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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I'm in Northern California where we usually don't need a windshield washer fluid that in rated below freezing. But because I am in California, CARB, our own California Air Resource Board idiots, has basically outlawed a pre-mixed winter formula from being sold in my area. To get around CARB, parts stores carry additives that will prevent freezing of the 32F "summer" windshield washer fluid that is sold here but all my local parts stores are out of the additives. I want to take the van up to the Sierras and am willing to mix my own concoction using methyl alcohol if I can find it (I was told that its also sold as methyl hydrate in some stores) but was wondering if any of you had a good recipe for this before I experiment with it. I currently have a RainX-like "summer" formula in the system.
 

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Toss a bottle or 2 of 95% rubbing alcohol into the washer resiviour. It mixed well with water based liquids and the pure alcohol freezes at ~-110*F. I would maybe only do 1 bottle first.
 

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Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol will lower it, you can obtain methanol in denatured alcohol available at any Lowe's or Home Depot. I mixed my own in WV by adding about 4 oz. per gallon of regular 32 degree antifreeze. Put it in your freezer and see if it freezes, if not, add some more. You don't want to use pure denatured alcohol or too much as it may damage your finish if it is let sit. I believe methyl hydrate is something else entirely. 40% Isopropyl by volume will lower the freeze point to -5 F. 50/50 is -24 F.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. I will try Home Depot and see if they carry any methanol. I can get 91% isopropanol/rubbing alcohol at the grocery store.

This all has to do with vapor pollution and CARB believes it is a problem. When I was a kid, you could get a winter formula anywhere! If I find the methanol, I will add it in sparingly.
 

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I sometimes have problems finding windshield washer antifreeze here in the Phoenix, Arizona area, but not for the same reason as in low-elevation California. It does freeze here, just frequently enough to be annoying.

For many years, the bubble-pack auto parts places sold blue-dyed washer fluid that had labels proudly proclaiming that it "PROTECTS DOWN TO 32 DEGREES F!" After a while, even the less educated consumers caught on to that silliness. So the next year, the labels proudly proclaimed that their products now "PROTECT DOWN TO ZERO DEGREES C."

Like we used to say on East 14th Street in the Bay Area, Berkely Fire Department.

I have a friend in Basin, Wyoming who brings me the -20F stuff. Before that, I just dumped in several "glugs" of denatured alcohol from Lowes, as mentioned above. About a pint or two of denatured alcohol in your T&C should keep you OK at Yosemite or Tahoe. In a pinch, regular radiator anti-freeze suitable diluted will do, but it is deadly to animals. I avoid it. Propylene glycol antifreeze is OK, though. House brand vodka is also OK and not as wasteful as using Grey Goose or Stoli.
 

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Just to mention, I believe the glycols can be harmful to some paint surfaces, they always warn about it on the bottles, unless am mistaken. And remember, methanol is lethal, it can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin and causes blindness in sufficient amounts, but cannot be made unlethal once in the body. I read that if there are model airplane or car enthusiasts, you can get methanol for as little as 3 dollars a gallon from them, used for fuel. Also, the product "Heet" is made of methanol, used as a gas line deicer and water absorber in fuel systems.
 

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I think that the glycols, and the alcohols for that matter, are most harmful to lacquer finishes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Again, thanks for all the replies. I only made it to WalMart today and couldn't find anything with methanol there but I have seen Heet there before and so maybe another resourceful person/s already purchased it and emptied our store?

Yes, I understand that methanol and isopropanol are dangerous if ingested but so is MTBE which was sanctioned by CARB and that was in our gasoline for YEARS, lol. I am unfortunately living in a nanny state and I bet half the concoctions that people make up are more harmful to the environment than buying a premixed winterized version.

I haven't seen the "safety freeze" anti-freeze with propylene glycol for ages now--safe for the environment but not recommended by OEMs in most cooling systems or so it seems.

A cheap vodka would work. As far as I can tell, methanol protects the best for the alcohols followed by ethanol and then isopropanol. I'll look at the wiki and see what they recommend--thanks everyone for the useful posts.
 

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If you really want that warm fuzzy feeling inside about your fluid being protected, and you're not going anywhere soon, give yourself some of the vodka along with the van. That should do it. lol
 

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I only mentioned methanol being dangerous because many people are unaware that it can be just as dangerous breathing it or through skin contact, and blindness is not reversible. Your car finish, is of course, up to you, but at least if you are not blind you can see how to repaint it.
 

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Is the isopropyl alcohol safe for our modern base-coat/clear-coat paint finishes? If so, I will give that a try. I don't buy any of the pre-mixed fluids because it's always got something in there to "resist bugs", "resist frost", "makes scraping easier", etc. That junk puts a film on the windshield and contaminates the wiper blade inserts.

Can anyone confirm that an alcohol mixture, at a concentration enough to keep the solution from freezing, is safe for paint?
 

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If you really want that warm fuzzy feeling inside about your fluid being protected, and you're not going anywhere soon, give yourself some of the vodka along with the van. That should do it. lol
If one wants smoked glass, dark rum will work best. Pass on the molasss as it isn't a very good bug repellent.

Application:
- use dark rum* sparingly on the windshield.
- put remainer of dark rum in a soup bowl to use as a dip.
- put molasses on sliced bread and dip into soup bowl.
- after devouring several slices, one will be totally defrosted.
- there will be no need to drive, nor should one.
- windshield de-icing problem solved.

*root beer or cola can be substituted for the dark rum. Also removes scum from the windshield, but does not relieve one of the ability to drive.

From "Grandma's Favourite Recipes for Travellers". :lol:
 

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I've always used the Windex Refill, full strength. You can use 50/50 with that Arizona mix. Windex uses Ammonia, which definitely clears the sinuses each time you clear your windows. It won't freeze easily, either.

The "Be Ware Of" is that Ammonia can damage some clear coats. However, after nearly 200kmiles, my clear coat on the hood is long gone, for numerous other reasons. But a little old style waxing in the Summer does well, overall, to keep it shiny. :thumb:
 

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Is the isopropyl alcohol safe for our modern base-coat/clear-coat paint finishes? If so, I will give that a try. I don't buy any of the pre-mixed fluids because it's always got something in there to "resist bugs", "resist frost", "makes scraping easier", etc. That junk puts a film on the windshield and contaminates the wiper blade inserts.

Can anyone confirm that an alcohol mixture, at a concentration enough to keep the solution from freezing, is safe for paint?


I've always used the "cheap" blue premix which I believe is a mixture of water, isopropanol, and perhaps some methanol. I have never had a problem with it damaging synthetic enamel, acrylic enamel, acrylic lacquer, or urethane finishes. The modern polyurethane finishes (usually referred to as "basecoat-clearcoat) are by far, the most chemical damage resistant of the bunch, so I wouldn't be concerned with a mix that would have a freezing point down to -20F. Personally, however, I'd stay away from ethanol, gylcols, and ammonia in the mix. A new twist, however, is "water based" paints. It seems that some manufacturers, as well as repair shops are now using this so-called "environmentally friendly" crap, on vehicles. With this type of paint--all bets are off!
 

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I've always used the Windex Refill, full strength. You can use 50/50 with that Arizona mix. Windex uses Ammonia, which definitely clears the sinuses each time you clear your windows. It won't freeze easily, either.

The "Be Ware Of" is that Ammonia can damage some clear coats. However, after nearly 200kmiles, my clear coat on the hood is long gone, for numerous other reasons. But a little old style waxing in the Summer does well, overall, to keep it shiny. :thumb:
So that explains your absence since late October. You were asphyxiated. Welcome back. :thumb:
 

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So that explains your absence since late October. You were asphyxiated. Welcome back. :thumb:
I wish .........

I'm in Richmond, Virginia, going to college. :biggrin:
My wife's from here, my kids live near Leesburg, Virginia, and we're visiting family, while I re-sharpen my 20 years of computer skills. Need to be up to date on the latest stuff (Microsoft, and Linux, Ugh), so, back to school.

This past week, we're building a computer (Windows 7 Pro) ......
:lol:

And, yes, I'm still running 100% coolant (just had to install a T-stat to make sure it warms up). Still runs nicely in the snow, too. :thumb:
 

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Actually, too much ammonia in the mix can make it more prone to streak, so you have to reach a balance. Water is the best solvent available, detergents, like ammonia, can improve the ability to dissolve fatty residues of bugs. Isopropyl is perfectly safe in the amounts you would want to use, and a few oz.s of methanol or denatured alcohol per gallon will not damage your finish. It is the attitude that more is always better that is dangerous. Actually, when you look at freeze tables, there is a point where more is worse. If you saw my first post I gave you the percentage of Isopropyl to water for -20, if you need less, use less. Actually, unless it is a freeze for more than 4 or 5 hours, or unless there is a driving wind and the car has no protection, you don't have to go to the worst case temperature. I mixed my own after reading several compounds being sold. It was much cheaper adding your own denatured and detergents, like ammonia. But other than the isopropyl, use only oz.s per gallon, not even 10 %.
 

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Hi, I'm new here. Just bought an 06 GC. So far, nothing major. I've been reading this thread and am blown away that you can't buy windshield washer fluid that doesn't freeze. I live in Alberta, Canada, and the only thing you could find at a parts store is windshield washer fluid that is good to -40 degrees, some are -45 degrees. Sometimes you can find summer stuff, in the summer, but barely anyone buys it because if they forget to empty it, they will break something when winter comes.
A side note about methanol. This stuff works wonders on ice, but its dangerous to the human body. If you can smell it, you are way, way, way over the occupational health and safety limit.
 

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Hi, I'm new here. Just bought an 06 GC. So far, nothing major. I've been reading this thread and am blown away that you can't buy windshield washer fluid that doesn't freeze. I live in Alberta, Canada, and the only thing you could find at a parts store is windshield washer fluid that is good to -40 degrees, some are -45 degrees. Sometimes you can find summer stuff, in the summer, but barely anyone buys it because if they forget to empty it, they will break something when winter comes.
A side note about methanol. This stuff works wonders on ice, but its dangerous to the human body. If you can smell it, you are way, way, way over the occupational health and safety limit.
Welcome to the board AM-Radio. California has some really weird laws, some of which cause more problems than they are worth, such as preventing the sale of washer fluid that doesn't freeze...
 
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