Windshield washers are one of the best practical inventions that car manufacturers ever added. With just a push of a button, washer fluid is pumped to your windshield. The wipers sweep back and forth over the fluid and away goes the grime of the highway. Suddenly, everything looks much clearer. The result of this is that when the washers fail to deliver, we have to make unplanned stops to wipe the windshield by hand. Often these stops are on the shoulder of a busy interstate.
There are two reasons that most windshield washers fail if there is fluid in the reservoir. The first is that the pump quits working which is rare. The second is when a leak develops in the system causing the fluid to be delivered to some point under the hood. This leaves you without the use of the washers while wasting your washer fluid at the same time. Most of these leaks are not hard to fix.
Have someone push the washer button while you look under the hood for the leak.
It would not be a bad idea to wear safety glasses while you look for the leak. You really do not want to get an eye full of washer fluid. It is a safe bet, you eye will not benefit from a dose of Rain Ex. You may need to have the washers engaged more than once to pinpoint the leak. It will usually be a very small hole in the tubing.
Hopefully, it is under the hood and not under the cowl the hides the wiper motor. On some cars the cowl is easily removed. On others, it can be tough. Either way, you will have to figure that one out for your specific car.
Mark the leak and get a piece of hose or a connector kit to repair it.
Once the hole is identified, mark it with a piece of tape or some type of marker that will remind you where it is located. Auto parts stores sell kits to repair or replace these little hoses. If the opening is in a short piece of hose that runs between two connectors that you can get to without too much difficulty, just replace the length of hose.
For leaks on a long run of hose, use a kit to repair it or if possible just shorten the hose.
If the leak is near the end of a longer hose, you may be able to just remove a couple of inches of hose to get past the leak and reattach the hose to its connector. Often these hoses have 6 or 8 inches more hose than is necessary. If you can get by with doing this, it will not cost you any money to make the repair. If it hits in the middle of a long hose, just buy a kit. The kit should have a double ended hose connector. You may not need any type of clamp, but if you can get a couple, it would be safer to have them.
You will have to cut the hose and remove the hole.
Cut the hose about 1/2 inch from the hole. Now, go 1/2 inch to the other side of the hole and cut the hose again. You will be removing about 1 inch of hose and the hole. Slip a clamp over one end of the hose and push an end of the connector into the hose. Pull the clamp down over the hose with the connector inside and tighten the clamp or just release if it works from spring pressure. Repeat the process for the other side of the hose. This should complete the repair.
Test your work.
Have someone get in the car and push the windshield wipers. If there is no additional leaks, you have fixed the problem. It may take a couple of pumps to get the fluid back through the length of the hose. So, do not panic if fluid does not gush out on the first pump. It will come. Just give it some time.