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How to Replace the Windshield Washer Reservoir in a VW Beetle

The new VW Beetle, introduced in 1998, has the engine in the front and storage in the rear just as most automobiles, but the opposite of the classic Beetle. Repairs are much easier on the new model, since it works much like other autos. Fill the windshield washer reservoir often and check for leaks periodically. If you find a leak, consider fixing or replacing the reservoir yourself.

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  1. Select a new windshield washer reservoir--the part number depends on the year of your VW Beetle. Order it from the dealer or online or get it from a salvage yard. Having the part before you begin, saves you time later. Many dealerships may no longer carry replacement parts for the classic Beetle.

  2. Choose a place to work on your VW Beetle. Put the car in park, turn it off, engage the emergency brake and open the hood by pulling the hood release.

  3. Find the auxiliary release latch by reaching under the center of the hood and pulling it or twisting it to open the hood. Raise the hood and use the prop rod to hold it securely.

  4. Inspect the windshield washer reservoir for a leak. The reservoir in the VW Beetle is the blue-capped reservoir located in the bottom left corner of the engine compartment. As in many models, there's an image of a waterspout on the cap.

  5. Remove the battery's negative cable, to avoid any electrical shocks. If your Beetle has air bags, wait 90 seconds before starting to work.

  6. Block the rear tires. Jack up your VW Beetle. Support it with jack stands and take off the left front tire. Remove the wheel well liner with a flathead screwdriver, pliers and a 10mm socket wrench.

  7. Unscrew the two 8mm screws located in the front of the wheel well. Then, take off the three rivets toward the back of the wheel well and remove the 10mm plastic nuts located in the middle of the fender liner. Finally working back to front, free the liner by releasing the lip to have complete access to the reservoir.

  8. Locate all the leads to your reservoir and dismantle them. This includes removing the three different nuts attached to the reservoir, undoing the hose and other leads and unscrewing the tank. After that, simply lift the windshield washer reservoir out of your VW Beetle.

  9. Take off the washer pump and install it in the new windshield washer reservoir. Then, screw the reservoir back in place and reconnect the nuts and hose. Replace the seals; don't reuse the old ones.

  10. Reinstall the wheel well liner by reversing the order in Step 8. Then, put the tire back on, remove the jack stands, lower your VW Beetle and unblock the rear tires. Finally, reconnect the negative cable to your battery and fill the new reservoir with windshield washer fluid.

  11. Tip

    If you have a classic Beetle, the procedure is much different. Many washer pump systems in these models relied on the pressure from the spare tire to spray the fluid onto the windshield. If there wasn't enough pressure or there wasn't a spare, then the system didn't work.

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Things You'll Need

  • Windshield washer reservoir
  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • 10mm socket wrench
  • Pliers
  • Seals
  • Washer fluid

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