Windshield De-icer

Wiper fluid is a liquid that you put into your vehicle for washing your windows. It’s what sprays up when your windshield wipers are doing their work. You often load it in through a small tube, where it sits in a tank until you spray it. Wiper fluid contains methanol, a type of alcohol, that helps clean get rid of the dust, dirt and bugs that can accumulate. There are also varieties that contain de-icing compounds that can help melt ice on your windshield or prevent it from accumulating, too. But to truly de-ice your windshield on those cold prairie winter days, you may want to turn to windshield de-icer.

Most people think that windshield de-icer is simply wiper fluid with de-icing compounds. Some wiper fluids even advertise themselves as windshield de-icer, but they aren’t. Windshield de-icer is a chemical compound that you apply directly to your windshield with a spray. The chemicals in de-icer lower the melting point of the ice, turning it into a liquid for easier removal. For the very cold mornings, de-icer can often help break up particularly stubborn sections of ice on your windshield and car windows so that you don’t have to spend as much time scraping.

De-icer is also particularly helpful for people with reduced mobility who can’t do intense windshield scraping every morning. Simply spray the solution on and give it a brush or light scraping to get rid of the ice easily and get to where you’re going!

Do I Need Windshield De-icer?

In the cold winters you experience here, it isn’t a bad idea grabbing a couple of bottles of windshield de-icer to have on-hand. It can help getting out of your driveway a lot faster and with less effort. In general, a bottle can do your entire car four times, so it doesn’t hurt to have a few bottles kicking around so you don’t get caught without it.

Where Can I Find Windshield De-icer?

Your local car care shop or garage will have both windshield de-icer and wiper fluid. Make sure that you find the right kind for your needs. Your local shop can also help you get everything you need for driving in the winter, from scrapers to emergency kits. No matter where you’re going, it’s important to be prepared when driving in the winter.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Davis Chevrolet for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.
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