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Windshield Washer Fluid Gauge

In heavy snow, it's especially dangerous to be caught on the road with too little fluid.
  [vote for,

Unless I haven't been driving the right cars, (which I admit is quite possible) I have yet to see a car with standard equipment including a gauge that indicates level of windshield washer fluid. Why the big secret?

Why make us open the whole hood to check? What if you used a lot while driving and don't realize how little is left? This should be as easy as a glance at the dash, as with gasoline levels.

XSarenkaX, Jan 10 2003


       XS - genius woman.   

       the windscreen fluid is what bothers us most, yes? oil - shrug, tyres - shrug. what is a spark plug? huh.   

       croissant to you - how do you de-ice the screen fluid? huh?
po, Jan 10 2003

       I've never used even 1/3 of the washer fluid between oil changes. I'm guessing the number of people that run out is pretty small, so the car company generally won't spend $1 more per car to add a sensor. Now it might be nice if they added a feature like this for the "all weather gaurd" accessory package on a car, but they'd probably decide it was cheaper just to double the size of the fluid tank (and make you pay for the gas wasted hauling the extra fluid around all the time).
scad mientist, Jan 10 2003

       scad, either you don't mind driving with a windshield covered in a white crust, or it doesn't snow much where you live. I know that when it snows a lot out here, I go through enough fluid to kill a small army of all too curious children.
notme, Jan 10 2003

       Nice idea, but I'd like to have the warning light under the petrol-cap flap. The only time you're realistically going to fill the washer bottle, check the oil, etc. is at the gas station.   

       But what I'd really like is a radiator reservoir I can safely fill up when the engine's hot.
FloridaManatee, Jan 11 2003

       Two of my three cars have warning indicators (not like a gas gauge though) when the reservoir level drops below, say, 10% to 20%. One of the cars holds about a gallon of the stuff. Maybe, as you said, you are driving the wrong cars. I've got one I might be willing to part with.
half, Jan 11 2003

       I'm fairly sure that some of the high-end BMWs, and some Saabs have at least a "low level" alert, and there are Mercedes models that have an actual level indication. But it depends on the market they're being sold into.   

       If you run out of washer fluid, just fire your chauffeur and hire another one.
8th of 7, Jan 11 2003

       Or buy a new car.
beauxeault, Jan 11 2003

       The ford windstar has the low level alert, but fat lot og good that does you if you are stuck 3 miles from anywhere, in slow moving traffic and the light has been on since you left work. Now, are you 10% full or 5% full or are you just bellowing air in the small hopes that a magical spare drop will suddenly apear and banish all the white crusted crap off the windshield for good?
barnzenen, Jan 13 2003

       I think I'd rather car manufacturers solved the problem of fitting an oil level gauge before worrying about a windshield washer level gauge.
hippo, Jan 13 2003

       they do - its always fawlty (sp. deliberate)
po, Jan 13 2003

       You're supposed to use motor oil, not pesto.
egbert, Jan 13 2003

       //oil level gauge//
2 of my 3 cars have low engine oil warning indicators.
half, Jan 13 2003

       //'idiot gauges'//   

       In the ultralight aircraft Quicksilver MX, there's a translucent fuel tank located above the pilots. Visual indication is the only fuel level check, other than flight duration. There's very little manufacturer documentation and engine performance varies widely. Given a multi-level flight with many changes in throttle, it's impossible to estimate how fast you're burning fuel.   

       To aid the gravity-feed, the tank is of a square cross section at the top, but towards the bottom is shaped like an inverted cone with the fuel line coming out the apex. That means that towards the end, the fuel level draining seems to accelerate.   

       At 50kts, crosswind is a big factor and I once grossly mis-estimated the flight duration on a cross country flight. There's no calibration on the tank and as we looked for the landing strip, the fuel level was getting near the only marking on the tank; the "YOU DIE, YOU DIE NOW" marking.
FloridaManatee, Jan 13 2003

       Ooooh, nasty.   

       Simple integrating fuel-flow meters and their sensors are pretty compact these days, and require little power. And based on your report, buying one for your Quicksliver sounds like a good investment.   

       Ultralights seem to have resonable performance in the glide, from what I've seen. That's not helpful, is it ?
8th of 7, Jan 14 2003

       My Saab 9000 has a low washer fluid warning light that comes on when there's about a litre left. It also has one of the biggest reservoir that I've seen in a car at about 5 litres. The Peugeot 406 that I have now has an oil level indicator. It works for the first 5 min when the car starts up and is in neutral. Of course it will under/over read if the car isn't level.
oneoffdave, Jan 14 2003

       Yes. Saab 9000 = 3 trips with a kettle full of water.
egbert, Jan 14 2003

       Wow, this is one of those old ideas I'd forgotten about for years and it's got the most bread of any of mine yet.
XSarenkaX, Jan 14 2003

       My Volvo has the rather quaint feature of a tank that drains from the back, but is deeper at the front. The result is that if I appear to run out of washer fluid, all I have to do is accelerate hard whilst washing the screen.   

       There is one small drawback to this otherwise flawless system as the poor sod in front on his push-bike is liable to find out when I slam the pedal to the metal whilst not being able to see beyond my own bonnet. (Incidently I don't do that anymore.)
ScepticAL, Jan 15 2003

       Ford Expedition has low fluid level light; appears to be plenty to make it to the next service point under sub-artic use (unless it's dumping fluid due to a leak, as mine was when I first encountered this light).   

       Under the sort of death-defying North Pole conditions mentioned by our poster, might be better to check under the hood every now and again at all the vitals, inc. the windshield washer. As discussed, it's hard to measure oil until it's too late...
resurgere, Jan 17 2003

       I always keep an extra in the trunk. Hence, a dirty window that's not undirtying itself is my cue to refill the fluid.   

       So the guage would be kind of useless for me. And if I'm going to have an useless guage, it'd be something cool. Like an indicated airspeed indicator or something. That'd be neat.
rapid transit, May 22 2003

       baked in my '93 Bonneville.
RayfordSteele, Dec 05 2003

       Really? Can you provide a link with evidence so we can all see? I am interested.   

       Hmph. 1993 and these are still not standard in all vehicles? What gives?
XSarenkaX, Dec 08 2003

       "This should be as easy as a glance at the dash, as with gasoline levels."
Surely. And why not an external filler cap on the car and a dispenser along side the gas pump so that it can be refilled while refueling your vehicle. It could be made with a dainty little replica of a gasoline pump nozzle.
half, Dec 08 2003

       What is this "snow" thing that everyone keeps going on about?
half, Dec 08 2003


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