How to replace the windscreen-washer reservoir in a VW Passat

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How to replace the windscreen-washer reservoir in a VW Passat
Maintain your Passat in good nick. (Volkswagen)

The VW Passat is a mid-size family car that's been on the market since 1973. Whether you have a new Passat or an older model, it's important to keep your windscreen clean and your windscreen washer fluid helps you do this. However, if you have just filled the windscreen washer reservoir and you find there isn't any fluid, you probably have a leak and need to fix or replace it.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • New windshield washer reservoir
  • Seals
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • 10mm (3/8 inch) socket set

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  1. 1

    Order a new reservoir to replace the old one from the parts supplier for your VW Passat. Some dealerships have parts available for purchase and may have a replacement reservoir in stock, otherwise, ask them to order one for you.

  2. 2

    Turn the car off and remove the keys from the ignition. Pull the bonnet release handle beneath the instrument panel and on the left side of your steering column.

  3. 3

    Exit the car, walk around to the front of your VW Passat, reach under the center of the bonnet and locate the auxiliary release latch. Twist it to the left to open the bonnet and hold it open using the prop rod on the engine compartment's edge.

  4. 4

    Locate the windscreen washer fluid reservoir, which is located in the engine compartment near the bottom left corner.

  5. 5

    Jack up your VW Passat and take off the left front tyre. Support the left front of your Passat using jack stands. Remove the wheel well liner (see step 6) and you will have complete access to the windscreen washer reservoir.

  6. 6

    Unscrew the two 8mm (5/16 inch) screws located in the front of the wheel well. Then take off the three rivets toward the back of the wheel well, using a flat-head screwdriver and pliers. Next, remove the 10mm (3/8 inch) plastic nuts located in the middle of the wing liner. Finally, working back to front, free the liner by releasing the lip.

  7. 7

    Take out the reservoir by removing the three different nuts attached to the reservoir. Then disconnect the hose and any other leads and unscrew the tank. You should then be able to lift the reservoir out of your Passat. Throw away the seals -- you'll need to replace these when you install the new reservoir.

  8. 8

    Screw in the new windscreen washer reservoir to install it. Reattach the hose and other leads including those attached to the electrical system, and replace all the seals. After that's complete, reinstall the wheel well liner by reversing the order in step 6, put your tyre back on and lower your VW Passat to the ground.

Tips and warnings

  • If the crack in your VW Passat's windscreen washer reservoir is small, try patching it rather than replacing the whole reservoir. To increase your chances of finding the leak, pour some washer fluid into the tank.
  • Ordering the reservoir before you dismantle the car will save you from having to dismantle it twice. You can always take it back, if you don't need it.
  • Make sure you put everything back exactly as you found it in your VW Passat to ensure everything will be in proper working order.
  • Never run your windscreen washer pump when it's out of fluid. This causes the pump to go bad and require replacement, which can be a more difficult task than replacing the reservoir.

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