Clear Clogged Windshield Washers

Clogged windshield wiper jets are fairly common. Usually, automotive wax or polish creates a blockage in the top of the jet, preventing fluid from spraying onto the windshield. Although inconvenient, it can be fairly easy to resolve. If you can't clear the blockage, replacing the jet can be just as simple.


Unclogging Washer Fluid Jets

  1. Listen for the washer fluid pump. Before attempting to unclog the washer fluid jets, turn them on and listen for the low hum of the washer fluid pump. If the jets are clogged, you will hear the pump despite no fluid spraying.[1]
    • If you are unsure if the pump is on, ask a friend to listen from outside the vehicle near the hood.
    • If you do not hear the pump, the pump needs to be replaced.
  2. Inspect the jets for external blockages. Locate the jets on the top of your hood near the windshield and look for signs that something has blocked them. Often, automotive wax or polish can gunk up the outlet for the jets, preventing fluid from spraying properly.[2]
    • Wipe away any wax or polish that has clogged the end of the jet.
  3. Use a pin to clear deeper blockages. If wiping away blockages does not clear the jets sufficiently to allow washer fluid to spray out, try using a pin or needle to clear the holes. Press a pin into the each hole on the jet, then remove it and wipe away any clogs that come out with it.[3]
    • Only press the pin in as far as you can safely remove it.
    • Do not press the needle too hard into the back of the jet, as you may break the needle or the jet.
  4. Run a wire through the jet. If a pin doesn't penetrate deep enough to clear the clog in the jet, disconnect the hose at the bottom of the jet from beneath the hood. Then run a thin wire through the bottom of the jet, up through the top nozzle. If the nozzle has multiple openings, you may want to run the wire through multiple times until you clear both holes.[4]
    • Guitar strings will work well for this because they offer the rigidity needed to pass up through the jet.
    • You can also use a stripped electrical wire.

Soaking or Replacing Water Jets

  1. Disconnect the hose from the bottom of the jet. The rubber hose on the bottom of the jet is held on solely by the pressure the hose exerts on the nozzle, so you should be able to pull it off with relative ease.[5]
    • Simply squeeze the hose with your index finger and thumb near the nozzle and pull backward to remove it.
    • If the hose is stuck, use a pair of pliers to twist it back and forth to break it loose.
  2. Use pliers to remove the jet from the hood. Windshield washer jets are held in place by plastic stoppers. Take a pair of pliers and squeeze the stoppers into the jet, then press it upward.[3]
    • The jet will push straight up out of the hole in the hood with the stoppers pressed in.
    • If you are replacing the jets, it's okay to break the stoppers, otherwise be careful not to damage them.
  3. Pull the jets out of the hood. Lower the hood again and pull the jet directly up and out of the hole in the hood. With the clips already through, each jet should slide out of the hole with very little resistance.[3]
    • If the jet gets stuck, open the hood again and squeeze the clips with your pliers to release them again.
    • Be careful not to damage the paint on the hood as you pull the jets out.
  4. Soak the jets in a bowl of vinegar. You may be able to clear any clogs in the jets by allowing them to soak in a bowl of vinegar for a while. Move the jets around in the vinegar a bit to ensure it penetrates into the blockage. After a few minutes, remove the jets from the vinegar and rinse them off.[3]
    • Once the jet is rinsed, you can try blowing through it to see if the blockage is clear.
    • If the jet is unclogged, reinstall it on the vehicle.
  5. Install new washer fluid jets. Whether you purchased new washer fluid jets or are reinstalling the old ones you cleared, the process is the same. Insert the jet through the hole in the top of the hood with the outlets facing the windshield. Once pressed all the way through, the plastic clips will expand and hold each jet in place.[6]
    • Connect the windshield washer fluid line to the jet once its in place.
    • Start the vehicle and test your new jets to ensure they are working properly.

Checking and Repairing Washer Lines

  1. Visually inspect the lines from the reservoir. If your windshield washer jets are not spraying washer fluid onto the windshield, it may be due to a severed or kinked hose running from the windshield washer fluid reservoir to the jets. Look over the lines for signs of blockages or damage.[7]
    • Start at the reservoir and follow the lines all the way to the jets attached to the hood.
    • Look for signs of leaking, kinks or other forms of damage.
  2. Clean clogged hoses with an air compressor. If the hoses appear to be intact, the issue may be a clog inside the one of the lines. Pull the hose off of the nozzle at the jet as well as the nozzle at the reservoir, then use an air compressor or can of air to force air through the line and remove any blockages.[8]
    • If the air cannot pass through the line to unclog it, you will need to replace it.
    • If the air passes right through the line, reinstall it.
  3. Replace damaged washer fluid hoses. If you are unable to clear a blockage in the hose, you will need to install a replacement. You may be able to purchase direct replacements at your local auto parts store, otherwise take the clogged hose with you and find a rubber hose with the same inside diameter. Purchase a length of hose that matches the one you need to replace.[8]
    • Simply attach the new hose to the same nozzles you removed the old one from.
    • Test your jets once more after replacing the hose.

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