How To Check for a Windshield Washer Fluid Leak

A windshield washer by any other name—windscreen wiper, windshield wiper—would still perform the same sweet job of wiping grime, dirt, dust, and rain from a windshield. All it takes is one push of a button to make the wipers sweep back and forth on the windscreen, and voila!  The car driver can now see more clearly through the screen. In order for the wipers to glide smoothly across the surface of the windscreen, which is usually glass, washer fluid is pumped from a reservoir and sprayed onto the screen. Sometimes, washer fluid goes to waste because of leaks in the windshield washer system, in which case your wipers may not work properly and you will need to wash your windshield by hand. This article will explain how you can check for windshield washer fluid leakage so that you can fix it.

You can start suspecting leakage in the washer system if only very little washer fluid squirts out of the nozzles on the bottom of the windshield. It could also be a sign of low washer fluid level. Check the washer fluid reservoir if it still has washer fluid. If it does and only a little amount goes to your windscreen, a leak somewhere in the system may be causing the rest of the fluid to escape.

Park your car somewhere safe. Engage the handbrake or put the car on park mode (for automatic transmissions). Make sure the engine is still running when you begin your investigative work. The motor that pumps the fluid through the tubes is powered by the battery and will not work if the car ignition is off.

Put on your safety goggles, and then open the hood of your car so that you can easily spot the leak from inside. Ask someone to push the washer button. If there is a leak in the washer system, you should be able to spot it easily under the hood. Your assistant may need to push the washer button several times.

Check under the cowl, which covers the wiper motor. Sometimes, the cowl can hide the source of the leak. You may need to remove the cowl. Also check the hoses connected to the wiper system. Holes or cuts in the hoses can be escape routes for the washer fluid. Check along each hose. Notice if there are leaks on the tubing’s barber plastic fitting. Joins in the tubings can also be possible leak areas.

Inspect the washer fluid reservoir itself. It is usually made of hard plastic. Very cold weather can make both the plastic reservoir and the hoses develop cracks.

Having clear and transparent windshields not only makes your ride smooth and enjoyable but also keeps you safe, especially under heavy rain. Since, windshield washers need fluid to glide smoothly when cleaning the screen, you should make it a habit to regularly check your washer fluid level and fix leaks immediately. That way, you won’t waste time in cleaning the screen manually or money in refilling washer fluid frequently.


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