Cars & Vehicles Auto Parts & Maintenance & Repairs

How to Repair a Plugged Windshield Wiper Line

    • 1). Check the operation of the windshield washer pump first. Even a clogged line or nozzle will not prevent the pump from trying to purge fluid through the system. An audible hum or groan will be heard near the pump located at the bottom of the reservoir once the pump is activated by the washer button. With the window down---or a helper activating the windshield washer button from inside the vehicle---turn the button on and listen to make sure the pump is working. If not, check the fuse panel. If the fuses are OK, you may have a short in the system or need a new pump.

    • 2). Inspect the nozzles next. Use a pin or needle to insert into the small hole of each nozzle. Try not to change the direction of the nozzle sprayer. If you do, realigning them is simple by repositioning the direction of the nozzle sprayer with the same needle or pin.

    • 3). Follow the rubber lines from the reservoir to the underside corners of the hood. The line connections can become loose or misaligned near the corners and get crimped when the hood is closed. Repositioning them will prevent the clog from recurring. If a snap-in retainer has been compromised, it can be replaced with a zip tie or by purchasing a replacement retainer to secure the line in place.

    • 4). Return to the reservoir and remove the rubber line from the bottom of it. Since the pump of the reservoir does not produce high pressure through the lines, they are simply attached to the reservoir by a slightly oversized coupling from which the hose can slip on and off. Twist the rubber line back and forth first with your fingers and then gently pull it off the bottom of the reservoir. Have a suitable drain container beneath the reservoir to catch the windshield washer fluid. Some vehicles may require removing a component---such as a battery---or may even require removing the reservoir from the engine compartment to access the bottom line connection.

    • 5). Inspect the bottom of the reservoir near the pump to make sure no large article or debris has blocked the flow of washer fluid.

    • 6). Follow the line to its next coupling connection. Plastic T's and inline couplings are used to connect the low pressure lines; use the same method of twisting and then pulling the line to separate it from the coupling. Removal of an under-hood insulation panel may be required, but this is easily done with a screwdriver, interior panel pry tool and a pair of needle-nose pliers.

    • 7). Use a can of compressed air to purge the line. Use the small hose supplied with the canned air to insert into the end of the line and blow air through it. Replace the line and then repeat this procedure for the next section of line. Be sure to blow canned air through the T's and inline couplings as well. Follow this procedure all the way to the nozzles and then refill the reservoir and retest.

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