Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Windshield Washer Pump

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Windshield Washer Pump

windshield washer pump

Believe it or not, one of the easiest parts on every car, truck, or SUV to maintain is the windshield washer pump. Although many car owners experience problems with their windshield washer system at some point of owning their car, proper maintenance, using only windshield washer fluid, and replacing your washer nozzles when they wear can keep your washer pump running smoothly virtually forever. Sometimes it's difficult to do all of this, which can cause the windshield washer pump to wear out or fail completely.

The windshield washer pump is designed to suck windshield washer fluid from the reservoir, through the supply lines, to the spray nozzles and onto your windshield. When all of these components work in conjunction, they allow you to remove road grime, dirt, dust, pollen, mud, and bugs from your line of sight. The windshield washer pump is electronic and is subject to wear and tear over time. It can also be damaged by trying to spray washer fluid when the reservoir is empty. Washer fluid acts as coolant as it runs through the pump, so if you’re running it dry, there’s a chance that it will overheat and sustain damage.

There are a few warning signs that may indicate that a problem with your windshield washer pump exists and needs to be serviced or replaced by a certified mechanic in your area. Here are a few of these symptoms to be aware of that will indicate a potential problem with your washer pump exists.

1. Washer fluid does not spray evenly

When you pull back on the washer control arm or activate the washer fluid by pressing a button, the washer fluid is supposed to spray evenly onto your windshield. If this doesn't occur, it's most likely caused by one of two things:

  • A blockage inside the lines or nozzles
  • A washer pump that is not fully functional

Although the pump typically is an all-or-nothing system, there are some times when it will begin to slow the pressure or volume of washer fluid it can deliver when the pump begins to wear out. If you notice this symptom, it's recommended that you have a mechanic inspect your windshield washer pump and nozzles to verify what the problem is and repair it quickly.

2. No fluid sprays onto the windshield

If you have this problem, again, it's one of two things. First and most common is that the windshield washer fluid reservoir is empty or the pump is broken. There are some occasions where the problem might be with the washer nozzles, but if this occurs, you'll see washer fluid flowing from behind or beside the nozzle. It's recommended by automotive manufacturers to check your windshield washer fluid once per week. A good rule of thumb is to pop your hood and check the washer fluid at every gas fill up. If you're low on fluid, most gas stations sell a gallon of washer fluid that you can easily fill the reservoir.

By making sure the reservoir is always more than 50 percent full, the likelihood of having the pump wear out or burn out will significantly reduce.

3. Pump doesn’t engage when you activate the system

The washer pump makes a distinctive sound when you trigger the windshield washer fluid to spray onto your windshield. If you press the button and don't hear anything, and no fluid sprays onto your windshield, this indicates that the pump is broken or is not receiving electrical power. If this is the case, check the fuse that operates the washer pump to see if it has burnt out and replace if necessary. However, if the fuse is not the problem, you'll have to contact a local ASE certified mechanic to replace the windshield washer pump.

A properly functioning windshield washer pump is critical to driving safety and ensuring you have a clean windshield anytime you drive. If you notice any of the above warning signs, contact a local ASE certified mechanic through YourMechanic. Our professional mechanics are able to visit your home or office at your convenience.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
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

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Q: Windshield wipers not working.

This seems like the switch is on its way out, I would have a certified mechanic verify that 12 volts is being applied to the windshield wiper motor. If power is present and the wiper isn't working its the motor,...

Q: Does the Defroster Help the Wiper Blades Work Better?

The short answer is no. Wiper blades squeegee water from the exterior of your windshield and the defrosters remove moisture from the interior of the vehicle, which includes the inside of your windshield. Sometimes it may appear the defrosters are...

Q: Wipers not working, 2005 Skoda Octavia

I am working on this