Home CAR GUIDE How to Check Windshield Washer Fluid

How to Check Windshield Washer Fluid

Windshield washer fluid also called windshield wiper fluidwiper fluidscreen wash is a fluid for motor vehicles that is used in cleaning the windshield with the windshield wiper while the vehicle is being driven.

Windshield wiper fluid helps to keep your windshield clean. While it seems like a simple product, the fact is that this product is very important. Windshield wiper fluid keeps the windshield clean and free of dirt as well as grime. However, some drivers make the mistake of assuming that anything that cleans the windshield is good to go, mostly water. However, there is a lot more to consider. Here is why the garages recommend that you should always use windshield wiper fluid.

It lubricates the washer fluid pump in your vehicle. If the pump does not contain fluid, it can corrode, leak, as well as stop working. Even turning on the washer without liquid lubrication could destroy it.

When Do We Need to Replace the Washer Fluid

If your windshield washer jets don’t spray anything when you are engaging them or the low washer fluid light comes on in your vehicle, it is likely time for refilling the windshield washer fluid reservoir.

How to Add Windshield Washer Fluid

A) Locating the Washer Fluid Reservoir

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Step 1- The windshield washer fluid reservoir. 

•    The windshield washer fluid reservoir might be located in a number of places depending on the year, make and model of your vehicle. It is generally mounted along the side of the engine bay and can be found near the windshield along with the firewall.

•    The windshield washer fluid reservoir will be marked with the help of a symbol that looks like a windshield with wipers moving.

•    If you are unable to find the reservoir, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for guidance.

Step 2- Identify the low and full lines on the reservoir. 

•    Once you find the reservoir, identify the low and high fill lines along the side. Most windshield washer fluid reservoirs are made of translucent plastic with lines which are along the side that indicate how full with fluid the reservoir is. Verify that the reservoir is indeed low on fluid before you add more.

•    If the windshield washer fluid reservoir is full but will not spray, it could be because of clogged lines.

•    If the low washer fluid light came on in your car but the reservoir is full, it might be due to a faulty sensor.

Step 3- Open the cap and set it aside.

•    Twist the cap counter-clockwise in order to unscrew it and lift it off from the reservoir. Set the cap aside someplace safe and make sure you don’t put it down in dirt or debris so nothing accidentally falls into the fluid when you return the cap.

•    Dirt and debris can cause clogging in the windshield washer lines.

•    Ensure the cap is not damaged. If it cannot be closed back onto the reservoir properly, the cap needs to be replaced.

B) Filling the Windshield Washer Fluid Reservoir

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Step 1- Add windshield washer fluid until it reaches the full line. 

•    Utilize a funnel or the spout on the windshield washer fluid bottle to pour fluid into the reservoir until it reaches the “full” line on the side. Wipe up any spilled washer fluid with the help of paper towels or a rag.

•    You would be able to see through the side of the reservoir to know when it is full.

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Step 2- Avoid overfilling the reservoir. 

•    As fluid can expand when heated, it’s important that you do not overfill the reservoir. When the fluid warms due to the high engine temperatures under the hood, the pressure could result in the reservoir to crack and leak if there is too much fluid in it.

•    Use a turkey baster for sucking extra fluid back out of the reservoir in the event you overfill it.

Step 3- Screw the cap back into place. 

With the reservoir filled with washer fluid, just pick the cap up from where you stored it. Use a rag or paper towels for wiping the cap down to ensure there is no dirt or debris stuck to it.

Screw the cap back into place. With the reservoir filled with washer fluid, just pick the cap up from where you stored it. Use a rag or paper towels for wiping the cap down to ensure there is no dirt or debris stuck to it.

Turn the cap clockwise for re-securing it on the reservoir.

If the cap is damaged, you need to buy one.

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Step 4- Start the vehicle and test the fluid sprayer. 

•    Get back into the vehicle and put the key into the ignition. Start the engine and engage the washer fluid in the manner you normally would ensure it is working properly.

•    Most windshield washer fluid jets are activated through pressing or pulling the windshield wiper controls.

•    If you are unsure how to activate your windshield wiper fluid jets, you can refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

C) Choosing Your Fluid and How to Add It

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Step 1- Choose a type of windshield washer fluid. 

•    In order to be effective, it’s crucial that you are not using only water in your windshield washer fluid. Regular windshield washer fluid is made to prevent streaking and not to freeze if the temperature gets too cold. However, if you live in an area that frequently experiences extremely low temperatures, an anti-freezing washer fluid might be your best bet.

•    Anti-freezing washer fluid can help in defrosting your windshield when a light layer of ice forms on it on cold mornings.

•    Other windshield washer fluids can have chemicals that makes water bead off of the glass, allowing for increased visibility when driving in the rain.

Step 2- Mix concentrated fluid with water.

•    If you choose to buy a concentrated windshield washer fluid, you will need to mix it with water before adding it to the vehicle. Like anti-freeze, concentrated windshield washer fluid can generally be mixed with water at a 50/50 ratio.

•    A 50/50 ratio of water to fluid means half water and half fluid.

•    Follow the directions which are provided on the specific brand of concentrated washer fluid you purchase.

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Step 3- Park on a leveled ground. 

•    In order to get an accurate understanding of how much washer fluid is still in your vehicle, as well as how much you have added, it’s crucial that the reservoir sits level. In order to do so, park the vehicle on an even and flat surface.

•    Parking at an angle, for instance, on a hill will make it difficult to read how much fluid is in the reservoir.

Step 4- Open the hood.

•    To open the hood of your vehicle, find the release near the door frame on the driver’s side. The release is generally labeled with a small symbol that represents the front of the vehicle with the hood open. Pull the release towards you in order to disengage the hood latch. Once out of the car, you will have to release the safety latch as well.

•    Release the safety latch through pressing on the lever beneath the hood or through the grill at the front of the vehicle.

•    If you are not sure where to locate the release, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for guidance.

Video of How To Add Windshield Wiper Fluid

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