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How to Replace the Windshield Washer Reservoir

by Contributor

You just filled up your windshield washer reservoir and now it seems as if you don't have any washer fluid left. If the windshield washer motor is working properly, you most likely have a leak. The leak in your windshield washer system is probably due to either a cracked reservoir or a broken seal. Both a broken seal and and a cracked reservoir can be replaced, but replacing a reservoir is the bigger job.

Step 1

Open up your hood and locate the windshield washer reservoir. This is typically located along the edge of the compartment.

Step 2

Try to identify visually whether or not there is a crack in the reservoir. You may have to pour some more washer fluid into the tank to see where it is leaking from.

Step 3

Remove the windshield washer reservoir if you can't find the crack while it is still installed. Consult your manual to determine the best way to remove the reservoir. On some cars you can unscrew the tank from above, but others require you to access the assembly from beneath the car.

Step 4

Order a new reservoir to replace the old one from the parts supplier for your car. Some dealerships have parts available for purchase. They may have a replacement reservoir in stock, or they can order one for you.

Reinstall the new reservoir. This involves screwing the tank into the assembly, attaching the hose between the tank and the motor and reattaching any other leads such as those to the electrical system. You will also have to replace the seals.


  • If the crack in your reservoir is not very severe, you can patch it up rather than replacing the reservoir.
  • You can perform a leak test on the reservoir to determine whether or not it is really leaking once it is removed from the car. Just cover all of the holes on the tank except one and blow hard into the remaining hole. Listen for air escaping.
  • Most of the cost to hire a professional for this job is labor because most windshield washer reservoirs are fairly inexpensive.


  • Hire a professional mechanic to replace your windshield washer reservoir if you are uncomfortable working on your car's nuts and bolts. Make sure you are getting a fair deal, however. The job shouldn't take more than an hour's labor and you can research the cost of a new reservoir for your car.
  • You may have to take the wheel off your car to gain access to the windshield washer reservoir depending on its placement.

Items you will need

  • New windshield washer reservoir
  • Wrench
  • Tire iron (optional)
  • Car jack (optional)

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