How to Replace a Windshield Washer Motor and Reservoir

We are a team of ASE certified mechanics who have created this guide to help you do the job yourself and save money. A windshield washer reservoir is designed to hold washer fluid which can be sprayed upon a vehicle's windshield via the washer motor which aids the wiper blades in cleaning the windshield.

What Goes Wrong?

A windshield washer motor is submerged in washer fluid which can be corrosive as any water based liquid is to electrical parts. In time and usage a leak can develop through the shaft seals inside the motor which will form rust inside the pump motor causing it to fail. This can sometimes create a short circuit in the electrical system which will pop the fuse that protects the device. The windshield washer fluid container is made of plastic which can split allowing the washer fluid to leak out which causes the washer motor to run dry.

How Much Does it Cost?

The washer motor and reservoir are usually fairly easy to replace which can be done with normal tools. The cost of the motors are between $25.00 and $45.00 each on Amazon, while the fluid container should cost about $50.00. A shop will charge between .5 and 2.5 hours to change these items out depending on the location and configuration of the pump unit.

Let's Jump In!

  1. Lift the hood of the vehicle to locate the windshield washer fluid reservoir. This can be done by finding the container cap which will have a washer fluid sign or just say washer fluid. The washer pump motor will be held to the bottom of the unit using rubber seals which the pump motor will press into.
  2. The washer fluid reservoir location will vary, in this case it is under the battery, remove the negative and then the positive battery cables.
  3. Remove the hold down and then grasp the battery firmly and remove it from the engine bay and set to the side, (Caution: Batteries contain acid, handle with gloves).
  4. Use a socket to remove the battery tray mounting bolts and then lift the tray out of the way to expose the windshield washer reservoir.
  5. Locate washer fluid tubes and release the clip which holds the lines in place.
  6. In some cases the tire will need to be removed to gain further access, lift the vehicle safely before this step.

    Watch the Video!

    Windshield Washer Motor and Fluid Reservoir Replacement Video. Then continue down the guide for additional information.

  7. Release and remove the plastic fasteners holding the fender liner in place. Move the fender liner back out of the way to allow access to the fluid reservoir.
  8. Locate and remove all but one of the reservoir mounting bolts, the container will become loose but not come out, leave the remaining bolt loose.
  9. Release and remove the electrical connectors from the washer fluid motor and fluid level sensor. Some units will have two pumps, one for the front wiper and one for the rear.
  10. Locate the fluid pump output hoses and remove, washer fluid will start to leak which is normal.
  11. Remove the last remaining mounting bolt and lower the container from the vehicle.
  12. Match the old unit to the new washer reservoir to ensure a proper installation.
  13. If only the fluid reservoir is being replaced, remove the washer pump motors motors from the old container.
  14. Remove (pop) the fluid level sensor which is located in the side of the reservoir container.
  15. Install the sensor into the new container this will require lubricant such as WD40 to help the sensor seal correctly.
  16. Match the new washer pump motor to the old pump to ensure a proper installation. When replacing the washer fluid pump only, be sure to clean the reservoir thoroughly to ensure proper pump operation.
  17. Install the new motors into the washer fluid container, again use a lubricate such as WD40 to aid the seals function.
  18. The new reservoir and fluid pump motors are ready to be installed, simply reverse the order in which they were removed and refill with new washer fluid and you're are all set. When replacing the reservoir or pump motors clean out the spray nozzles to help the spray pattern and flow of the washer fluid. If the spray is not working, listen for the pump operation, a hose or nozzle could be clogged stopping the fluid flow, check the washer motor fuse before replacing the pump motor. Use compressed air to blow clean the washer fluid lines and nozzles.


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