Windscreen Washers freezing and staying frozen once car warm

Scoob

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Hey all,

So, I've had my car for almost five years now and during that time, despite some very cold weather, my windscreen washers had never frozen. The rear one has but never the front. I assumed this was due to the heater washers the dealer spoke about and I never had any reason to doubt this. Until now.

For whatever reason, these past few months my washers have frozen solid during the little cold snaps. For example, it was only -1.5c last night on my way home but, even after a 40 minute drive, my washers remained totally and utterly frozen, not even the slightest bit of fluid escaping.

Now, I assume the fluid is good, it was all topped up at the last service and, not doing many miles, I'm still on that same top-up, not needing to add any additional fluid during that time. I understand the freezing point of the fluid is well below what we'd regularly expect during a UK winter, and certainly far far lower than the -1.5c it was last night.

I'm aware rain / snow might possibly freeze the washer jets, but I'd expect engine heat to sort that (like it has in every other car I've had ever) once it gets up to temperature, even if the washer heaters fail.

Over my almost five years of ownership, I've found out various things the Mercedes dealers sales staff told me about the car is BS, so now I wonder if I even have heated washers! If I do have them and they have failed I'd expect a message of some sort, so I'm doubtful now lol. Also, even if they're not heated, I'm shocked the engine heat didn't thaw them out eventually - I did a 40+ minute drive after all and it was just -1.5c not the -10c and below other countries can often experience.

Basically, are my heated washers a myth & why are my front washers only freezing this winter and never in the past? The washers work fine when it's above freezing.

Cheers,

Scoob.
 

drmw

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could this not be the nozzles freezing?
 

EmilysDad

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Are there 2 wires going to each washer? These are for the heaters when fitted.
Don't forget there's a wind chill effect over each washer jet when you're driving. Also if the screen wash isn't strong enough there's still a good chance it'll freeze in the pipe work on its way to the washer jets. Chances are you just need a stronger mix of decent screen wash. What did they top your washer bottle up with at the last service? It could've been tap water, cheapest screen wash they could buy or the merest splash of a reasonable screen wash ..... who knows?
 
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Scoob

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could this not be the nozzles freezing?

I guess it could, though this is the first year it's happened. Plus it's exactly what I thought the heated washer option was there to prevent, hence thinking it's failed.

Are there 2 wires going to each washer? These are for the heaters when fitted.
Don't forget there's a wind chill effect over each washer jet when you're driving. Also if the screen wash isn't strong enough there's still a good chance it'll freeze in the pipe work on its way to the washer jets. Chances are you just need a stronger mix of decent screen wash.

I've not looked, are they easy to spot? I can pop out in a bit and have a look.

Washer fluid should be the proper stuff - my car is serviced at STAR Motor Services in Reading and I'm sure they use the proper stuff. They've been looking after my car for three years now.

Scoob.
 

umblecumbuz

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I'm guessing that when you found no fluid coming out of the nozzles you tried repeatedly thereafter in the hope that they might begin working.

If that is the case, it is possible that you've either blown a fuse or even burnt out the tiny washer motor. One way of telling is to sit in the car with the engine off and listen when you press the washer stalk. You should hear a faint hum - the washer motor running. If you hear nothing, the time has come to get it properly checked out.
 
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Scoob

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I'm guessing that when you found no fluid coming out of the nozzles you tried repeatedly thereafter in the hope that they might begin working.

If that is the case, it is possible that you've either blown a fuse or even burnt out the tiny washer motor. One way of telling is to sit in the car with the engine off and listen when you press the washer stalk. You should hear a faint hum - the washer motor running. If you hear nothing, the time has come to get it properly checked out.

No, I pressed it once and nothing happened, so I only tried again after I'd driven for a while and the car was fully up to temperature. I then tried again near home. Just a quick tap each time, not holding it down. Also, the car would almost certainly register a blown fuse, considering how much they seem to keep track of these days.

I'll test it again later - it's thawing rapidly here - but all the issues I'm having would/should have been eliminated by functional washer heaters. Like I said, this is the first Winter I've ever had issues like this.

Scoob.
 

keefysher

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Have you actually got washer fluid in the bottle? Do you only get it topped up at a service?
 

umblecumbuz

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'Now, I assume the fluid is good ...'
'I'm still on that same top up ...'
'Also, the car would almost certainly register a blown fuse ...'


To me, these comments suggest that you haven't actually checked for yourself. It would pay both to check the fluid level in the reservoir and to listen for the sound of the pump motor when you activate the washers. Anything else is just shooting in the dark.
 
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Scoob

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Have you actually got washer fluid in the bottle? Do you only get it topped up at a service?

Lol, sorry, should have lead with that, plenty of fluid of course. I'm daft, but not that daft.

'Now, I assume the fluid is good ...'
'I'm still on that same top up ...'
'Also, the car would almost certainly register a blown fuse ...'


To me, these comments suggest that you haven't actually checked for yourself. It would pay both to check the fluid level in the reservoir and to listen for the sound of the pump motor when you activate the washers. Anything else is just shooting in the dark.

Sorry, by assuming it's good I meant good quality rather than cheap stuff, not that there actually is some. There's plenty, plus the car tells me when it gets low - I think I've topped it up like once or twice since having the car. However, not for ages I've not done the miles nor needed to wash the screen much since the last service.

I popped out to the car earlier - it was showing -0.5c - started it and the washers worked perfectly right away. Sure, it's a little warmer than last night plus no wind chill.

So, back to my original point, why have my washers been so prone to freezing up this Winter and not prior ones? Also, even if they turn out not to be heated and the dealer was wrong, I'm still surprised that engine heat over a sustained period wasn't enough. Plenty of my cars have suffered from frozen washers initially, but they were usually fine after 10 minutes or so of Driving. I will try to check for washer heater wires when I get a little longer. While only just below freezing when I popped out to the car earlier, it was still too cold to be tinkering as its damp and there's a slight breeze.

Scoob.
 

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It could simply be that the screen wash has been diluted too much and is now freezing when the temperature drops towards 0 C.
Try topping up with neat good quality winter screen wash.
 

EmilysDad

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I guess it could, though this is the first year it's happened. Plus it's exactly what I thought the heated washer option was there to prevent, hence thinking it's failed.



I've not looked, are they easy to spot? I can pop out in a bit and have a look.....

They should be. Look at the back of the nozzle where they fit on the bonnet .... move the insulation a little & they should be obvious.
 

EmilysDad

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And cars don't tell you when fuses blow .... not even a Merc ;)
 
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Scoob

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It could simply be that the screen wash has been diluted too much and is now freezing when the temperature drops towards 0 C.
Try topping up with neat good quality winter screen wash.

I guess condensation build up over time could have diluted it. Or perhaps even lack of use leading to water ingress from the jets which then froze. Still odd how these weren't warmed by the engine though.

They should be. Look at the back of the nozzle where they fit on the bonnet .... move the insulation a little & they should be obvious.

My nozzles aren't on the bonnet, they're in the plastic grille at the bottom of the windscreen. I'd suspect any wires would be under this and not visible. I'll pop the bonnet tomorrow and have a closer look.

Scoob.
 
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Scoob

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And cars don't tell you when fuses blow .... not even a Merc ;)

Really? While it's been very very infrequent, a couple of my cars have informed me of blown fuses. My old 1989 Mazda 323F (loved that car, it was 10 years old when I got it!) and I think my Audi A4 (a 1995 car, again 10+ years old when I got it) did too...but I might be miss-remembering that one.

Scoob.
 

EmilysDad

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I guess condensation build up over time could have diluted it. Or perhaps even lack of use leading to water ingress from the jets which then froze. Still odd how these weren't warmed by the engine though.
That would some build up of condensation ;)

My nozzles aren't on the bonnet, they're in the plastic grille at the bottom of the windscreen. I'd suspect any wires would be under this and not visible. I'll pop the bonnet tomorrow and have a closer look.

Scoob.
If you can find the nozzles, then the 12 volt supply should be obvious if they're heated.
 

EmilysDad

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Really? While it's been very very infrequent, a couple of my cars have informed me of blown fuses. My old 1989 Mazda 323F (loved that car, it was 10 years old when I got it!) and I think my Audi A4 (a 1995 car, again 10+ years old when I got it) did too...but I might be miss-remembering that one.

Scoob.

The only way any car of mine has told me a fuse has blown is when the thing is was feeding didn't work :D
 

SRE

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Enter your VIN here and heated washers should show on the decoder as option 875 if fitted.

If so, might be worth checking the fuses!
 

umblecumbuz

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The only way any car of mine has told me a fuse has blown is when the thing is was feeding didn't work :D

There lies the key.
It is not a blown fuse that the display registers - it is, as EmilysDad says, the malfunctioning item that is detected and registers on the display panel.
 

GlosRichCLK

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Lot of speculation and assumption by the OP, don't assume what a garage puts in your car.
Doesn't matter about heated jets, you just need stronger screenwash, probably down to -10 this time of year, as the ambient maybe -1, but the windchill the jets get is probably -10.
Or do what the Russians do, add some cheap vodka.
 

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