How To Drain Windshield Washer Fluid in Quicky Easy Steps

Everyone recognizes the importance of windshield washer fluid. It is used to clean the windshield when it gets dirty to have a clear view of the road ahead. This reduces the chances of bumping into other motorists and objects. But what if the washer fluid itself is dirty?

Over time, the windshield washer fluid gets contaminated with grim. Locate the reservoir in the engine bay or under the hood to drain it. The process is as straightforward as opening the cap and flushing it with distilled water to remove any residues.

Let’s dive in for a step-by-step process of draining your windshield washer fluid. You will complete it in just 10 simple steps!

What is a Windshield Washer Fluid, and What Does it Do?

As mentioned, windshield washer fluid is used for cleaning the windshield when covered with mud, dust, and debris. It is usually contained in a white reservoir in the engine bay.

Windshield washer fluid is contained in a white reservoir. Its distinct container makes it easily identifiable from other car fluids. Usually, a small water pump is attached at the bottom to pump the washer fluid to the windshield when you flick the switch on the dashboard.  

How to Drain Windshield Washer Fluids: Step-by-Step

You can drain windshield washer fluid in just a few minutes by using the following steps:

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Step 1: Open the Hood

How To Drain Windshield Washer Fluid

Windshield wiper fluid is held in a reservoir located in the engine compartment. Opening the hood reveals a white plastic container, usually with a windshield wiper printed on it.  

Step 2: Remover the reservoir cap

This is self-explanatory! Removing the reservoir cap is straightforward and does not require much force. Just pull the cap slightly up to remove it.

Step 3: Locate the drain hose and disconnect it

The windshield washer fluid is often not corrosive, but some might contain chemicals that pollute the environment. You can drain it directly into another container by disconnecting the drain hose underneath the reservoir.

Step 4: Allow the Windshield Washer Fluid to drain into a container

Give it some time to drain after disconnecting the drain pipe. Observe as the windshield washer fluid flows out until none is left in the reservoir.

Step 5:  Flush the reservoir with distilled water and reconnect the hose

This step helps to remove any stubborn debris that often remains in it. Use distilled water to flush it multiple times until it is satisfactorily clean.

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Step 6: Reconnect the hose and refill the reservoir with a fresh windshield washer fluid

Once the windshield washer fluid reservoir is clean, reconnect the hose and refill it with the recommended windshield washer fluid. Close the reservoir cap and test the system.

How To Drain Windshield Washer Fluid

Step 9: Close the hood and clean up

If everything is okay, close the hood and be ready to hit the road.

Step 10: Dispose of the drained windshield washer fluid responsibly

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As stated, windshield washer fluid can be corrosive if it contains chemicals. Therefore, you should dispose of the old fluid properly to avoid environmental pollution.

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Why Should Windshield Washer Fluid Be Drained?

You might have an idea thus far why you should drain your windshield washer fluid regularly. This fluid can get contaminated with grime or debris over time. This can block the hose and compromise the system’s function.

If you notice that the water jet does not shoot from the nozzle to the windshield when you flick the switch as it used to, it might be time to drain the washer fluid. In severe cases, the washer fluid fails to come out when you want to wash your windshield.

Also, an overheating or overly noisy pump motor is a sign of contaminated windshield washer fluid. It is time to replace it.   

How Much Windshield Washer Fluid Can Your Car Hold?

The capacity of the windshield washer fluid reservoir depends on your car type. Most compact cars can have a reservoir capacity of about 1.6 liters. But if you drive an SUV or a truck, it holds about 2.4 liters of windshield washer fluid at a time.

Some cars, such as specific Tesla models, have reservoir capacity of 3.2 liters. Others can hold up to 5 litters.

In other words, the bigger the windshield, the higher the capacity of the washer fluid reservoir. More fluid is needed to clean a larger area. And to eliminate the need for frequently topping it up, the washer fluid reservoir is made a bit larger.

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Why should you change windshield washer fluid?

Changing the windshield washer fluid ensures the system works more efficiently. A clean washer fluid does not cause blockages in the hose and does not overwork the motor pump.

What should you do when windshield wiper fluid is frozen?

The first step is to prevent your windshield washer fluid from freezing by mixing it with anti-freeze. But once frozen, let the car warm up for a few minutes or use a hair dryer to thaw the fluid. Point it at the reservoir and hose long enough to melt it.

Can you add vinegar to your windshield washer fluid?

Yes. Adding vinegar to your windshield washer fluid enhances cleaning power and avoids hose or nozzle blockages. Fortunately, most commercial washer fluids are compatible with vinegar! You should, however, contact your dealer as vinegar can also damage the motor pump.

How often should you change windshield washer fluid?

Change your windshield wiper fluid once every 6-12 months. But if you often drive on dusty roads, the replacement should be sooner and more frequent.

Can windshield washer fluid be poured down the drain?

Most windshield wiper fluids contain toxic chemicals. It can also be corrosive, making it unideal to be poured down the drain. Always dispose of the old fluid responsibly!

What are the effects of windshield washer fluid on the environment?

Most windshield wipers contain toxic chemicals that can harm plants and other animals. It can kill these microorganisms, including grass. Always contact your waste removal agency on the best way to dispose of your car’s windshield wiper fluid.

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Final Thoughts

Keep your windshield wiper fluid in the best condition to avoid blocking the hose and nozzle. Contaminated fluid also overworks the motor pump, thereby shortening its service life. Most automakers recommend changing the washer fluid every 6-12 months or more frequently if you drive on dusty roads.

Draining windshield washer fluid on time ensures the system works as expected. Also, always check the level of the washer fluid in the reservoir. The last thing you want is to run out of the washer fluid when you want to clean your windshield!