How To Drain Windshield Washer Fluid

Windshield washer fluid is an essential component for keeping your windshield clean while driving. However, there may come a time when you need to drain the fluid from your vehicle. Whether you need to replace the fluid or perform maintenance on the washer system, knowing how to drain windshield washer fluid is an important skill. In this article, we will discuss the steps you need to take to drain your windshield washer fluid.

Step 1: Locate the Washer Fluid Reservoir

The first step in draining your windshield washer fluid is to locate the washer fluid reservoir. This is typically located under the hood of your car, near the windshield. The reservoir is usually made of plastic and is marked with a symbol that looks like a windshield with wipers. Once you have located the reservoir, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2: Prepare Your Workspace

Before you begin draining the fluid, you should prepare your workspace. This may include laying down a tarp or some old towels to catch any spills. You should also make sure you have all the necessary tools, such as a wrench or pliers, to remove the reservoir cap.

Step 3: Remove the Reservoir Cap

With your workspace prepared, the next step is to remove the reservoir cap. This can usually be done by twisting the cap counterclockwise. However, some caps may require the use of a wrench or pliers to loosen them. Once the cap is removed, you can move on to the next step.

Step 4: Drain the Fluid

Now that you have removed the cap, you can begin draining the fluid. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, there may be a drain plug at the bottom of the reservoir that you can remove to drain the fluid. Alternatively, you may need to use a siphon or pump to remove the fluid from the reservoir. Make sure you have a container to catch the fluid as it drains.

Step 5: Clean the Reservoir

Once you have drained the fluid, you should clean the reservoir. Use a clean rag or paper towels to wipe out any residue or debris that may have accumulated in the reservoir. This will help ensure that your new fluid is not contaminated.

Step 6: Refill the Reservoir

With the reservoir cleaned, you can now refill it with new windshield washer fluid. Make sure you use the appropriate type of fluid for your vehicle. You can find this information in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the cap of the reservoir.

Step 7: Replace the Cap

Finally, once you have refilled the reservoir, you can replace the cap. Make sure the cap is tightened securely to prevent any leaks or spills.


Q: How often should I drain my windshield washer fluid?

A: It is recommended that you drain and replace your windshield washer fluid at least once a year.

Q: Can I use water instead of windshield washer fluid?

A: While water may work in a pinch, it is not recommended as it may freeze in colder temperatures, potentially damaging your washer system.

Q: How do I know if my windshield washer fluid is low?

A: Most vehicles have a warning light on the dashboard that will indicate when the washer fluid is low. You can also check the level by looking at the reservoir.


Knowing how to drain windshield washer fluid is an important skill for any vehicle owner. By following these simple steps, you can safely and effectively drain and replace your washer fluid, ensuring that your windshield stays clean and clear while driving. Remember to always refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for specific instructions and recommendations.