A windshield washer fluid reservoir is a container that holds the solvent used to clean your windows when you activate the washer switch. While the reservoir is usually mounted out of sight behind the front bumper, the filler neck through which you add washer solvent to the reservoir is readily visible in the engine compartment.
The washer fluid reservoir typically holds about a gallon of washer solvent. Attached to the reservoir is an electric washer pump that turns on when you activate the switch. The pump draws solvent from the reservoir and sends it through a small rubber tube to the washer nozzles mounted on the hood or cowl panel ahead of and below your windshield. The pressurized solvent sprays out of the nozzles to clean your windshield.
The most common problem with a windshield washer solvent reservoir (sometimes called a “washer bottle”) is a leak. But a leaking washer solvent reservoir is not common. The problem generally occurs only if there has been some type of damage to the reservoir (such as might happen in a crash) or if you put plain water in the system and it was allowed to freeze. If the part develops a crack, fluid will leak out. So, one sign that you might need a new solvent reservoir is that there is no solvent coming out of the washer nozzles when you activate the switch. You might also notice a puddle of liquid on the ground or in the engine compartment.
Another problem that occasionally develops with a washer solvent reservoir is when one of the molded plastic mounting tabs breaks off and the part is no longer secured in its mounting location. Again, this usually happens as a result of damage from an impact. In this case, you might notice that the filler neck on the bottle is loose.
To replace the windshield washer fluid reservoir on your vehicle, a technician will need to gain access to the component. Depending on your specific vehicle make and model, that often involves lifting and supporting your vehicle in the air. Sometimes the front bumper assembly must be removed. Other times a plastic fender liner (and wheel) can be detached and moved out of the way instead.
In general, the electrical wire connector to the pump must be detached. So must the fluid hose that leads to the spray nozzles. The mounting fasteners are removed and the reservoir is lowered from its mounting location. The washer pump is detached from the old reservoir and inserted into the new part before the reservoir is inserted and fastened in place. The wires and fluid hose are reconnected before all other components are reinstalled.
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