The windshield washer system on your car is operated by a small motor pump found under the hood, on the reservoir or next to it. If the nozzles or squirters suddenly stopped working, you can easily troubleshoot the system by probing the pump, hoses and the squirters themselves.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 12 V test light
Open the bonnet and locate the windshield washer reservoir. On most vehicles, this plastic tank is located by the firewall, close to the wipers mechanism, or to one side of the engine compartment. You will find the electric motor for the pump on the tank or next to it.
Check the fluid level in the windshield washer tank first and add if necessary. Turn on the ignition switch but do not turn on the engine. Operate the washer pump and listen for the motor operating. If you cannot hear the motor working, go on to the next step,otherwise, skip to Step 4.
Check for voltage at the pump. Ask a helper to operate the washer pump with the ignition switch on and engine off (KOEO). Connect a 12-volt test light to a good ground on your car--a bolt or metal bracket on the engine for example. Probe the back of the wires with the tip of the test light--except the black wire--at the electrical connector leading to the motor pump. If the test light glows, replace the motor pump assembly. On GM vehicles with bellows-type pump, you can rebuild the pump with a valve repair kit. If the test light does not glow, the problem is at the washer switch or along the circuit. Take the car to an automotive electric shop for inspection.
Inspect the hoses and lines between the pump and the washer nozzles. Make sure that they are well connected and free of damage. Repair them if necessary.
Disconnect one of the hoses at the nozzle or as close to the nozzle as possible. Aim the hose away from you and ask a helper to operate the washer switch (KOEO). If washer fluid is pumped through the line, clean the nozzles by inserting a pin or wire clip. If this does not help, replace the nozzle.
Disconnect the hose as close to the motor pump assembly as possible. Ask a helper to operate the washer pump (KOEO). If fluid comes through the pump, look for an obstruction along the hoses and lines. If no fluid comes out of the pump but you hear the pump working, replace the pump. If you have a GM vehicle, you may be able to repair it with a valve repair kit.