Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself: Replace Windshield Wiper Fluid

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Keeping your car’s windshield wiper fluid stocked is an important part of being safe on the road. Long road trips can cause bugs and debris to pile up on your windshield. Inclement weather can cause ice to accumulate, and wiper fluids help to keep our line of sight clear in both situations. Sometimes wiper fluid can run low, and you’ll need to have it replaced. Fortunately, replacing windshield wiper fluid is a relatively simple task because there aren’t many moving parts to deal with. You can replace windshield wiper fluid from home instead of taking it to a mechanic. This will save you money, as mechanics often charge a fee for this service. Read through for a quick rundown of the steps to replace windshield wiper fluid.

Replacing Windshield Wiper Fluid
Before you begin working on your car in any manner, it is important you make sure your car is turned off and parked on a level surface. Pull the parking brake. Tie back any long hair and roll up loose clothing or sleeves.

  1. Pop the vehicle’s hood and find the washer fluid reservoir. Most often, the washer fluid reservoir is white and translucent. It will have a windshield and water symbol to mark it as the reservoir. Some vehicles have rear wipers. If this is the case there may be two reservoirs. One will have a sign that denotes it as the reservoir for rear wipers. These are most often found near the front of the engine area.
  2. Twist off the cap and check fluid levels. If fluid levels appear to be fine but fluid will not spray, there may be an issue with your windshield wipers or the line between them. If this is so, check for leaks along the line.
  3. Pour replacement fluid into the reservoir until it is full. There may be a line to indicate when the reservoir is at capacity.
  4. Reseal the reservoir with the cap. Push down until you hear the cap pop into place.
  5. Put the hood down
  6. Clean off funnels or any other materials used during the process with water

Once your windshield wiper fluid is replaced, you should be good to get back on the road.

Taking your car to a mechanic to get this done will cost you much more than it will just doing it at home. Windshield wiper fluid comes by the gallon at most retailers for around $3 a gallon. This will last you a couple washer fluid fill-ups. Mechanics may charge up to $40 in part and labor costs for this operation. No need to spend money when the change can be done in just a few minutes at home.

Do I Have to Use Windshield Wiper Fluid?
You may think that windshield wiper fluid can be replaced with other liquids such as water, but it’s important to use actual wiper fluid due to its chemical compounds. Wiper fluid is made with chemicals that prevent freezing in especially cold temperatures. Water can freeze over in your windshield wiper reservoir, causing hundreds of dollars in damages. Always fill your reservoir with proper fluids.

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