How to Troubleshoot a Windshield-Washer Pump

by Contributor

Follow these steps to determine why your windshield-washer fluid is not flowing freely, and soon you'll be driving with clean windows again. The problem may be something simple like a disconnected hose, or dirt in the spray nozzle.

Turn on the windshield washer with the engine off and the key in the On position.

Listen for a humming sound to determine whether the windshield washer motor is operative. Open the hood and ask a friend to listen while you turn on the windshield washer. If you don't hear any sound, check the fuses.

Replace the fuse if it is blown (see How to Fix a Faulty Car Fuse). If the fuse is not blown and the motor is silent, have your mechanic replace the windshield-washer motor. If you hear the motor humming, proceed to step 4.

Check the reservoir and add windshield-washer fluid if its level is low or empty. You can fill the reservoir right up to the top-- usually it doesn't have any full or empty indicators. Use a funnel to avoid spills.

Check that the water is not frozen in the reservoir. This will only happen in cold weather if you filled the reservoir with plain water instead of windshield-washer fluid.

Make sure the small rubber hose that plugs into the windshield washer reservoir is attached.

Follow the hose to the rear of the hood. Check for crimped, torn or broken lines. The line from the reservoir splits into two lines at the hood. If damaged, remove the line by pulling at the base where it attaches. Bring it to an auto-parts store and purchase a hose of identical width and length. Install it and check for leaks.

Clear any leaves or debris away from the area around the washerfluid nozzles on top of the hood.

Clear the washer-fluid nozzle's passage with a needle or a pin.

Unhook the washer lines at the reservoir and at the hood, then force compressed air through the lines to dislodge anything stuck in them.

Items you will need

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