Unless you’ve been caught without it when you needed it, it’s pretty likely that you haven’t given much thought to your wiper fluid—it’s usually taken care of when you get your oil changed anyway, right? While your wiper fluid is often topped off at the mechanic’s, it’s one of the fluids your car uses that needs your attention.
How often do I need to change my wiper fluid?
The good news about your wiper fluid is that as long as it’s there, you don’t have much to worry about. It’s not like engine oil or transmission fluid and shouldn’t need to be flushed or replaced outside of optional seasonal changes. However, it is part of a system that relies on having enough wiper fluid, so it’s important to keep it full to the appropriate level.
Related: How Often do I Need an Oil Change?
How is windshield wiper fluid used in my car?
Your windshield wiper fluid is part of a closed system designed specifically to clear your windshield. The tank that holds your wiper fluid also houses the pumps that expel it onto the windshield when you need it. These pumps are designed to be submerged in wiper fluid—it keeps them lubricated and working optimally. While these pumps will work with less fluid in the tank, they’ll wear out a lot faster with insufficient fluid. Above all, though, it’s important to keep your wiper fluid topped off because it protects your windshield, your wipers, and you. It acts as a lubricant between your wipers and your windshield when there’s no precipitation which in turn protects your wipers from wearing down due to debris and keeps your windshield from being scratched by that same debris. As far as protecting you, just think about getting stuck behind a car that’s spewing oily smoke—even if it’s just for a few seconds, this could obscure your view and be very dangerous, especially if you can’t clear it away.