How to Replace a Washer Fluid Level Switch

Your windshield washer fluid tank is full. You just used the windshield washer and plenty of fluid sprayed up on the glass. Yet, that “low washer fluid” warning is still staring you in the face. The most likely cause is a broken or shorted washer fluid level sensor. It’s possible that the bad level sensor can render your windshield washer inoperative. Common signs that the washer fluid level sensor has failed are the Windshield Fluid Warning Light staying on and unusual noises coming from the washer pump.

With the engine compartment of newer vehicles being so tightly packaged, the filler cap and/or filler neck may be the only part of the reservoir that is visible from the engine bay. You will probably have to remove the front wheel wheel and fender liner corresponding to which side your washer fluid reservoir is located. With larger vehicles and SUVs, you may simply be able to remove it from the engine bay.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing the washer fluid level sensor

Materials Needed

jack and jack stand placement

Step 1: Lift and support the vehicle. Apply the parking/emergency brake.

Place the jack at the appropriate lifting point for whichever side you are listing. Slowly lift the vehicle to the height of the lowest setting for the jack stand. Place the jack stand at an appropriate position and slowly lower the vehicle onto it. Leave the jack in position as a precaution.

Step 2: Remove the wheel well liner. Remove the wheel for easy access.

The wheel well liner will be fastened with numerous screws or plastic trim clips. Select the appropriate driver bit and remove them. Pull the wheel well liner out of your way and set it aside.

washer fluid reservoir being removed

Step 3: Remove the reservoir. Unplug the electrical connector or connectors. There may be more than one. Unplug the hose from the washer fluid pump and let any remaining fluid drain out. Select the appropriate socket or driver bit to remove the reservoir mounting bolts.

Step 4: Remove the level sensor. The level sensor may be held in place by a clip, or simply by friction between it and the seal.

Whichever pertains to your vehicle, gently pry the level sensor out as not to crack the reservoir. If the replacement level sensor comes with a new seal, gently pry the old one from the reservoir.

washer fluid level sensor being installed

Step 5: Install the new level sensor. If you are replacing the seal/o-ring as well, apply a dab of dish/hand soap to it and gently press it into the reservoir, making sure it is seated properly.

Do the same to the level sensor when placing it into the seal if needed as well. The soap makes it easier to install and any residue will be diluted by the washer fluid. Do not use a petroleum-based lubricant.

Step 6: Reinstall the reservoir. Secure the reservoir in place and plug in any electrical connectors.

Fill the reservoir halfway with water to check for leaks. If no leaks are found, start the vehicle to verify the low washer fluid warning is off.

Step 7: Reinstall all the parts removed. If the low washer fluid warning is now off, turn the vehicle off.

Reinstall the fender liner and wheel and lower the vehicle back to the ground. Top off the reservoir with washer fluid as needed.

Having a fully function windshield washer system is essential. If your windshield washer system is not functioning properly, have one of YourMechanic’s certified technicians come to your home or business and perform a windshield washer system inspection.


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Rating Summary
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Peter

42 years of experience
1301 reviews
Peter
42 years of experience
Chrysler Crossfire - Windshield Wiper/Washer System Inspection - Scottsdale, Arizona
Showed up on time,very professional diagnosing my problem,plus explained what he was doing and next steps to complete my work
Saturn Vue - Windshield Wiper/Washer System Inspection - Scottsdale, Arizona
This is the second time I have used Your Mechanic and had specifically requested Peter for my service. I was once again impressed beyond measure by his customer service, knowledge about my vehicle and overall professional manner. Your Mechanic has been a wonderful option when I needed vehicle service and I highly recommend their services and if you're in the Phoenix metro area, Peter in particular.

Tien

22 years of experience
903 reviews
Tien
22 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Windshield Wiper/Washer System Inspection - San Lorenzo, California
I appreciate Tien's professionalism and knowledge. I was mislead by another mechanic, but he treated me with dignity and respect and resolved my issue. I will definitely schedule him again
Ford Taurus - Windshield Wiper/Washer System Inspection - Alameda, California
Tien was great and everything was done in the allotted time. This was my first time using yourmechanic.com and was a great first experience.

Chris

19 years of experience
437 reviews
Chris
19 years of experience
Ford Explorer - Windshield Wiper/Washer System Inspection - Portland, Oregon
Knowledgeable, professional and killer blue eyes. What more can you ask for in a house call mechanic? Diagnosed and fixed my issue in less than two hours. Very respectful.
GMC C2500 - Windshield Wiper/Washer System Inspection - Portland, Oregon
Helped me save some money by figuring out it was something else wrong with my truck. Good guy

John

26 years of experience
620 reviews
John
26 years of experience
Ford Flex - Windshield Wiper/Washer System Inspection - Santa Fe, Texas
Right on time again. John does great work and is good at what he does. Sure is nice to have a mechanic come to your door instead of looking all over town for some help. Thanks John.

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