Draining washer fluid

This is a fairly specific question, but I figured I’d give it a shot. I bought some knock-off “compare to Rain-X” washer fluid for my 2012 Mazda6. I’ve used it before in my old Jeep and really liked the results – kept the windshield clean and water really did bead off well when moving at speed. However, with the 6, it hasn’t worked out so well. It cleans the windshield fine, but when I do use the wipers in the rain (as has been necessary despite the Rain-X qualities), the result is a streaky/hazy glaze on the windshield which is annoying at best.

Anyway, I want to drain this junk and just replace it with the standard blue stuff. I’m already planning on removing the front bumper cover in the next few days to replace the lower grill. Any idea if I’ll be able to readily access the washer reservoir with the bumper off? I figured it’d be easier to just pull out a plug or hose on the bottom of the reservoir while I already have the bumper off, rather than trying to siphon it all out. Thanks!

The pump is usually attached to the bottom of the washer fluid reservoir, and the best way to drain the system completely is to just remove the pump to drain the bottle and then spray the rest out of the tubes, but I have no idea how hard it is to access that on a 2012 Mazda 6.

I’m willing to bet that of you asked the Mazda dealer’s parts window guy for an “exploded view” drawing of the installation he’d be happy to print one for you.

I’d just get the wifes turkey baster out and suck the old stuff out.
You’ll dilute it enough with the new washer fluid.

Then buy the wife a new baster.


Haha I’m not sure a turkey baster would work too well without even considering the reaction of the baster’s owner. From what I remember when I put this stuff in last week, the main reservoir seems to sit fairly low in the engine compartment with a long, skinny, off-center nozzle portion reaching up. A baster would remove little, if any. I guess I’ll just have to see what it looks like when I do get that bumper off. Worse comes to worst, I’ll try to siphon what I can or just let it run its course. The faux Rain-X isn’t that bad, just an annoyance. Thanks, fellas.

I’ll bet that when you remove the bumper cover, which will probably also require removal of the splash panels underneath and maybe even the fender liner, the reservoir will be right there staring at you. I removed mine (different car) a few years ago and I recall the reservoir being right there in front of me.

Siphoning seems like it would work great. Just be sure to use clean hoses, so you don’t end up with plugged up sprayers. The holes in those sprayers are very tiny.

I wouldn’t try to remove the pump, as it might cause it to leak.

Not sure what’s involved to remove the plastic bottle on your car, but on my Corolla it is like a 3 minute job. I did that job recently to fix a leak where the pump connected to the bottle (hence the comment above).

This siphon from Harbor Freight might work.

Could it be the wipers by any chance?

Ed B.

You might find this article video helpful:
How to Flush Your Window Washer Reservoir

@edb1961 As in the wipers are causing the streaking/foggy effect? I suppose it’s possible that they’re playing a part. I just got the car used so I don’t know how old they are. However, the wipers seem to work well otherwise and I don’t remember having issues before I dumped in this new washer fluid (though it hasn’t really rained much here before today).

Other posters here have commented on the streaky windshield problem when using this kind of product. Not everyone, but quite a few have noted this. I doubt the problem is the wipers. I think you are on the right track to flush the system and go back to what you were using before. Best of luck.

Just suck out as much as you can if you can reach it, then engage the wash feature until the rest has sprayed out and the reservoir is mostly empty. You may want to do this for a minute, let the pump cool for a few minutes, then continue on in intervals to avoid overtaxing the pump if there is a lot of fluid left. Also, you might want to disconnect the hose that feeds to the sprayer and put it into a container to capture what is left and avoid putting even more of this stuff on your windshield if it is that bad.

I wouldn’t take anything apart to reach the reservoir–it seems like a pointless waste of time that could end up breaking something that’s working fine.

All you need to do is run the windshield washer until it is empty. Then re-fill it.

You could also go to the hardware store and get a few feet of hose that will lengthen the basters reach.

But because you are dismantling things, just remove the tank while you’re at it and dump the old stuff out.


Replace the wiper blades, simpler and effective. I tried that stuff for a while, and I needed new wiper blades about every 6 months max. On the cheapo stuff, been a few years since new blades. I found NAPA blades were effective longer, by a month or 2

Figured I’d follow up with an update. The bumper came off (and fortunately went back on) with relative ease. I got my grill replaced, and was able to drain the washer fluid. The reservoir sits just in front of the right wheel. There was a little hose coming off what I assume is the pump. I just pulled that sucker off and let it drain, then poured a quart or two of water in it to flush things out a bit.

I used to take a jug the blue stuff came in, rinse it out, replace with cold tap water with a little blue food coloring, and take it to the beach, sporting events, etc, drink out of it and watch people’s reaction.