As long as the washer fluid reservoir is kept full, your windshield wiper system can last for several years without requiring any maintenance at all. But much like other auto parts, age and regular use will definitely take their toll on the windshield washer and before you know it, the system will just stop functioning properly.
If you suspect a defective washer pump to be the culprit, you'd better do some troubleshooting first before fixing the part. Besides age and regular wear, the pump can also fail due to infrequent use or other factors such as power surges, which can knock out the circuits that supply electricity into the pump. Pump failure can also be caused by inability of the washer fluid to flow through the hose or squirt out of the nozzles due to clog.
Troubleshooting issues with the pump is something that can be done even without a professional's help. Here are the steps on how to troubleshoot windshield washer pump problems and how to remedy each of them:
What you'll need:
- New fuse
- All-purpose cleaner
- Dielectric silicone grease
Preparing the vehicle
Step 1: Find a quiet and well-lit space where you can comfortably carry out this DIY task and park your vehicle in there.
Step 2: Turn the engine off, but keep the key in the on position so the car will still have electrical power.
Checking for and replacing a blown fuse
Step 1: Listen carefully for the humming sound produced by the windshield washer pump. The absence of humming sound from the pump indicates that you have a blown fuse.
Step 2: Locate the fuse box inside the vehicle and remove the fuse designated for the pump. The location of the fuse box may vary from vehicle to vehicle, so it's wise to consult your manual first to know its actual location.
Step 3: Remove the blown fuse and snap the new one into place with your fingers.
If you're able to hear the humming of the washer pump but it still fails to pump fluid into the windshield, continue troubleshooting because it's possible that you have clogged nozzles.
Troubleshooting and repairing plugged up nozzles
Step 1: With the wipers turned off, follow the washer hose that runs from the nozzle to the washer fluid reservoir until you reach the plastic barbed connector.
Step 2: Detach the barbed wire connector from the washer hose and turn on the wipers. If you see washer fluid squirting out of the hose, that means the nozzles are clogged.
Step 3: To clean the nozzles, you have to insert a small pin into them to get rid of any debris and, with your mouth, blow through the tube.
In case the nozzles aren't clogged, proceed to the next step.
Checking and fixing a faulty electrical connection
Step 1: You can check the electrical connections on your washer pump by connecting a multimeter to it. If the electrical connections of the pump are functioning well, the multimeter should read 12 volts when connected to the pump. Failure to obtain such reading signifies electrical connection problems.
Step 2: If the multimeter shows correct voltage, try to clean the terminals on the washer pump's electrical connection using all-purpose cleaner and a rag.
Step 3: Once the terminals are clean, coat them with dielectric silicone grease.