Plugged window washer fluid lines



I have a 1997 Saab 9-3. I’ve been having rather frequent problems with the window washer fluid system. Currently I seem to have a plugged line. The motor is pumping and the very tiny spray nozzles seem to be clear. (I’ve used a needle to make sure they are clear.) Any suggestions on clearing the lines? Is there a special fluid needed to prevent more problems?


I would remove one of the hoses from the nozzle itself and verify that fluid pressure is making it that far.
If not, a possibility could be a stuck one-way valve. Some cars have them, some don’t, and I flat don’t remember on your model.

The one-way valve is small spring-loaded little widget that is in the fluid pressure line and is designed to maintain fluid in the hoses rather than letting it drain back down to washer bottle level. Sometimes the little BB sized ball gets stuck and the small washer pump does not have enough guts to unstick it. Hope that helps.


If you have an air compressor you could try blowing air through the lines. Also there may be a failed seal in the pump causing a low or no pressure situation. You need to determine were you have pressure and where you don’t in order to trouble shoot where your problem lies.


I think if you put some very hot tap water in the washer tank, and also pour some on to / in to the washer nozzles, then activate the washer for a few seconds, that will help. Also, a short strand of copper wire can probably be inserted in to the nozzles to clear any obstructions at that point in the system.


Its easy to get wax in the nozzles and plug them up. Sticking a needle in the nozzle will clear it until you put pressure in it again, then the wax ball goes right back into place. Try removing the hose from the backside of the nozzle, use the needle to push the wax ball back, then use compressed air or water pressure from a garden hose to “reverse flush” the nozzle. Operate the windshield washer pump to clear the hoses, then hook them up and check to see if the system is working.

You can use a can of compressed air used for blowing out computer keyboards on this if you don’t have an air compressor. You could also use a can of WD40, but then you will get a little oil on your windshield the first time you use it. I don’t recommend that, but you could do it, I would not use any spray solvents for fear of damaging paint.


The pump could still be broken even if you can hear it. You could even get an aftermarket pump and put it in the line and connect the original wiring to it.