Does the Color of Windshield Wiper Fluid Matter?

Running out of windshield wiper fluid is a major annoyance, especially if you’re trying to see through dirt and snow while driving. Windshield wiper fluid comes in assorted colors, but what do they mean? Different colored windshield wiper fluids can indicate different things: 

  • • Blue: Standard year-round fluid, effective for dust and road dirt. 
  • • Green: Summer driving, effective as a bug remover. 
  • • Orange: All-season with de-icer, effective against ice and road salt. 
  • • Yellow: Winter with de-icer, effective for melting ice off the windshield, with freeze protection up to -34ºF. 
  • • Purple: Concentrated wiper fluid mix for summer. 

Regardless of color, read the label to determine if the windshield wiper fluid you plan to purchase meets your vehicle’s specific needs. If your vehicle has a rain-sensing wiper system, choose fluid that is specifically made for this type of windshield (Rain-X). Residue left on the windshield can confuse the rain-sensing infrared sensor located next to the rear-view mirror, keeping the wipers on even if it’s not raining. Can you put water in windshield wiper fluid? Yes, but you shouldn’t. Water will dilute windshield wiper fluid’s cleaning ability and make it more likely to leave streaks on your windshield. More importantly, the washer fluid reservoir, hoses, nozzles and washer pump can freeze and crack if you forget to empty the water before the temperature drops below freezing.