$400 to fix the windshield washer

I have a 2007 Ford Focus (three doors) and the windshield washer stopped working after my last oil change. I took it into the dealer who said they would have to take the wheels off and part of the engine because the tube that carries the washer fluid to the windshield had broken somewhere in there. They blithely asked for $385 just to get to the tubing. When I protested they said that it was just cheap tubing and the car was seven years old anyway.

WTF? Is there any other way to get this back to working order?

To replace the washer pump and/or to gain access to the pump pluming, the right tire requires removal and then the inner fender liners need to be removed.

If you’re taking the vehicle to the dealer for this repair, the price sounds about right.


got any tools?

Do you have front and rear washers? Do neither work?

That’s about right for labor and parts. I had the “joy” of replacing the hose on a newer Mercedes, I think the built the car around it.


Be glad you’re not getting a quote to replace an evaporator

talk about building the car around it

I would have an independent shop install a “universal” washer pump and tank if they can find room for it…

I’d find access to the fluid tank (which might involve pulling the wheel and fender liner, not a big deal) and route a new line, leaving the old line in its inaccessible place.

Yes, that is the way this gets fixed, it doesn’t matter if it is the pump, hose or bottle. Anyone who can remove a wheel and undo an inner fender liner can do it. Using a dealer for this is like using a four star chef to cook you a hamburger.

Yheir labor rates must be really high to get this simple a job to that high a price.

The tire comes off in a minute and the liner comes off in probably .4 tenths. Get a second opinion.

Good gravy, if the tube is busted somewhere inaccessible, just re-route it.

Agreed. If you cannot or don’t want to tackle this one, take it to an independent mechanic, not the dealer. The dealer shop ALWAYS wants to restore it to factory spec, no matter what. An independent mechanic will by-pass the inaccessible line and run a new line that will be much more accessible with cheap, widely available washer line that may even be more reliable than the nylon stuff the factory uses. And, for a fraction of that dealer price.

Or ask the dealer to reroute line and get an estimate. Should be worth a laugh to hear their reason. They might say its a safety issue.

Even if the dealer was willing, their shop rates are usually far higher than those of an independent. They have to help support mandated training excursions, mandated but never used equipment, manufacturer mandated million dollar storefront rebuilding, the dealer’s advertising,… well, you get the idea.

By the way, it seems like all the dealer in southern NH are rebuilding their stores. Toyota’s Nashua franchise just completed a major rebuild, the Manchester one is in the middle of the same, as is the Lincoln dealership and others. It seems to be an epidemic among the franchises… which generally only happens when the manufacturers feel ill.

The tire comes off in a minute and the liner comes off in probably .4 tenths. Get a second opinion.

That’s an excellent estimate if you’re the customer but a terrible one from a business perspective.
We had people doing time studies here at work and a half year later, they’re losing their shirts on those jobs and wondering why. After interviewing the people tasked with timing the jobs, it was discovered that they timed only the effort of actually doing the work and then, after the person had already warmed up on quite a few of them. What about set up and clean up? What about the paperwork? The list goes on…

The tech at the repair place has to go to the service desk, retrieve the work order and keys. Then go out in the lot, find the car and drive it into the shop. Then get it up on the lift before he can even think of pulling off the wheel. Now go get your impact gun and proper socket. Remove wheel. That’s one minute?? No way, more like 10.

I won’t even mention the inner wheel well cover. Those are real bears to remove, let alone put back. Sheet metal and molded plastic going together is more art than science.

The guy also has to get the parts from the stock room. Who do you think is paying the bill while he waits for his turn and then waits on the parts guys to look up the proper part and go get it?

What about completing the paperwork once the repair is complete? Or cleaning up to get ready for the next repair?

Hopefully, I’ve made my point. Customers usually suffer from wildly optimistic repair times and do not realize the actual work involved. Even if they do, they sometimes believe they shouldn’t be paying for those “extras” but if you run a business, someone has to pay those costs or you’ll send yourself rocketing to the poorhouse…

The likely hood of the hose being “Busted” in the middle is highly unlikely. Its more likely to have come disconnected at one end or the other. The ends may have split so the hose will need trimming if there is enough.

Most washer reservoirs are in front of the wheel well so the wheel and the inner fender do not have to come off. The lower front part of the inner fender well has to be unpinned, that is the plastic fasteners have to be removed and then the plastic inner fender well can be pulled down to access the bottom of the reservoir where the hose will be connected to the pump.

Simply plug it in. If it is cracked and split on the ends, then trim it. If it is too short after trimming, then get about 6’ for washer hose from the parts store. If the parts store has a 1/8" straight hose barb, get it, otherwise get one at a hardware store. Then connect the new hose to the old one and pull the old hose out from the top, pulling the new hose in place. Trim off the excess and plug in both ends.

If it wont pull through, an alternative is to plug the hose barb into the old hose and add the needed length of new hose.

The car will need to be up on ramps or jacked up and on jackstands.

Let me add one other possibility. First have someone activate the washer pump with the key in the run position but the engine off. Can you hear the pump operating? Do you see water or washer fluid dripping on the ground? If the answer is yes to the first and no to the second, then the washer nozzles may be clogged up.

One way they get clogged up is when waxing or polishing the car. This is probably the most common. Its easy to fix, get a sewing pin or needle or bobby pin and stick the pointy end into the nozzle. It should squirt then.

If you don’t hear the pump working, then its not a hose issue. If you see water dripping, then the original diagnosis is correct, except it will be on one end or the other.

As far as those nylon lines go . . .

I have them split right in the middle of a run, not even close to heat or moving objects

But they usually seem to break at a bend

I agree that the labor is the big cost, not the part itself. If you have to remove a wheel, fender liner, maybe a headlamp, etc., depending on the car, it can add up quickly

The washer fluid line broke on my Odyssey van, and I found the line was just 1/4" nylon tubing available at a hardware store for change. I bought about 10 feet of the stuff for a few bucks. Fortunately, it was very easy to route. Fixed it in about 5 minutes, and it has been working for several years since. I wonder if somehow you could use the old line to fish the new stuff through.