Featured Articles

Are You An Accidental Bioterrorist?

Posted in Bizarre, Car Care, DIY, General, Maintenance, Safety by Kurt Ernst | June 17th, 2010 | 2 Responses |

Let me ask you straight out: what do you use to fill up your windshield washer reservoir? If you use the blue stuff, the pink stuff or the green stuff (or any commercially available windshield washer fluid), you’re golden. Stop reading now, move along, there’s nothing to see here.

On the other hand, if you fill your windshield washer reservoir with tap water, you may want to use a respirator getting into and out of your car. It would also be a good idea to make sure you’re paid up on both your health insurance and your life insurance. You do have a will, right?

Why? According to BBC News, linked from Autoblog, drivers who fill their windshield washer reservoirs with water produce breeding tanks for Legionella bacterium, which causes (you guessed it) Legionnaire’s disease and pneumonia. Contaminated windshield washer tanks account for 20% of the Legionnaire’s disease cases in Great Britain, so it’s not like your odds of getting struck by lightening.

The good news is that you’re not likely to infect others around you, since they’re not exposed to your windshield-washer-biological-weapon for long. Professional drivers (cabbies, limo drivers, bus drivers) who tank up with tap water are at highest risk, so you don’t need to panic unless you spend a lot of time behind the wheel and have flu-like symptoms. Just buck up for the good stuff next time you buy gas and you’ll probably be fine.

Our Best Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 Responses

  1. Heidi says:

    Goodness! Thanks for the tip. I just filled my windshield wipers up with water … thought I was being so green and health-conscious! Guess not ..

  2. Rankin says:

    Just the fact that people do this EVER, scares the hell out of me. Can i put water in my transmission fluid too? People really don’t think. The particular bacteria you’re referring to thrives in right around 104 degree water. Sounds just about what a wind cooled engine compartment washer reservoir would be at.