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Carl’s Corner – Auto Repair Help

DIAGNOSE – THE WINDSHIELD WASHER SYSTEM DOESN’T WORK

By Carl O’Reilly

SYMPTOM SUMMARY
The windshield washer system fails to operate.

USUAL CAUSE
The usual cause of an inoperative windshield washer system is a defect in the hose from the washer reservoir to the hood.

DIAGNOSIS
Check the fuses prior to diagnosing the washer system. Refer to the fuse box placard and owners manual for fuse ratings and designations. Confirm the washer fluid level is adequate. Have an assistant operate the washers while you listen for the operation of the washer motor. This is usually mounted on the side of the reservoir and is sometimes an integral part of the windshield wiper motor. If the motor operates, check the hoses for restrictions. The outlet jets mounted on the windshield cowl or hood can be plugged from wax or other debris. If necessary, remove the hose from the jet and activate the washers to test the integrity of the pump and hoses. If the hoses are leak free, unrestricted, and the pump motor runs, the windshield washer pump is probably defective. If the pump fails to operate when the washer switch is engaged, you should check for voltage to the motor when the switch is active. Using a volt meter, disconnect the connection to the washer pump and probe the wires while an assistant activates the washers. If voltage is present, the pump motor is defective. If no voltage is present, an electrical failure is present. The switch, wiring and supply voltage should also be checked.

PRECAUTIONS, TIPS, and NOTES
When using a voltmeter refer to the manufacturers instructions. If your diagnosis has determined the washer pump is defective, a universal aftermarket pump may be a cost effective alternative to replacing the original equipment pump. Consult your local parts store for availability.


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