How to Replace the Windshield Washer Reservoir in a Subaru Outback

by Editorial TeamUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Windshield washer reservoir

  • Screwdriver

  • Wrench

  • Washer fluid

  • Drain bucket

  • Seals

How to Replace the Windshield Washer Reservoir in a Subaru Outback. Introduced in 2005, as both a sedan and station wagon, the Subaru Outback is an all wheel drive vehicle. Keeping your windshield clean is an essential part of maintaining your car. Using your windshield washer fluid makes this job easier. If you've filled your reservoir and find there isn't any fluid, you probably have a leak. Therefore, you need to locate it and replace your reservoir.

Arrange for a new windshield washer reservoir before working on your Subaru Outback. This will save you time later, since you won't have to dismantle your car twice. The part number depends on the year of your Outback.

Park your car on a level surface to check for a leak. Turn it off, put on the emergency brake and pull the hood release, which is on the left side of the steering wheel under the instrument panel.

Get out of your Subaru Outback, go to the front of the car and find the auxiliary release. Raise the hood and use the prop rod to keep the hood open. On models after 2005, the hydraulic lifts hold the hood open.

Check your windshield washer reservoir for a leak. The reservoir in the Subaru Outback is in the engine compartment in the left bottom part under the engine coolant reservoir.

Start by disconnecting the battery's negative cable. Always wait 90 seconds before continuing, if your Subaru Outback is equipped with air bags.

Locate all the leads to your reservoir and dismantle them, using a screwdriver. This includes undoing the electrical lead from the washer pump, taking off the washer tank cover, undoing the washer fluid lines and removing the mounting bolts. After that, simply lift out the windshield washer reservoir.

Install the new windshield washer reservoir in your Subaru Outback by putting the tank in and replacing the mounting bolts. Attach the washer fluid lines, put on the washer tank cover, replace the seals and reconnect the electrical lead.

Reattach the negative battery cable. Make sure you put everything back exactly as you found it to ensure everything works properly. Fill the new reservoir with windshield washer fluid and test the system.


If the crack in your Subaru Outback's windshield washer reservoir is small, try patching it, rather than replacing the whole reservoir. To increase your chances of finding the leak, pour some washer fluid into the tank. Place a drain bucket below the reservoir to catch any washer solvent that may leak out. Always replace instead of reusing the seals you removed when taking out the old reservoir.


Since it's more difficult to replace a windshield washer pump than a reservoir, never run the pump when it's out of fluid to prevent damaging it. Be sure the prop rod is secure before starting to work on your Subaru Outback.

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