How to Troubleshoot Windshield Washers

Restore washer fluid flow in minutes

A windshield washer that doesn't pump enough fluid is annoying and even hazardous. This quick diagnostic checklist explains how to find and fix the problem.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Checking flow and clearing clogs

If you press the button for windshield juice and nothing comes out, you probably have a clogged nozzle. Start your diagnosis by making sure there’s fluid in the reservoir. If so, check for fluid flow at the tee near the cowl (Photo 1). If that checks out, leave the tubing off the tee and clear out the nozzle with a compressed air gun (Photo 2). However, if you couldn’t get fluid flow at the tee, you probably need a new pump (see our article on “Windshield washer repair” ).

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Air compressor
  • Air hose
  • Rags

You'll also need a rubber-tipped compressed air gun