Factory prep question -> window wash liquid

The weather's now starting to get icy, so it's time to fill up with antifreeze liquid (usual glycol solution) for the window washing system.
Thing is, the reservoir's still almost full of the washing liquid they
put in in the factory (car's only 6 weeks old). I don't want to have the lines freezing and splitting.
Question: Do they put in anti-freeze wash liquid at the factory, or just plain water (cheaper)? If it's the former, I'll just wait until the reservoir's empty before filling up with glycol.
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Class-1 wrote:

I don't know anyone that puts plain water in there ever. It's got antifreeze in it. But it's not glycol. That would make a mess on the windshield.
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-Fred W

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You're joking, right? Why would anyone put antifreeze and not just detergent into the windshield water unless the temperatures are below 0? Especially considering the fact that alcohols (methanol, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, sometimes also glycol) in antifreeze degrade and harden the rubber in the windshield wipers.
It makes sense to have antifreeze as an engine coolant, but that's because the glycol not only lowers the freezing point but also raises the boling point. But in windshield washing liquid?
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The 20/10 winter formula cleaner I have in my garage has methanol in it. I would not use ethylene glycol. I always replace my wipers in the spring, because they're crap by then after a winter of ice/show/road grit/etc.
FloydR
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Because I think that is what they do.
DAS
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Jan Kalin wrote:

No, I'm not joking at all. Do you drain and fill your washer system each fall and spring? I know nobody (and I mean absolutely nobody) that uses anything but the regular inexpensive washer fluid in a gallon bottle that has both cleaner and antifreeze in the solution. Why make life more complicated than it has to be?
Detergent? I don't think so... unless you mean in a generic additive way. Adding detergent to the washer bottle would be a ghreat way to strip the wax off the car's finish.
As far as the wiper blades, they are usually long gone before the small amount of alcohol has any effect on them.
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Apparenty I use inordinate ammounts of water to clean my windshield. But I can't stand dirty windshield, so I frequently wash it. I go through a 3.2l reservior in a few weeks. The system doesn't need to be drained, I just wait until the temperatures threaten to drop below freezing and then top up the reservior with antifreeze, e.g., http://www.sonax.com/sonax-e/katalog_product.php?show_cat &show_product32509 From then on until the end of winter I use a 1:1 mixture of antifreeze (useful down to -38C) and water (it's almost never belov -20C here). In spring I simply wait until temperatures are above freezing and then use a mixture of additive (see below) and water.
The reason? Perhaps silly, considering all the other junk that a car puts out into the atmosphere, but I try not to pollute the environment more than is necessary, i.e., I don't use alcohol and antifreeze in the summer, when they're not needed. Also I find that water with the summer cleaning additive simply works better than antifreeze and water.

Yes, I meant something like SONAX cleaning additive, e.g., http://www.sonax.com/sonax-e/katalog_product.php?show_cat=8&show_product '1141

But they do tend to go out a bit faster in the winter. I'm *am* aware that there are factors afecting the degradation and the alcohol is probably a very small part of it.
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Doesn't glycol damage paint? The antifreeze in screenwash is something else?
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Now that you mention it, I don't know if it's glycol - I assumed it is from memory.
In any case, it's a standard ready-to-pour alcohol-based washing solution that I pick up at my local "brand name" gas station.
Been using this brand over the last two winters on my previous E46, and had no ill effects + I always get new wiper blades in spring anyway.
I was fortunate that they stock it, as it doesn't smell as offensively as some of the cheaper mixtures they sell at places like supermarkets. No doubt there might be all kinds of nasty stuff in there that you don't want in/on your BMW.
BTW - Some of you use methanol mixtures? Isn't that a touch too flammable to be spraying around a hot engine - especially if you have headlamp washers??
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Methanol is no more flammable than alcohol. And since they're both used in low concentrations in an aqueous solution in window cleaner, they won't burn anyway.
FloydR
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wrote

To be a pedant methanol is alcohol! As is ethanol etc!
Roger
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