Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Replace a Washer Fluid Level Switch

windshield washer fluid spraying

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: Windshield washer fluid not spraying

This is most likely the result of a clogged windshield wiper nozzle. Try blowing compressed air through the nozzle or cleaning the head of the nozzle out with a pin. Try tracing the washer hose from the nozzles back to...

Q: Ball joints replacement, dash lights came on

The code that you are describing goes to the right front speed sensor. I cannot assume that the last repair you've done damaged the sensor or it just went bad. I would have the front right sensor inspected to see...

Q: Changing differential oil

Change the differential oil every 60,000 miles or so. It's not something to worry about but I'd do it around that mileage just to make sure you aren't getting any extra wear. If the oil gets dirty enough, corrosion can...