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My Car’s Windshield Washer Fluid Won’t Spray. What Should I Do?

Brian England, Mon, Oct 27, 2014


Yes, I know it’s just the end of October, but before you know it winter will be here.  In fact, the Farmer’s Almanac says we should expect about three inches more snow than normal this December!

When was the last time you tested or used your car’s windshield wiper fluid?

Give it a try before you need it. If you find your car’s windshield washer fluid won’t spray, then follow this three step process to troubleshoot the problem.

Step 1: Check the windshield washer fluid reservoir.

If your washer fluid won’t spray, it may be because your washer fluid reservoir is empty. I know it seems obvious, but how many times do we overlook the obvious in our everyday lives. The windshield washer fluid reservoir is easy to locate.  Most of the time it has a picture of the washers on the reservoir cap. Go ahead and open the cap.  Then check the dipstick to see the fill level.  If you need to refill, use a premixed fluid so that you will know that you have the correct solution.  The last thing you want to happen is for the fluid to freeze-up in the winter.

windshield_wiper_fluid_reservoir_check

 

If you have to refill your reservoir, once you’ve completed the job, be sure to check under the car, on the ground, for fluid. Make sure that a leak in your reservoir tank wasn’t the cause of the problem.

Step 2: Listen to see if you can hear the washer pump running.

The best way to do this is with the ignition on but the engine not running.  That way it will be easier to hear.  Get a helper.  You’ll need someone to push or turn the knob while you listen.  If you can hear the motor running, that’s great. If the windshield washer fluid still won’t spray go on to Step 3…

Step 3: Make sure the washer nozzle jets are free.

The problem could be that your windshield wiper nozzles are clogged. Polish can easily block these nozzles. The location of the nozzle jets varies from car to car. Look around the base of your front windshield for yours.  If it’s the rear wiper jets that won’t work, then check near the topside of the rear window for the wiper jets. Once you’ve located them, use a straight pen to clear out the jets.

Hopefully that gave you some insight into the cause of the problem.  If so, congratulations!  Job well done.

If you gotten them started and they are smearing, check out this blog post on stopping windshield wipers from smearing.

And finally, if you can’t identify what’s causing your windshield wiper fluid not to spray, contact your local repair shop to have them check it out. Remember, if you are in the Columbia, MD area, you can always bring your car by BA Auto Care!


 

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About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.