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All Clear Ahead
By Mike Bumbeck/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyEasy
Estimated Time60 minutes
60 minutes
Summertime. Long, warm, breezy days, slightly cooler nights, and lots and lots of bugs. As anyone who has driven in the bug belt during the summer months can attest, the absolute worst time to find out your windshield washing system is no longer working is when your windshield is smacked and smeared with the remains of flying insects. While the colors and patterns of smeared bugs may amuse the kids to no end, not being able to properly see out of the front window is a downright dangerous situation. Even the smallest amount of reduced forward vision can obscure road hazards that could potentially cause an accident.
Before and After Images of Clogged and Clean Windshield Washer Squirters
The right time to make sure the windshield washing system is operating properly and full of window washing fluid is before you ever leave the driveway. Also remember during the long buggy days of summer to clean your headlamp lenses frequently. Bug buildup can seriously cut down on headlamp light output.

Seeing Clearly
The windshield washer system in all but the most fancy of cars and trucks is relatively simple. First there is the reservoir that holds the windshield washing fluid. This is usually in the engine compartment, yet can sometimes live in the trunk. The tank itself will likely have a cap with a windshield washer and fluid spraying pictogram on it. Second is the pump motor and system of hoses that get the fluid from the reservoir to the windshield. Third is the actual squirter or squirters. From the squirters is where the windshield washer fluid, under pressure from the pump motor in the hoses, sprays forth all over the windshield. With the help of the windshield wipers, the fluid usually does a great job of clearing the windshield of dirt, bugs, and debris. Keep the reservoir full and all should be well. If a pull on the washer lever brings nothing but the sound of wipers scraping across dried-up bugs, then it's time to inspect the system.
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