Freezing Temperatures:
Selecting Effective Windshield Washer Fluid

This page was last reviewed December 6, 2012


Travelling to areas with freezing temperatures?

Not all windshield wiper fluid remains effective in freezing temperatures. When you require windshield wiper fluid for use in freezing temperatures, select the appropriate formula.

Windshield washer fluid sold in a concentrated form should have instructions for mixing for areas where winter temperatures are routinely below 32F  (Type "A") and the rest of the state. If you are traveling to areas with freezing temperatures, or expect to experience freezing temperatures, use the mixing instructions for Type "A" areas.

All retailers are allowed to offer concentrates that will perform well in freezing weather, when the proper mixing instructions are followed. These concentrates can be sold anywhere at any time, if properly labeled.

Retailers may only offer ready-to-use fluid for icy weather conditions in limited regions of the State because these formulations contribute to the formation of smog. Some areas of California – typically those at high elevation [Type "A" areas] – have low seasonal temperatures that require fluid formulations that do not freeze.

In lower elevation regions of California the ready-to-use fluid typically sold will not provide adequate freeze protection if you are travelling where freezing temperatures are expected.

For more information:

California Air Resources Board