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    SOS I did something stupid!

    I accidentally put windshield washer fluid into the coolant reservoir. Been driving it for a few days until I realized the mistake. How serious is this, especially with single digit temps?

    Can I use a turkey baster to get it out, and then refill with coolant? Or should I get a mechanic to do a full drain?

    #2
    How much did you put in? What engine?


    It's mixed throughout the whole cooling system, a baster would take till spring. If it was just topping off i'd think you should be ok. If a gallon or so.. i'd flush the system.. that includes the heater core and engine block.
    Wanted: Legit Chem D cut in eastern US.

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      #3
      Used a little less than a gallon. Sounds like a I need to drain the whole cooling system. What engine? Not sure what you mean but the car is a 2011 Nissan Rogue.

      Stupid me. The coolant reservoir looked exactly like the windshield wiper reservoir in my old car.

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        #4
        Small engine=less capacity=higher percentage of contamination.


        Yeah, i'd flush the system. If you do this yourself be aware that glycol is poison to animals and sweet smelling to them.


        Probably find a good video how to if ya Google "Eric the car guy" if needed.
        Wanted: Legit Chem D cut in eastern US.

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          #5
          windshield washer fluid is high content alcohol, most brands. shit does NOT freeze. how is that very different from your antifreeze? alcohol USED to be used as antifreeze years ago. i'm just an old damn hippy, but i wouldn't fret over it too much.
          smoking more pot is NOT the answer to my problems. my problem is that i need more problems that smoking more pot IS the answer to...

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            #6
            Originally posted by armedoldhippy View Post
            windshield washer fluid is high content alcohol, most brands. shit does NOT freeze. how is that very different from your antifreeze? alcohol USED to be used as antifreeze years ago. i'm just an old damn hippy, but i wouldn't fret over it too much.
            You have a point, a little I wouldn't worry about as the alcohol should evaporate off quickly and not raise the freezing point too much. However, with almost a gallon (maybe 1/3 the total capacity?) and that alcohol is much less of a lubricant as antifreeze, it could effect longevity of the water pump bearing/s.


            But I'm a bit anal on my vehicles.
            Wanted: Legit Chem D cut in eastern US.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by armedoldhippy View Post
              windshield washer fluid is high content alcohol, most brands. shit does NOT freeze. how is that very different from your antifreeze? alcohol USED to be used as antifreeze years ago. i'm just an old damn hippy, but i wouldn't fret over it too much.
              True. I'm just shocked did something so stupid. Wasn't even high lol. I've had this car less than a year, trying to keep it in tip top shape, so I'm going to get it drained anyways.

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                #8
                It's a very common mistake. Don't beat yourself up over it and I wouldn't sweat it at all. It will be fine.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Green Squall View Post
                  I accidentally put windshield washer fluid into the coolant reservoir. Been driving it for a few days until I realized the mistake. How serious is this, especially with single digit temps?

                  Can I use a turkey baster to get it out, and then refill with coolant? Or should I get a mechanic to do a full drain?
                  Here's a How-To:

                  Trailer Park Boys - Ricky Explains Gas Siphoning to Cory and Trevor

                  Hopefully, this doesn't happen. LOL

                  Trailer Park Boys - Cory and Trevor's Gas Station
                  I'm probably up to no good.

                  Terpene Amplification

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Any idea what your ratio of mix was before you added the fluids, ethylene glycol:H2O?

                    What was the fluid you added rated to? (they make a wide variety of mixes, and not all are winter rated).

                    Both of those are necessary to determine if what you added is an issue.

                    And if you -do- flush (I would), be aware that many heater cores won't withstand the pressure of a true 'pressure flushing,' and you can cost yourself a new heater core if you're not careful; minimal pressure on the flush is the key to a thorough flush without damaging the coolant and heating system.

                    But yah, I'd flush and replace with proper mix sooner than not.

                    50:50 is good to near -50. 60:40 (antifreeze:H2O) is good to about -60 f. or so. And use distilled water, mixing in clean jugs, to your desired ratio.

                    At least you didn't pump a gasoline engine's fuel tank full of diesel (or vice versa).. Or add coolant to your oil... ;^>)

                    Besides, look at it this way; every mechanical foul-up is an opportunity to stay home, eat well, drink a beer, and smoke a joint.... until you pick a path and your job is done... With the right beer and joint, that might be days of rest and relaxation to be had. ;^>)

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                      #11
                      I logged off to go do other work, when it occurred to me that I don't think anyone has asked this yet, but;

                      Why was your coolant close to a gallon low? Blow a proverbial cork with a partial freeze-up due to improper mix? Leaking fitting or hose on the coolant system? Damaged head gasket, radiator leak, or worse, a cracked block?

                      Seems to me that is potentially a more serious question than whether you brought your coolant:H2O ratio out of whack with the mishap involving the washer fluid.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Better than fueling up with diesel when your vehic runs on unleaded. Cough.
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                          #13
                          Moose: I used the premixed stuff. Always have. The fluid I used was winter rated, so I'm not worrying about it freezing. Its garaged tonight and I'm going to bring it to the mechanic Monday. I'm not much of a car guy so I don't feel comfortable doing it myself.

                          ---

                          Good question about the coolant tank being so low. I'll check where the max/min line is tomorrow, but I've always been good about checking the fluids, so I'm almost positive theres no greater problem. I might have also added less fluid than I originally thought as well. I appreciate you bringing it up though...

                          The car is in good shape. Not even 90,000 miles and had everything checked out this fall at the mechanic whos a family friend. He retiring soon and I'm not looking fwd to finding someone new! Honest mechanics are a rare breed nowadays.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Also thank you to everyone who responded. I've posted on the Nissan Forum in the last and people there are vicious lol. I'd rather get car advice from like minded people

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Green Squall View Post
                              Also thank you to everyone who responded. I've posted on the Nissan Forum in the last and people there are vicious lol. I'd rather get car advice from like minded people
                              They're just not stoned enough over there. Offer them a canna butter brownie with walnuts, wait an hour, and then ask 'em. Probably be a whole different experience.. for all of you..

                              So you didn't put the washer fluid directly into the radiator, but rather into the reservoir, correct?

                              If that's the case, then there's been much less mixing between the two; some, but much less. The radiator fluids expand with the engine heating up, and the extra goes into the reservoir. When the engine cools down, it's supposed to suck it back into the engine. Expansion and contraction of a sealed or semi-sealed system.

                              If your reservoir has been changing levels (not from hot to cold, or vice versa, but hot-to-hot or cold-to-cold comparisons) then you (may/likely) have a breech some place.

                              The overflow hose/tube that leads from immediately below your radiator cap on most vehicles, over to the reservoir, can develop leaks. In that case, it may expel fluids under pressure, and suck air when trying to re-establish level on cooling.

                              Hopefully if you're loosing liquid, it's a minor issue. But in my experience, if your coolant is nearly a gallon low, there's at least some sort of 'trouble in River City.'

                              The nice part of anti-freeze is that it has an indistinguishable odor. And you can locate a leak with a black light some times. (*Plus the added joy of playing with black lights!! )

                              ******!!!!!! If you -do- have a leak, sufficient to cause any pooling/puddles near your vehicle, make sure to keep any pets (yours or others) away from it. If you're using traditional ethylene glycol for coolant (as opposed to the purportedly safer more environmentally sound newer blends), it can shut down their kidneys and lead quickly to death. And it's sweet both to smell and taste.!!!!*****

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