Have you ever had a problem with your windshield wiper fluid not coming out? It can be frustrating and dangerous, especially when driving in inclement weather.
A clear windshield and a working washer system are crucial for safe driving. Did you know that an estimated 38,700 car accidents in 2022 were caused by poor visibility?
In this article, we’ll look at what causes wiper fluid not to come out and provide helpful and easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions on diagnosing and fixing the issue.
Let’s get started!
How Windshield Washer Systems Work
To fully grasp the problem and fixes we will discuss in this guide, let us first look at how the washer system works.
The windshield washer system comprises a few key components, including a reservoir, a pump, and a nozzle.
- The reservoir holds the windshield washer fluid, and you can find it under the hood of your car, but depending on the model, it may be in the trunk.
- The pump draws water from this reservoir and sends the fluid to the nozzles. It is usually located near the reservoir and is typically a small electric motor.
- The nozzle is the part that sprays the fluid onto your windshield and is usually mounted on top of the hood.
The system works very simply: when you turn on your wipers, they activate an electric motor in the pump, which draws the fluid from the reservoir and sends it through hoses to each nozzle.
Why Windshield Washer Fluid is Not Coming Out
There are many potential reasons why your windshield washer fluid won't come out. First, you have to make sure that the washer fluid reservoir is full and the washer fluid is not frozen. If there is no fluid coming out after refilling, you may have a clogged nozzle, blown fuse, or the pump is broken and needs to be replaced.
Reasons Windshield Wiper Fluid Doesn’t Spray
- No washer fluid
- Frozen washer fluid
- Clogged nozzles or hoses
- Faulty washer pump motor
- Blown washer pump fuse
Diagnosing and fixing these problems is easy and cheap. Let’s discuss each one in detail.
1. No Washer Fluid
The first step is to check the amount of fluid left in the reservoir.
In modern cars, a sensor monitors the level and warns you if the washer fluid is low. If your vehicle has this sensor, it will tell you when to refill the reservoir.
A typical windshield washer reservoir can hold around three-quarters of a gallon of windshield washer fluid. This is equivalent to 2.5 and 4 liters of fluid.
How to Refill Washer Fluid
- Open the hood of your car and locate the washer fluid reservoir. This may be identified by the blue cap with windshield washer symbol.
- Fill the reservoir with wiper fluid or your DIY wiper fluid to the fill line, or leave a few inches of space from the top.
- Close the lid of the reservoir to prevent dirt from getting inside.
- Start your car and check that the windscreen wipers are working correctly.
- (Optional) Sometimes, you may need to reset the low washer fluid light after refilling.
As part of essential car maintenance, you must regularly check your washer fluid. A good rule of thumb is every month or before a long trip.
2. Frozen Washer Fluid
Another reason windshield washer fluid is not coming out is maybe it’s frozen. If you’ve left your car parked outside during cold weather, the wiper fluid may freeze in the hose or nozzle.
How to Unfreeze Wiper Fluid
To fix this issue, try applying air pressure to the hose leading to the sprayer nozzle. If that doesn’t work, you may need to use a hairdryer or heating element to thaw the fluid out.
Be careful not to apply too much heat, though, as doing so could damage the plastic components of your car’s windshield washer system.
To prevent washer fluid from freezing, use a washer fluid containing glycol ethers as an antifreeze agent.
3. Clogged Nozzles or Hose
If your washer fluid is still not spraying after refill, you may have a clogged nozzle. The pump cannot push the fluid through the hose or nozzles and onto your windshield.
This is especially true when you notice the wiper fluid coming out on one side, or the spray fluid is too weak.
This is one of the most common reasons why windshield wiper fluid won’t spray. Clogged windshield washer nozzles and hoses are commonly caused by daily grime from the road, car wax and polish, molds in washer fluid lines, or a broken hose.
How to Unclog Nozzles or Hose
Unclogging windshield washer nozzles or hoses is a simple procedure. For this simple fix, you will need a sewing needle or a nozzle needle and a can of compressed air.
If you have all the materials, follow the instructions below:
Step 1: Use compressed air to blow away debris
- You can clear a clogged washer nozzle by using air to blow debris out of the way.
- Hold a can of compressed air pointed at the clog and spray it until the clog comes loose.
- This will clear out any material that might have come loose during use. If used regularly, compressed air will also help keep the nozzles from clogging up regularly.
Step 2: Use a sewing needle or a nozzle needle
- You can also use a sewing or nozzle needle to clean or unclog your car’s wiper fluid nozzles.
- If you choose to use a sewing needle, make sure it’s very small – preferably one that’s only slightly larger than the nozzle hole.
- You can also use a nozzle needle to clear the clog.
- You may be able to push through or pull out whatever debris is causing the clog.
Step 3: Check the windshield washer hose
- While it is a good idea to check for clogs in your wiper fluid lines and nozzles, you should also check the hoses under the hood.
- Dirt and debris can also get into your windshield washer fluid lines and cause clogs.
- Make sure that the hoses are not cracked or torn, and tighten them if they are loose.
To avoid clogs in windshield washer nozzles and hoses, use the correct washer fluid, clean and maintain the nozzles regularly, and clear any clogs with compressed air or a pin.
If the nozzle(s) is damaged, you should replace it/them.
Related: 4 Easy Tricks How to Defrost Windshields Without Heat
4. Faulty Washer Pump Motor
If you remember our discussion earlier, the wiper fluid pump is responsible for pumping wiper fluid to the nozzles.
If the washer fluid is not spraying from the nozzle, it’s possible that the wiper pump motor is not working and the washer system is not receiving power.
Diagnosing a Bad Wiper Pump Motor
To diagnose a bad wiper pump motor, you will need to do the following:
Step 1: Check the fuse
- The first step in diagnosing a bad wiper pump motor is to check the fuse.
- If the fuse has blown, the wiper pump motor will not receive power and cannot function.
- Replace the fuse if it is blown (discussed in the next section)
Step 2: Check the wiring
- Check the wiring that connects the wiper pump motor to the car’s electrical system.
- Ensure all connections are secure and there are no loose or frayed wires.
- Test the motor: Use a multimeter to test the wiper pump motor. Check for continuity between the motor terminals. The motor is likely defective and needs replacement if there is no continuity.
- Check the relay: The wiper pump motor relay controls the power to the motor. Check the relay for any signs of damage or malfunction. If the relay is damaged, you need to replace it.
Fixing a Bad Wiper Pump Motor
If you have determined that the wiper pump motor is bad, it will need to be replaced. A professional mechanic can typically do this job, but you can also do it yourself.
- Disconnect the battery: Before beginning any work on the wiper pump motor, disconnect the battery to prevent any electrical accidents.
- Locate the wiper pump motor: The pump motor is typically located in the engine compartment, near the windshield washer fluid reservoir.
- Have someone turn on the washer nozzles and probe the back of the connector on the pump.
- When a power supply is verified, it confirms that you need to replace the washer pump motor.
- Remove the old motor: Once you have located the wiper pump motor, remove it by disconnecting any electrical connections and removing any mounting bolts.
- Install the new motor: Install the new wiper pump motor by reversing the process used to remove the old one. Ensure all electrical connections are secure and the motor is mounted correctly.
- Test the motor: Before reassembling the car, test the new motor to ensure it works properly.
Here’s a Youtube video on how to replace a washer pump motor:
5. Blown Washer Pump Fuse
Your car electrical car accessories are protected by a fuse to prevent shorts and overloading of electricity.
If the fuse of your wiper blows, certain electronic component on your car will suddenly stopped working. This includes your washer system. When this happens, the motor will not be able to pump and there will be no washer fluid coming out from the nozzles.
A blown wiper fuse is easy to replace and only requires a few minutes. To fix the problem, just follow these simple steps:
How to Replace Blown Fuse
Most cars have at least two fuse boxes. You can find the first one under the hood, and the other is inside the car near the passenger side of the dashboard.
You can find the location of the fuse on the fuse box cover or in the owner’s manual.
What you’ll need:
- Test Light
- Replacement Fuse (same amperage as your original one)
- Fuse Puller
Step 1: Find the blown fuse.
- If your car has a test light, you can easily find the blown a fuse by following these steps
- Otherwise, a circuit tester will do the job just as well
Step 2: Remove the blown fuse and replace it with the new one with a similar amp rating
- For example, if you have a 15 amp fuse that blew in your wiper circuit, you need to get another 15 amp fuse from the auto parts store
- If this fuse also blows, you may need to replace a component in the circuit with one compatible with your fuse rating
Step 3: Test it again
- Reattach the wiper fluid line and turn on the wipers
- Spray some fluid to make sure everything works fine.
- If nothing is still coming out, it is time to take a closer look at the spray pump.
There are many potential reasons why windshield washer fluid won’t come out. We hope these troubleshooting and repair guides help you fix the windshield wiper fluid not coming out of the issue as easily as possible.
Got a problem with windshield wipers not touching the glass? We also wrote a DIY guide about that! Thanks for reading this guide on windshield wipers fluid spray and have a safe drive!