Add screen-wash checks to your morning de-icing regime.

Posted on January 20th, 2020 by Rob Marshall

Add screen-wash checks to your morning de-icing regime.Add screen-wash checks to your morning de-icing regime.

It is probably fair to say that much of the UK has enjoyed a relatively mild winter so far. This makes the recent cold-snap more of a shock to the system, especially first thing in the morning, when many school runs/work commutes start with a de-icing programme.

One area that you might not check after scraping windows, lights and mirrors free of frost is whether, or not, the screen-wash jets work. Apart from the safety issue, many drivers are unaware that driving with inoperative windscreen/headlight washers is an offence.

Obviously, should your entire screen-wash system be frozen, it is difficult, or even impossible, to thaw the system out quickly. The frozen solution may have damaged your car, because the resultant expansion risks splitting the screen-wash reservoir and the associated plastic/rubber pipes and jets. The pump motors and fuses can also be damaged, all of which causes ineffective operation that continues long after the cold-snap has passed.

Therefore, when you top-up the system, scour the labelling on any screen-wash bottle carefully for the lowest temperature at which it freezes. Check for any advice about how diluting screen-wash with water reduces its freezing point. Should the language seems vague, suspect that the freezing-resistant qualities are inadequate.

Finally, even with a system brimmed with decent-quality solution, the jets may still not work first-thing on a frosty morning. While some cars possess heated screen-wash jets (check your handbook) they may still benefit being unlocked with de-icer, or warm water, before you set-off.