Auto Maintenance: How To Refill Windshield Wiper Fluid

Refilling your windshield wiper fluid, and how to troubleshoot problems.

Keeping your windshield washer fluid reservoir full is important no matter how much driving you do. Situations on the road can arise that require you remove bugs or other debris from your viewing area to avoid hazardous conditions. Checking your washer fluid should be part of the normal fluid check you perform on your vehicle and should be done on a monthly basis or more depending on how much driving you do.

The fluid used in your reservoir is similar if not identical to regular glass cleaner in both appearance and content. Because of this, in a pinch regular glass cleaner will perform just fine if you use it instead to fill your reservoir. Washer fluid can be purchased at auto supply stores as well as many other regularly frequented shopping spots like Wal-Mart, Target and some grocery stores.

Through use of any number of brands there really isn't a big difference between any of them, meaning one isn't better than any of the others. The fluid itself is cheap and usually comes in gallon or larger sizes.



To refill your reservoir or check the level, you'll want to pop your hood and make sure it's secure just as you would if you were checking your oil or other fluids.

Locate the fluid reservoir bottle usually located near the front of the engine compartment and clearly labeled "Ëśwasher fluid' or identified by a wiper blade and windshield icon on the cap.

Most reservoirs are clear or lightly colored plastic that allow you to immediately see how much fluid remains. If this is not the case with your vehicle simply open the cap to see how much remains; if necessary fill to top of reservoir with replacement fluid.

Once you've replenished your level replace the cap and close the hood. If your fluid level was low or empty it may take a couple tries to get the fluid back through the tubes and to the nozzles to clean your glass. *

Wiper fluid isn't pressurized in any way so there is little danger of checking the fluid when the engine is hot. But with any motor that's hot it's always important to exercise caution when opening the hood or checking any of the vital fluids.

It's important that you use fluid that is especially for your washer reservoir. Special windshield treatments and other products that apply a shield over the glass to provide better visibility in rainy conditions should not be added to the reservoir unless specifically advised to do so on the usage instructions that came with the treatment. Anything other than the specified fluid can clog the tubes and cause your washing system to malfunction.

*If you've recently waxed your car or had someone else wax it, there is the possibility that wax may be blocking your spray nozzles preventing the fluid from coming out. A household tack or straight pin can clean out the nozzles and remove any debris that may be blocking the flow of fluid.

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