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  #1  
Old 01-21-2019, 05:58 PM
Meltbox360 Meltbox360 is offline
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Good Windshield Washer Fluid

Hi all,
Recently I had to refill my washer fluid and went though a series of adventures. I first bought some rain-x purple fluid rated to -30F. It was the de-icer fluid they sell. I however read that rain-x has caused some sensors in newer German cars to stop working. This is supposedly due to the fact that our cars basically measure the resistance of the fluid to determine if it is low. I had already poured some of the bottle in at the time so I went and bought some generic walmart blue fluid as soon as I could to replace it. Sprayed all of the fluid out and replaced it with some 'Super Tech De-Icer' fluid rated to -25F and thought I was in the clear....

The next day I got the 'low fluid' warning. This is generally what happens when rain-x ruins your sensor. I drove to a dealership and bought BMW branded windshield washer fluid and then drove to get some distilled water. Flushed the system with distilled water and the poured in the BMW fluid. Everything works now!

So this brings me to my current question. What do you guys use? Have you ever run into problems? Does anyone use Rain-x without any sort of issues? If so can you list the color and the temperature rating? I'm going to try to make a list here of known bad and known good windshield washer fluids.

I also found that the car will not detect pure distilled water and will just continue to display the low washer fluid warning. This makes sense as distilled water is not conductive which is how the sensor checks for the presence of fluid.

Known good:
[-??F] BMW Windshield Washer Antifreeze (Concentrate, silver bottle 500ml)
[-25F] BMW Windshield Washer Fluid 35% with Antifreeze


Known bad (low fluid warning):
[-25F] Super Tech De-Icer
[ 32F] Distilled Water


Known bad (ruins sensor):





I will add to this list as people chime in. I haven't added the rain-x to the known bad as it didn't cause me any issues. I am however reluctant to ever try it again. I have only read of the orange one (-20F?) causing damage so I don't want to put the purple one (-30F) in the no go category unjustly. My sensor did not detect the Super Tech but was also not damaged permanently by it.

If anything I wrote contradicts your experience please also let me know. Just trying to figure out what is safe for our cars and what is not. Perhaps formulations have changed lately and nothing permanently damages the sensors anymore??

Last edited by Meltbox360; 01-21-2019 at 05:59 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2019, 03:59 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Learn to find and read Safety Data Sheets. Rain-X brand has been sold and resold.

I make my own windshield washer solution of distilled water and methanol-denatured ethanol.

Note that our WW reservoirs are in the engine compartment to be warmed by the engine heat, and that the nozzles are heated.

For hydrophobic windshield I use / used Aqua Pel. I believe that I applied it three years ago and it is still effective.
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Old 01-22-2019, 04:21 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Washer fluid level sensor, a capacitive sensor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltbox360 View Post
This is supposedly due to the fact that our cars basically measure the resistance of the fluid to determine if it is low.
newTIS.infobeta
Home / BMW F30 328i Sedan / Electrical Components / Connectors / Components / Components with B / B17a Washer fluid level sensor /
Washer fluid level sensor

“The washer fluid level sensor detects a drop below the required washer fluid level in the washer fluid reservoir. The washer fluid level sensor is attached on the side in the washer fluid reservoir.

The washer fluid level sensor is a capacitive sensor (no more reed contact).

Functional description

The sensor is a capacitive fill level sensor with contactless measurement through two small lances.
[ ... ]
Diagnosis instructions Failure of the component

If the washer fluid level sensor fails, the following behaviour is to be expected: No fault code entry
”

https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/f...ensor/HHl5rJly
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  #4  
Old 01-22-2019, 05:38 AM
montr montr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Learn to find and read Safety Data Sheets. Rain-X brand has been sold and resold.

I make my own windshield washer solution of distilled water and methanol-denatured ethanol.

Note that our WW reservoirs are in the engine compartment to be warmed by the engine heat, and that the nozzles are heated.

For hydrophobic windshield I use / used Aqua Pel. I believe that I applied it three years ago and it is still effective.
What is the ratio of water and methanol? What is the freezing temperature of the mixture?
Thanks
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2019, 06:10 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montr View Post
What is the ratio of water and methanol? What is the freezing temperature of the mixture? Thanks
The methanol fraction of the ethanol is minuscule, just enough to make it unpalatable for tax purposes.

At the moment it’s about 1:3 and liquid at our current ~0°F. The ratio is sufficient for freezing point depression.
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Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)
Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.
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  #6  
Old 01-22-2019, 08:41 AM
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tex2670 tex2670 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltbox360 View Post
Hi all,
Recently I had to refill my washer fluid and went though a series of adventures. I first bought some rain-x purple fluid rated to -30F. It was the de-icer fluid they sell. I however read that rain-x has caused some sensors in newer German cars to stop working. This is supposedly due to the fact that our cars basically measure the resistance of the fluid to determine if it is low. I had already poured some of the bottle in at the time so I went and bought some generic walmart blue fluid as soon as I could to replace it. Sprayed all of the fluid out and replaced it with some 'Super Tech De-Icer' fluid rated to -25F and thought I was in the clear....

The next day I got the 'low fluid' warning. This is generally what happens when rain-x ruins your sensor. I drove to a dealership and bought BMW branded windshield washer fluid and then drove to get some distilled water. Flushed the system with distilled water and the poured in the BMW fluid. Everything works now!

So this brings me to my current question. What do you guys use? Have you ever run into problems? Does anyone use Rain-x without any sort of issues? If so can you list the color and the temperature rating? I'm going to try to make a list here of known bad and known good windshield washer fluids.

I also found that the car will not detect pure distilled water and will just continue to display the low washer fluid warning. This makes sense as distilled water is not conductive which is how the sensor checks for the presence of fluid.

Known good:
[-??F] BMW Windshield Washer Antifreeze (Concentrate, silver bottle 500ml)
[-25F] BMW Windshield Washer Fluid 35% with Antifreeze


Known bad (low fluid warning):
[-25F] Super Tech De-Icer
[ 32F] Distilled Water


Known bad (ruins sensor):





I will add to this list as people chime in. I haven't added the rain-x to the known bad as it didn't cause me any issues. I am however reluctant to ever try it again. I have only read of the orange one (-20F?) causing damage so I don't want to put the purple one (-30F) in the no go category unjustly. My sensor did not detect the Super Tech but was also not damaged permanently by it.

If anything I wrote contradicts your experience please also let me know. Just trying to figure out what is safe for our cars and what is not. Perhaps formulations have changed lately and nothing permanently damages the sensors anymore??
I buy whatever the blue (not purple or orange) stuff that Walmart sells with -20* rating; never had an issue with the sensor in 4 years.
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  #7  
Old 01-22-2019, 10:47 AM
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Windex All Season -25*F (purple) seems to work well in our 550 and 440
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:08 PM
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I use distilled water plus alcohol, and a few drops of dishwashing detergent.

My 2001 Jetta would then say "LOW WASHER FLUID" until I added just enough tap water to change the conductivity (don't remember exactly the amount but it wasn't much).
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Old 01-23-2019, 05:30 AM
Ol' Fart Ol' Fart is offline
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Living in N/E PA I tend to go through a lot of windshield washer fluid. I've been using the cheap Walmart stuff for the past 10 years without any issues.. I've used it in 3 different BMWs and 2 Audis and never a single issue. I prefer the Rain-x stuff, but have heard the horror stories about ruining sensors, etc. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2019, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Fart View Post
Living in N/E PA I tend to go through a lot of windshield washer fluid. I've been using the cheap Walmart stuff for the past 10 years without any issues.. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
Have you ever looked to see what is in the cheap Wal*Mart stuff to see just how cheap it should be?
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Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
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Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.
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  #11  
Old 01-23-2019, 09:12 AM
ctorrey ctorrey is offline
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I use the BMW stuff. It seems to work great and I love the smell!
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Have you ever looked to see what is in the cheap Wal*Mart stuff to see just how cheap it should be?
Are you suggesting it is Soylent Blue??
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  #13  
Old 01-24-2019, 08:01 PM
TheAirman TheAirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkreidel View Post
Windex All Season -25*F (purple) seems to work well in our 550 and 440
I second the purple stuff at -25F.

It's the "water beading technology" or whatever the snake oil, miracle salve that Rain-X puts in their fluid that ruins the sensor. I have some, and it works great, but I save it for my other "lesser" cars. The cheap blue stuff is garbage. It freezes and hazes right up on a cold day.
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:24 PM
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BMW washer fluid concentrate is only $2.85 at FCP Euro.

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...te-83192221702

The temperature rating depends on how you dilute it.
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:03 AM
Our BMW Our BMW is offline
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I find it amazing that BMW uses level sensing components that are not compatible with off the shelf WW fluids.

I hope what ever the dealer put in my tank last Fall is good to -35 as this week our mornings will be at least -25F.
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:51 PM
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I find it amazing that BMW uses level sensing components that are not compatible with off the shelf WW fluids.
How do you think they get people to buy their branded WW fluid?
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:53 PM
TheAirman TheAirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tex2670 View Post
How do you think they get people to buy their branded WW fluid?
You'd think that with all the modders here, someone would have yanked the sensor out and replaced it with a Japanese one from a Toyota or something and see if that works.

It's probably just a two wire sensor that sets off a light. I doubt there's any "calculating" going on in any computer in the car.

Then we could add the good Rain-X juice.
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Old 01-29-2019, 03:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAirman View Post
You'd think that with all the modders here, someone would have yanked the sensor out and replaced it with a Japanese one from a Toyota or something and see if that works.

It's probably just a two wire sensor that sets off a light. I doubt there's any "calculating" going on in any computer in the car.

Then we could add the good Rain-X juice.
Read above to my citation of NewTIS that the level detector is capacitative and not resistance, and to my comments on Rain-X for auto consumers. Is there an FAA approved Rain-X?
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Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

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Old 01-29-2019, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tex2670 View Post
Are you suggesting it is Soylent Blue??
That was a good one. lol! Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson at their best.
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:01 AM
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That was a good one. lol! Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson at their best.
Charlton Heston at his best is too political to be allowed here.
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Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
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Old 01-29-2019, 08:40 AM
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Charlton Heston at his best is too political to be allowed here.
I shall then eschew it............
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Old 01-29-2019, 06:29 PM
TheAirman TheAirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Read above to my citation of NewTIS that the level detector is capacitative and not resistance, and to my comments on Rain-X for auto consumers. Is there an FAA approved Rain-X?
Actually it's... WAS.... RainBoe. It's a repellent only. No longer used due to a couple of reasons including the environment. Now they use water shedding coated glass just like on a Lexus I had.

The de-icing is done by heat, and the bugs are cleaned off by the poor slob that has to hang out there and use...Windex.

Interesting the use of a capacitance system. Blows my theory about modding the sensor. I'll have to read about it.

I guess no Rain-X for us.
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Old 01-30-2019, 02:39 AM
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In the winter I always use the yellow Prestone washer fluid. You can find it at Walmart and Autozone. Costs a lil more than the cheap blue stuff but I've used it in all my makes of cars with no issues.
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Old 01-30-2019, 03:48 AM
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PolyDiMethylSiloxane from DimethylDiEthOxySilane!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAirman View Post
Actually it's... WAS.... RainBoe. It's a repellent only. No longer used due to a couple of reasons including the environment.

I guess no Rain-X for us.
Boeing RainBoe used a freon as a vehicle to carry Dimethyldiethoxysilane, with limonene and methyl salicylate as detecting fragrances.

Dimethyldiethoxysilane, sometimes abbreviated DMDEOS or DMDES, is an organosilicon compound. DMDEOS is a precursor in the production of the silicone polymer polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS).

Thanks for the interesting reading! I have posted extensively here on BF about PDMS as the active ingredient in my evolving Doug's DIY Shinola formulation.

I haven't looked yet, but rain-repellant glass sounds like AquaPel which is for me very effective, and which I have not been able to get into its formulation. In general Silane attaches to polymer active sites and a polymer needs to be selected that attaches to the glass.

I put AquaPel on about three years ago and it is still effective. I loved learning about their $3 cleaning towelettes of paper, DI water and cerium oxide glassmakers rouge glass polish. I bought a pound of it.
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Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.
(The Works of George Santayana p. 65)

Eschew eristical argumentation. I am responsible for what I write, not for your understanding of it.

Last edited by Doug Huffman; 01-30-2019 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 01-30-2019, 04:48 AM
J-RO J-RO is offline
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I can see why Mr. Huffman is listed as a nuclear engineer.
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