DON’T LET WASHER TROU­BLES WASH OUT YOUR WAL­LET

Most prob­lems with your car’s wind­shield washer sys­tem are an easy DIY re­pair

Calgary Sun - Autonet - - NEWS - BRIAN TURNER

For­tu­nately, low-tech wind­shield washer sys­tems sel­dom give us driv­ers headaches. But when they do, it al­ways seems a waste to pay a li­cenced tech to fix a sim­ple prob­lem. Truth be told, most washer woes are an easy DIY re­pair.

Noz­zles are the most com­mon fail­ure on just about any type of ve­hi­cle. These lit­tle plas­tic squirters spend their lives bask­ing in the sun and that’s the key to their down­fall. Over time, the resins in the plas­tic will ‘dry’ out, leav­ing the noz­zle ex­tremely brit­tle. At this point, all it takes is a slight whack with a snow brush or even your bare hand and you’re left with pieces. Most driv­ers open the hood, fail to see any easy way to ac­cess the noz­zle or feed hoses, then close the hood and make a ser­vice ap­point­ment.

For hood-mounted noz­zles, few of them are held in place by sep­a­rate or spe­cial fas­ten­ers. The noz­zles them­selves have plas­tic clips in­cor­po­rated into their bases. A slight pinch will al­low the noz­zle to pop up through the hood cutout, mak­ing re­moval easy.

But be­fore you can see or ac­cess any of this, you need to par­tially re­move any lin­ers un­der the hood. These are held on with plas­tic push pins with a wide head, which will pop out with lit­tle ef­fort. Me­chan­ics will use a spe­cial tool to pry these out with­out break­ing, but you can hack the job with a two-tined bar­be­cue fork. As these sound dead­en­ing pads are flex­i­ble, you will only have to pop a few of the push pins in or­der to gain ac­cess to the washer noz­zles and fluid lines.

Washer fluid hoses are held onto their re­spec­tive spig­ots and fit­tings with­out clamps. The noz­zle feed spigot has barbed edges to hold the line in place un­der the light pres­sure the pump sup­plies; if you use a lit­tle warm water on the hose and twist be­fore pulling it off, it will pop with lit­tle ef­fort and no dam­age. New, hood-mounted noz­zles in­stall from the out­side of the hood down­wards, and the hoses sim­ply push on.

Pur­chas­ing these lit­tle plas­tic units may pro­vide some sticker shock. For some com­mon makes and mod­els, they can ex­ceed $30 each at the deal­er­ship. But af­ter­mar­ket com­pa­nies know when there’s a need to be prof­itably filled, so do a lit­tle shop­ping. Non-fac­tory units can usu­ally be had for half the price at parts stores, but they are of­ten sold in pairs. This means the ini­tial out­lay will be the same as buy­ing one from the deal­er­ship, but you’ll have the ben­e­fit of hav­ing a spare. And if one has de­te­ri­o­rated and bro­ken due to its sun­baked age, chances are you’ll need that sec­ond one soon, too.

PosT­mEdia filE

Rain pours down on a wind­shield on a cold rainy day in Edmonton in this 2014 photo.

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