How to Troubleshoot Windshield Washers

Updated: Dec. 30, 2019

Restore washer fluid flow of your windshield washer in minutes with this how-to guide.

windshield washer
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.

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Checking flow and clearing clogs in your windshield washer

windshield washer

Photo 1: Check pump operation

Follow the windshield washer tubing from the reservoir to the tee. Disconnect the tubing and have a friend press the washer button. A strong stream of washer fluid indicates a good pump but a clogged nozzle.

windshield washer

Photo 2: Blow out the nozzle of your windshield washer

Press a rubber-tipped compressed air gun against the nozzle opening and blow air backward through the nozzle (tubing still disconnected at the cowl). Then reconnect the tubing and try the washers again.

If you press the button for windshield juice and nothing comes out, you probably have a clogged windshield washer 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” ).

Required Tools for this Windshield Washer 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