facebook pixel

How Much Washer Fluid Does A Car Hold? Never Run Dry

Filling reservoir with windshield washer fluid

I​f you own a car long enough, you'll eventually have to fill up the washer fluid reservoir.

Especially in dry, dusty climates or bad weather, it's easy to go through your car's washer fluid reserves quickly.

But when you go to an auto parts store or gas station to pick up washer fluid, how do you know how many jugs to buy? How much washer fluid does a car hold?

Depending on the make and model of your car, it can likely hold three-quarters of a gallon of washer fluid—although some vehicles can hold up to a gallon.

In metric measurements, most cars will hold 2-4 liters.

The best way to know how much windshield washer fluid your specific car can hold is to check your vehicle's user manual.

Keep reading to learn more about how long windshield wiper fluid lasts, how much you can expect to pay to fill your car's wiper fluid reservoir, and what will happen if you overfill it.

Table Of Contents [show]

    Filling windshield washer with fluid
    Filling windshield washer with fluid

    How Much Washer Fluid Do You Put In?

    If you have a clean funnel handy, it'll make adding the washer fluid easier without spilling it all over your car's engine compartment.

    However, it's usually doable to add the washer fluid to the reservoir without a funnel if you do it slowly and carefully.

    Most cars can hold three-quarters of a gallon of windshield washer fluid, though some makes and models can hold up to a full gallon. Stores usually sell wiper fluid in gallon bottles.

    If your car's wiper fluid reservoir is empty (and you'll know it is if no fluid comes out when you press the windshield wiper button on your steering column), you can expect to use most of a bottle of wiper fluid to fill it up.

    Windshield washer fluid
    Windshield washer fluid

    Can You Overfill Windshield Washer Fluid?

    It's possible to overfill your windshield washer fluid reservoir. While it's not great for your car, it's not the end of the world.

    What Happens If You Overfill Windshield Wiper Fluid?

    I​f you overfill windshield wiper fluid in your car, it might damage the reservoir.

    In extremely cold weather, the fluids can expand and cause the tank to crack or leak.

    How Much Does It Cost To Put Washer Fluid In A Car?

    I​f your car's windshield washer tank is empty; you can expect to use almost a whole bottle of fluid. Depending on where you live, a bottle of windshield washer fluid can run $2-4.

    Can I Use Water Instead Of Washer Fluid In My Car?

    While using water instead of washer fluid in your car in a pinch (like if you've run out of washer fluid and are miles away from the nearest store), it's best to use washer fluid whenever possible.

    Water won't clean your windshield as effectively as wiper fluid because it doesn't have the added cleaning chemicals.

    You also risk your car's washer fluid reservoir cracking if temperatures drop and the washer fluid freezes.

    Replacing the reservoir can cost several hundred dollars—so while water is cheaper than washer fluid initially, it may cost you significantly more.

    Nozzle spraying washer fluid
    Nozzle spraying washer fluid

    Why Does My Windshield Washer Fluid Not Work?

    You may run into several problems that can cause your windshield washer fluid not to work.

    T​he most obvious problem (and the easiest to fix) is if you've run out of windshield washer fluid, check and refill your windshield washer reservoir, and the problem should go away.

    Another issue you might run into is clogged nozzles. Over time, dirt and debris can build up in the nozzles that spray washer fluid onto your windshield.

    T​o solve this problem, try to clear the debris with a small pin. Next, use a can of compressed air from a computer store to blow the debris away; you may need to repeat these steps once or twice before the debris is fully cleared.

    I​f none of these solutions help your washer fluid flow freely again, you might have a faulty windshield washer pump. This pump pushes the washer fluid from the reservoir up through the nozzles and onto your windshield.

    I​t is typically pretty noticeable if your windshield washer pump has gone bad—when you press the button on your steering column to apply washer fluid, you should hear a noise. If you don't, the pump is likely faulty.

    While a new windshield washer pump will only cost you about $20, the cost of installation is often over $100. However, it's necessary to pay to stay safe on the road.

    How Long Does Wiper Fluid Last?

    I​f you live in a dry, dusty climate or one with frequent inclement weather in the winter, you'll probably have to fill your windshield wiper fluid reservoir several times a year. If your car sits for a long time, you might wonder if the washer fluid will go bad.

    Thankfully, windshield wiper fluid can last many years, so you shouldn't have to worry about replacing it after your car has been in storage for a while.

    Similarly, you can store unopened bottles of windshield wiper fluid for many years without going bad. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to extend its viability.

    Is Wiper Fluid Just Water?

    While wiper fluid does contain some water, it also includes other ingredients. The most common additive to wiper fluid is methanol, a type of alcohol.

    Methanol helps keep the wiper fluid from freezing and gives it its blue color.

    How Much Windshield Wiper Fluid Is Toxic?

    The methanol in windshield wiper fluid is extremely toxic.

    According to the National Capital Poison Center, even swallowing a teaspoon of windshield wiper fluid can cause symptoms of toxicity.

    M​ethanol poisoning can be life-threatening.

    So if you or someone you know has swallowed even a tiny amount, call poison control or 911 immediately.


    When you drive a car, it's essential to know how much washer fluid it can hold so you can have extra on hand to add if necessary. While most cars can hold anywhere from three-quarters of a gallon to a gallon, check your car's user manual to confirm.

    I​t's also important to keep safety in mind: be sure never to swallow windshield wiper fluid, and wash your hands after adding it to your car's washer fluid reservoir.

    B​y knowing how much washer fluid to add to your car and how to handle it safely, you'll be able to keep your windshield clean no matter what crazy weather you encounter.