Your windshield wipers are instrumental in keeping your vehicle clean, but they can’t do that if you run out of the necessary fluid. This isn’t something you should delay in fixing – anything that obscures your vision on the road even slightly is a danger. Replacing the fluid is a simple process, one made even simpler by knowing the right steps.
1. Make Sure You Have Spare Fluid
This might sound like an obvious first step, but some people think water is a fair substitute for wiper fluid. In some scenarios, it can arguably do the job, but this would be without the detergents and the solvents that make the traditional fluid so adept at grime-fighting.
These liquids are treated especially to resist all kinds of temperatures, whereas the water could freeze and damage the windshield system. The fluid you need should be easily available at any general-purpose store, and it is worth having a supply at all times just in case.
2. Open and Inspect the Reservoir
Securely open your vehicle’s hood, and make sure it is stabilized. If you were just driving, it is advised to wait ten minutes for the engine to cool. You should be able to find the windshield fluid reservoir – this is typically a white or blue “cap” of sorts, with a design or graphic resembling a set of windshield wipers. This is vital in distinguishing it from the similar-looking coolant overflow tank.
Open the reservoir, and do a cursory inspection of the water content; you will not need to add any water if this is full. If your windshield cleaning system is not working but the reservoir is not empty or close to empty, then you might have a different issue with your vehicle that needs addressing. If the reservoir is less than half-full, it’s probably time to top it up.
3. Pour the Fluid Into the Reservoir
The next step is refilling the reservoir. You might want to use a funnel for this just to make sure that the fluid goes into the cap and to avoid any spillages. You should also be very careful not to overflow the reservoir, so only pour until the fill line is reached. Afterward, affix the cap back onto the reservoir, and close the hood.
Before you’re done, you need to test the windshield wipers just to see if everything is in order. Even though it almost definitely will be, it is always worth double-checking to make sure there are no mechanical faults and that you can once again safely clean your windshield on the road.