Why Is My Windscreen Wash Not Working?

You need a clear view of the road ahead of you when you drive. This isn’t just common sense – it’s the law! Your windscreen must therefore be free of any dirt, streaks, cracks, or obstructions. And your windscreen wash is there to help you clear your windscreen when you need to.

How to Operate Your Windscreen Wash

Your windscreen wash is usually activated by pushing a small button attached to the end of one of the steering wheel stalks, or pulling the stick towards you. This is typically situated to the right of the wheel. Look for a small icon that resembles a window with a windscreen wiper, and a spray of fluid.

Pushing this button or pulling the stick towards you will cause windscreen wash to squirt from two small nozzles located at the top of your bonnet. It will also activate your windscreen wipers.

But if no windscreen wash comes out, what can you do?

windscreen washer not working

Check The Windscreen Wash Levels

If you’re not getting any windscreen wash, then you might just have to refill your windscreen wash levels.

Pop your bonnet open and look for a plastic cap with a similar icon to the one you see on your car’s dashboard – a window with a spray of fluid. To refill your windscreen wash, simply lift this cap and pour in your fluid. It’s best to use a small funnel for this, but you can also pour directly from the container. Though you should expect a bit of splashing when you do this.

But what if your windscreen wash levels are fine, and you’re still not getting any spray?

Check For Blockages

Look for the nozzles at the top of your car bonnet. A lot of dirt, dust, pollen, dead insects and other things can gather at the bottom of your windscreen, so it’s quite easy for these nozzles to get clogged up.

You can try unclogging the nozzles yourself using a fine needle or pin. Simply poke it into the nozzle, and gently jiggle it around a bit. Then test them again. If you’re still not getting any washer fluid spray after doing this a few times, then the problem might lie elsewhere.

In cold weather, it’s also possible for your windscreen washing system to get frozen. Wait until things warm up a little and the problem might fix itself. But in the meantime, you’ll have to clean your windscreen yourself before each journey.

Blocked or Leaking Hoses

Your car uses hoses to take windscreen wash fluid from the tank under your bonnet to the nozzles. These too can become blocked. Or they can leak.

If the nozzles aren’t blocked, then the problem might lie with the hoses. If you see a puddle forming under your car when you try to use the window wash, then you probably have a leak. But if no washer comes out, then it might be a blockage in the hose.

You might be able to sort out a blocked hose yourself but it’s better to go to a trained mechanic, as your hoses might need replacing.

Windscreen Washer Pump and Fuse Issues

When you try to use your windscreen wash, do you hear a noise? A sort of whirring sound? This is the electric pump that feeds the fluid to the nozzles. If you hear a whirring but you get no spray, then it’s probably a leak or a blockage. But if you don’t hear a whirring at all, then there might be a problem with your pump.

The pump itself might be worn out or it might have simply blown a fuse. In any case, this is another problem that’s best fixed by a trained mechanic.

In some cars, the pump won’t work at all if there is any frozen fluid in the system. This is a safety measure, to prevent the system from burning out. So again, if it’s winter and you’re not getting any spray, things might sort themselves out when things get warmer. And again, you’ll have to wash your windscreen yourself until the temperature rises.

Faulty Controls

If you’ve tried everything and you’re still not getting any washer spray, then the problem might lie with the button or stick on your dashboard. There could be a problem with your car’s wiring.

This is one issue that you’ll be unlikely to diagnose or fix yourself. And this is why regular car servicing is essential. Trained mechanics can spot possible issues like this and address them long before they become serious (and expensive) problems.

Keep Your Windscreen Clean and Clear at All Times!

As we mentioned above, you have a legal obligation to keep your windscreen clean and free from obstructions at all times.

You’ll find many guides on our site to help you ensure you have as clear a view of the road ahead as possible:

Sometimes, you might have no choice but to get your windscreen repaired or replaced. We offer windscreen cover as part of our comprehensive car insurance policies.

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