How often do I need to replace the windshield wiper fluid in the car?

When it comes to safety, visibility is essential. According to US Federal Highway Federation, low visibility conditions cause increased crash risk where more than 16,300 people are injured in these crashes annually.

Sometimes your windshield wiper fluid is not coming out, or your wipers are not touching the glass—leaving you with a hazy vision on the road.

This can hamper your driving ability, especially when fast-approaching vehicles are in front of you and you can’t see what’s coming.

The obvious solution is to replace the wiper fluid regularly and keep them clean from built-up grime.

1. How often do you check and refill the wiper fluid?

Although you only use a small amount of wiper fluid, it is crucial to check it semi-regularly. As a rule, you should check and refill it every month or much more frequently if you go on a long trip during the monsoon and winter seasons. Some cars have a low-level light that will illuminate on your dashboard.
How often do I need to replace the windshield wiper fluid
How often do you check and refill the wiper fluid?

Is it necessary to have the wiper fluid full all the time?

Refill the tank when it’s empty or about 2/3 of the fluid has been used. Usually, the windshield washer fluid tank has a 3 to 4 liters or three-quarters to one gallon capacity.

Well, as much as possible, it is necessary to keep the wiper fluid reservoir filled at all times so that you will not run out of fluid when you need it most.

2. Why is wiper fluid important?

Windshield wiper fluid is made of methanol. Some contain small amounts of Ethanol or antifreeze, which helps clear your windshield of dirt, debris, and bugs.

Wiper fluid lubricates the moving parts of your windshield wipers so they can move freely and easily across your glass.

With 17% of all car crashes occurring during winter, having a working windshield washer fluid system is very important.

The use of wipers plays a vital role in preventing accidents as well as saving lives.

Did you know that drivers collectively use their wipers approximately 8.6% of the time?

Here are some of the reasons why windshield wipers are important:

  • they help reduce glare from sunshine
  • remove dirt, dust, and debris from your windshield
  • give you a clear view of the road ahead

3. How to check your windshield wiper fluid level?

There are three ways to check your windshield wiper fluid level:

  1. The low wiper fluid warning symbol on your dashboard
  2. Physically inspecting the wiper fluid reservoir tank.
  3. Engaging the sprayers/wipers
The wiper fluid tank, usually white with a wiper symbol on the cap, is usually mounted beside the engine bay.

To check the fluid level:

  1. Open the cover at the top of the tank
  2. Look for a notch on one side that corresponds to the full line on another side.
  3. The level should be between those two marks.

The washer system of some cars today is equipped with a wiper fluid level sensor to prompt you when you need to refill the tank.

On the dashboard, you can see a yellow icon in the shape of a windshield with dotted lines spraying out that lights up when the tank is low. If this light comes on, check the fluid levels in the tank and add more if needed.

Read more: 3 Easy Tricks How to Keep Windshield Washer Fluid From Freezing

4. Symptoms of a bad windshield wiper fluid reservoir

Just like other mechanical parts of your car, a wiper fluid reservoir may be subject to failure. Below are some signs that your reservoir is bad:

  1. The fluid level in the tank is always low
  2. The fluid does not spray out of the nozzles when you activate the wipers
  3. Fluid leaks from under the hood or on the ground
  4. The wiper fluid reservoir tank has visible cracks

5. What is a good substitute for windshield wiper fluid?

There are other options if you need a refill but want to save money on something other than windshield wiper fluid.

You can make your wiper fluid using common house items.

The best substitute for windshield wiper fluid is a 50/50 mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.

It’s not as effective as commercial wiper fluid, but it works well enough in a pinch.

Other good options include:

  • Water (if it’s not freezing in your area)
  • Vinegar
  • Vodka/Ethanol (liquor)
  • Isopropyl alcohol


We hope this article answers your question, “How often do I need to replace the windshield wiper fluid in the car?”

Check the wiper fluid regularly; feel free to replace it as early as possible if it runs out. No matter the weather outside, your wiper fluid level is always meaningful to safety.

The next time you check your vehicle’s fluids, ensure enough window washer fluid. It’s a small thing that could make a big difference in an emergency.

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