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Windshield Washer Not Working? Here’s How to Troubleshoot

When your windshield gets dirty, you don’t only use the wipers to clean off the dirt, you also turn on the washer as well. The liquid sprayed by the washer onto the glass helps the wiper do its job more efficiently while also lubricating the parts to ensure friction doesn’t do its damage. But what if you activate the washer and it doesn’t work? Here are the possible reasons, and what you should do about them.

An empty tank

Check your washer reservoir and see if it’s empty. If you are having trouble with the reservoir’s location, see your owner’s manual for instructions. Once you’ve found it, check to see if it’s empty, then simply fill the reservoir with fluid. Make sure to check under your garage floor for puddles that indicate a washer leak.

Broken hoses

The hoses leading from the reservoir to the wipers are made of rubber, which can break, crack, and leak. These are fairly easy to remove and replace–most hoses are held secure by clips or clamps that can be undone by hand or by a simple tool. Simply purchase a replacement hose from a dealership or a car parts store and put these in place of the broken ones.

Dirty fluid

Windshield washer fluid comes in all colors, but these are mainly clear and you can easily see through them. If you open your washer reservoir and observe a dark, cloudy liquid, then that indicates dirt contamination which may have found its way into the system and clogged the lines. If this is the case, your reservoir and hoses will need to be removed and cleaned by a mechanic.

Busted fuse

Open your fusebox and see if you can locate the fuse to your windshield washer. The fusebox cover will have a diagram of its placement. If not, your owner’s manual will likely have it. Remove the fuse and check its condition. If it’s burnt or damaged, replace it.

Worn or damaged pump

Washer fluid squirts onto your windshield because of a pump. With time, this pump can overheat and fail. After confirming that the level of the fluid and the fuse are fine, the pump is the next thing you should look at. As the pump can be difficult to check and access, this work is best left in the hands of an able mechanic.

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