Q: Can I Let the Washer Fluid Reservoir Run Dry?

asked by on November 23, 2015

Can I let the washer fluid reservoir run dry?

It is best to keep any fluid system in your car from running dry. The washer system often sits unused, so it can be easily forgotten. When the fierce winter weather is upon us, it is easy to think of needing your washers to combat the heavy salt spray that builds up and obscures your vision, but when the weather turns nicer, it can easily slip your mind.

Since the washer pump for the wiper cleaning system uses the washer fluid as a lubricant and to cool the pump when operating, allowing the system to go empty puts the health of the pump at risk of damage. The fluid also helps to keep the lines and hoses from drying out.

Checking the system is a fairly straightforward task: you just open the hood and locate the washer fill opening; it’s generally a clear opaque white plastic bottle with a color coded blue or yellow cap and a symbol that looks like a windshield with water being sprayed on it. Fill the bottle or reservoir up to the full line, or in some cases there is a small dipstick attached to the cap to indicate the level.

There are several different types of fluid available and since it can sit in the reservoir for months, be careful to always use a blend that will protect to a minus 15 degree or so de-ice number when in areas that have cold winter weather. This will help to keep the fluid from freezing in the lines which could lead to pump damage and the lack of the ability to clear your windshield in a dangerous situation. These washer fluids have cleaning agents as well to help remove bugs and dirt or bird droppings to keep your windshield sparkling clear.

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