How to Adjust Windshield Wiper Fluid Nozzles

by Josh Baum

Most modern cars are equipped with spray nozzles in front of the windshield which are intended to spray windshield washer fluid. When a new car rolls off the lot, its spray nozzles should be properly aimed at the windshield. Over time, though, these nozzles may stray from their factory position, and they may spray the fluid in less than ideal directions. Fortunately, adjusting them is a quick and easy job.

Sit in the driver's seat and use the dashboard controls to spray some windshield washer fluid. Watch the direction of the streams carefully so that you can determine how you want to adjust them.

Pull the hood release lever, then open the hood and prop it up with the support arm. Look at the underside of each nozzle to see if there is an adjustable nut, which not all vehicles have. If there is an adjustable nut, loosen it with the adjustable wrench. Close the hood.

Try to turn the nozzle housings from side to side with your fingers. If there was no nut to loosen in the previous step, they may not move. If they do move, turn them in the direction they need to go, then get back in the car and spray some fluid to test the aim. If necessary, continue adjusting them and testing them until the housings are pointed in the right general direction. When you're done, re-tighten the adjustable nut if you found and loosened it in the previous step.

Adjust the nozzles within the nozzle housings if it is necessary and possible. There are two ways to adjust the nozzles. You can grab the nozzle tip with a pair of needle nosed pliers to move it, or you can insert a needle into the nozzle hole and use that to move it around. In either case, be very careful when you do this, because not all spray nozzles can be adjusted in this way. You should be able to tell by looking at the nozzle whether it can be adjusted like this, because the nozzle will appear to be coming out of a round plastic ball. These designs are like a ball and socket joint; the nozzle is the ball and the nozzle housing is the socket.

Tip

  • check If you have a vehicle-specific owner's manual for the vehicle on which you want to adjust the spray nozzles, consult it first. You may find more specific information on the construction of the nozzles. When adjusting the nozzles in ball and socket-style sprayers, you should move them down (closer to parallel to the ground) if the washer fluid is shooting too high, such as over the windshield and onto the roof. If the fluid is shooting too low on the windshield, leaving the top of it dirty, move the nozzles up (closer to perpendicular to the ground).

Items you will need

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