Washer Fluid Reservoir Buyer's Guide
- A container made of hard, translucent plastic for storing washer fluid
- Symptoms your reservoir is up for replacement are leaks under your car, constant low washer fluid level, and fluid not sprayed onto the windshield.
- Costs around $20 to $470.
- The importance of having a functioning washer fluid reservoir is to wash bugs easily off your windshield and save money from having to constantly buy bottles of washer fluid.
There are six fluids in your car that you need to keep an eye out and one of these is the windshield washer fluid. It is not your regular water with soap mixture but a scientifically formulated liquid with methanol and other alcohols such as ethylene glycol. This liquid is stored underneath your car’s hood, in a hard plastic container known as the washer fluid reservoir.
What is a washer fluid reservoir?
Windshield washer fluid reservoir, or commonly called washer reservoir, is a container made out of hard, translucent plastic that is resistant to the effects of alcohol like ethanol and ethylene glycol. It can also last for years as long as it is filled with washer fluid. Leaving washer reservoirs empty for a long time can result in cracks on the inner walls, which can cause it to future leak.
The location of the reservoir in the engine compartment varies depending on the engine layout; some are found behind the engine block, while some are near the headlights. To help you locate them easier, manufacturers labeled these reservoirs with an icon showing a windshield and sprinkling fluid – other cars even have verbal labels that say “washer fluid only.”
Symptoms of a badly damaged washer reservoir
Typically, washer reservoirs could last up to decades due to the strength of its material. If there are any signs of wear, it is probably because of user abuse and mishandling. A damaged reservoir is easy to detect if you know what to look for. Beyond finding a physical leak there are other telltale signs that your washer reservoir is due for replacement.
Leaks underneath your car
Leaks found underneath your car could be a clear indicator of the many issues involving the different fluids in your car. Washer reservoirs tend to crack and lose their durability when you keep on filling it up with water and expose your car to freezing temperatures because water has a lower freezing point than washer fluids. When the water freezes inside the reservoir, the plastic hardens and develops cracks.
Consistently low washer fluid level
A cracked washer reservoir could drain the washer fluid reserves gradually. This is an obvious explanation of why you suddenly have to fill your washer fluid reservoir constantly.
Having a hard time spraying washer onto the windshield
Fluid not spraying onto your windshield could mean two things: either your washer pump is broken or the reservoir is damaged and has emptied out. Both of these problems are worrisome but a broken reservoir is easier to deal with than a malfunctioning pump. In rare cases, mold can develop inside your reservoir or near the pump plug, especially if you used water in place of washer fluid. The mold build-up could restrict the flow of fluid into the plug as washer fluid is pumped out.
The importance of replacing a failing washer reservoir
To avoid any inconvenience that a damaged washer reservoir may cause along the way, it is important to install a replacement immediately. By doing so, you could properly store the right level of washer fluid. As a result, you can maintain a clean windshield, wash dead bugs off the glass easily, keep molds away from the pump, and save money from having to buy more bottles of washer fluid.
How much is a washer reservoir?
In case you found your washer reservoir in bad shape, OE replacement washer reservoirs are available at around $20 to $470. Take note that part installation depends on the reservoir form and the engine layout. Be sure to refer to the owner’s manual when installing the product, or have a professional do it for you.
How to Install a Washer Reservoir in Four Steps
The washer reservoir is the component that stores the windshield washer fluid. However, if it gets cracked and starts leaking, you might have to take a look at the damaged part. After performing a leak test and trying to repair the old component to no avail, it might be time to get a new washer reservoir.
Required skill level: Intermediate
Needed tools and materials:
- Owner's manual
- Protective eyewear
- Factory jack
- Two jack stands
Making safety preparations
Be sure that you will be working in a well-ventilated area with your vehicle on a level flat surface and your car's engine in "Park." It is also best to refer to your owner's manual in order to find the washer reservoir and see how you can access the reservoir. Lastly, put on protective eyewear while you work.
Removing the wheel
If you have to get under your vehicle, you will have to remove one of your car's front wheels in order to access the washer reservoir. Lift your vehicle with a jack and steady it on a pair of jack stands before removing the wheel. Keep your car that way while you remove the old washer reservoir and install a new one.
Removing the old washer reservoir
Locate the washer reservoir either by opening the hood or going under your car. It is usually located along the edge of the compartment. Then, disconnect the electrical connection plug at the washer reservoir pump. Follow the black rubber hose from the pump to its first connection on the underside of the hood. You can find it at the spray jets. Disconnect the hose from here and remove it from any clips it is attached to so that it is only attached at the pump itself. Keep the end of the hose above the fluid level in the washer reservoir to prevent it from leaking on you if you're working from under your car.
Installing the new reservoir
Screw the new component into the washer assembly, attaching the hose between the tank and the motor and then reattaching any other connections such as those leading to the electrical system. You will also have to replace the seals, clips, and other hardware.
Keep Your Windshield Clean: How to Repair a Washer Reservoir
Have you ever wondered where the soapy solution on your windshield comes from? You usually see this cleaning agent when your windshield is dirty, and with just one press of the button, the soapy solution sprays onto the glass. The washer reservoir is the component responsible for storing this solution until the time comes that you need to clean the windshield.
To repair a damaged washer reservoir, here's what you need to do:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools to be used:
- Plastic tank repair kit
- Soap and paper towels
- Coat hanger
- Socket wrench set
Step 1: Look for the windshield washer reservoir in your car. Refer to your owner's manual to be sure of its location, as this component may be located on the engine compartment's driver or passenger side.
Step 2: Reach for the wheel well on the side where the washer reservoir is located. Then, remove the bolts or pins that connect the inner fender to the bumper.
Step 3: Unplug the power cable and hose connected to the washer pump. Get a flashlight and examine the area where the reservoir is located. Unbolt the washer reservoir from the car using a socket wrench with a long extension. After that, take out the reservoir.
Step 4: To repair a damaged washer reservoir, get a coat hanger and use it to smooth out the furrowed wall. Insert the hooked end of the hanger through the reservoir's grommet. If necessary, unwind the coat hanger to reach through the punctured wall.
Step 5: Take out the pump and put it aside. Wash the reservoir using soap and water, and dry it completely with paper towels.
Step 6: Sand down the damaged spot with the repair kit, which contains rubbing alcohol, epoxy, cloth, etc. Wipe some rubbing alcohol on the tank's surface and mix a two-part epoxy. Put the compound on the fiberglass cloth and lay it over the damaged surface, then leave it for about an hour.
Step 7: Return the washer pump on the side of the reservoir, and replace the repaired tank in reverse order. Ensure that all the other components are returned to their proper places.