- Helping you drive happy

Fluid Foibles

I have a bone to pick with the auto industry, and this is something that’s been getting on my nerves since I started driving well over 15 years ago. The annoyance began the very first time I had to refill my windshield wiper fluid. 

That last sentence alone should be enough to make you nod your head in agreement (that is, if I’m right in assuming I’m not alone here), and I’ve not even told you what the actual problem is yet. We all know. We all feel the same way.

So, why am I still wasting the top half of every bottle of windshield wiper fluid trying to aim for the opening that’s always too far down and buried in the engine so I have to hold the massive bottle high up and upside down for better aim? Why am I watching my precious (and bloody expensive in the winter) fluid splosh and spray all over my engine/pants/car? Why has no one thought to rectify this year after year, car model after car model? 

I’m no engineer (this is made abundantly clear to me on many occasions), but hear me out, as I have a few ideas on how we can stop this needless fluid foible. 

Ever used a bendy straw? Well, that elbow of plastic is extendable thanks to the corrugated bits. So, why not attach one of those to either the spout of the fluid bottle or to the opening of the windshield-wiper fluid receptacle? That way, I can bring the openings closer together, eliminating the flailing stream of fluid that inevitably ends up everywhere but the opening.  

Or how about an oversized funnel? I suppose if you were uber prepared you could purchase your own and bring it with you in the car for wiper-fluid fill-ups, but then why should I be the one to correct these mistakes? Have we not been at this whole windshield-wiper-fuild-fill-up game long enough? 

This winter I tried every trick in the book from the agonizingly slow pour (still managed to spray all over the engine cover and couldn’t get any in the actual opening until that first ¼ of liquid cleared the bottle and I could pour normally), to the like-a-band-aid quick pour (which simply resulted in the first portion of the fluid ending up on my boots and pants). 

Perhaps then the fault lays in the windshield-wiper-fluid packaging. Would it not be smart to sell the fluid in a bottle that featured a detachable spout? Or was perhaps shaped more like a watering can or teapot? Of course that would only further increase the price of the precious liquid, no doubt. 

Maybe I’m barking up a tree that no one even cares about, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I curse the car/bottle every time I have to refill the windshield wiper fluid, and it doesn’t matter what make/model I’m driving. Every. Single. Time.  And don’t even get me started on actual windshield wiper performance…