Windshield Washer System: What You Should Know About Its Upkeep

“The car has become an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete in the urban compound.”

– Marshall McLuhan 

This is a flawless description of the role cars have in our everyday life. Can you imagine yourself going without a car for an entire day? Or maybe for a week or a year? If you did, you probably found it a lot harder. That said, you probably don’t see your car as expendable. After all, it’s an investment, and you need to keep it in shape to use it. Otherwise, you risk putting yourself and others in danger, which is a huge issue. Furthermore, car repairs are expensive and time-consuming, so you don’t want that either.

With that being said, the windshield washer system is one mechanism that’s crucial for both your safety and keeping up the appearance of your car. And while its function is simple, it’s still super important. If you plan to drive safely, without marks or spots affecting your view, you must have a well-maintained system. Despite this, the washer system is a complex mechanism with many parts, like the pump, motors, wipers, and tank. All of these need to be in sync and preserved, for you to have a functioning washer for your windshield.

Washer Tank

Let’s start with the most obvious part – the tank, or also known as washer bottle. You certainly know its exact shape and place, you’ve opened it a thousand times just to replace the washer liquid. Nonetheless, the reservoir is not a simple part that only needs to be opened and refilled. You must be careful regarding the liquid you put in, the state of the bottle, and how it works with the other parts. Also, you need to make sure it’s always full so you won’t be fined.

washer tank

For example, there must have been a time when you run out of washer fluid and thought about using water. While you definitely can, it’s not the same. First of all, water just isn’t specialised for cleaning, so it doesn’t have the same cleaning power. You will have to manually clean bird droppings, crud, bugs, etc. And while it’s much cheaper, water can freeze in temperatures 20 degrees below zero. As such, it can damage your tank. Either making it brittle or completely shattering. If so, you should immediately consider getting a windshield washer tank replacement. This damage can also spread to your pump, as it’s immediately connected with the tank.

On the other hand, water is more ecological, due to it not having volatile chemicals, and it is cheaper. If you want to have an ecological washer fluid, you can make your own with everyday ingredients. Otherwise, experts recommend that you have washer fluid in your tank and at hand because it can be dangerous. If you’re driving in winter or parts with more dirt, the weather can make it impossible to see through your windshield.

Moreover, if you’re considering a windshield washer tank replacement, there are several things you should know. Firstly, the replacement doesn’t need to be an original spare part. But, it needs to exactly match your car specifications. It needs to match the size, the pump, the motor. Thereby, it needs to fit in with every other part of the system. Besides this, some tanks come with a motor or a pump as an extra part. So, be sure to check out all of your options.

Control Module

You’ve clicked the switch thousand times to wash your windshield, but you probably don’t know how exactly does it work. Well, the switch sends a signal to the body control module (BCM for short), which then sends it to the corresponding part. It’s the link between everything, and nothing will function without it.

Wipers: Arms, Blades, and Rubber

You click the switch, and the wiper moves, efficiently cleaning up all the mess bothering you. However, the wipers are also a fragile part. You have to take care of them and use them properly because they need to be replaced with original spare parts if damaged. Consequentially, costing you a hefty sum.

First of all, the wiper actually consists of three parts, the arm, the blade and the rubber. They move using the power of the wiper motor through the linkage. The arm connects the wiper motor with the blade, moving down and forth to clean up your windshield. If your arm starts to vibrate, it’s most likely faulty and needs to be changed.

windshield wipers

But, the arm doesn’t hold the rubber that cleans your windshield. The part that does that for you is the blade, and you must be careful when using it. For example, if you hear a squeaky noise or as if you’re scratching something, there’s not enough water. When using your wipers, make sure that there is water for the blades. So, make sure your washer fluid reservoir is full.

The Power: Motor and Linking

However, the use of blades is more complicated than that. Every time you click the switch, you also send a signal to the motor and linking. The motor gives the power to move the blades, while the linking connects the two. Additionally, they can also be damaged and require repair or change.

If you can only use your wipers in one speed or you hear strange noises and sounds, it’s probably the motor. But, if the wipers are jammed and move with jerking motions, then it’s the linkage. Also, you will hear a creaking sound from under the hood.

The Nozzle and The Pump

Of course, when you want to clean something on your windshield, you spray it with water by using the switch. The two parts which do this task are the nozzle and the pump, and they connect to the windscreen washer bottle.

windshield water pumping

The nozzle sprays the water in a pressurized manner, while the pump allows for the water to reach the nozzle. For them to have access to water, they must be connected to the reservoir.

If you press the switch, and the water doesn’t apply in a pressurised stream, you need to unclog or change your nozzle. But, if very little washer fluid is supplied, then it’s the pump. Both can be easily changed, but they must match your model and specifications. Also, there are some washer bottles that come with a pump attached. So, if you need to change both of these parts, you can do so in a single step.

Drive Safely

cleaning windshield

Simply put, a car is a serious investment that equals a lot of responsibility. You must take care of it and guarantee that everything works well. And most importantly, you should not play around with it or try to fix anything wrong, if you don’t know what you’re doing. A car is a piece of serious machinery with many parts that require delicate care, even the windshield washer! It’s not a toy, and it holds a lot of power. If you feel lost, that’s okay, don’t hesitate to go to a mechanic.

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