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How Much Windshield Wiper Fluid Does a Car Hold?

Wiper Fluid

Every person who owns a vehicle will eventually need to refill their windshield wiper fluid. The whole process can be nerve-wracking, mainly if you’ve never dealt with it before. You’ll need to know how to do it and how much windshield wiper fluid your car can hold in the first place.

Keep reading to learn more about windshield wiper fluid, how much of it your car needs, and how to properly maintain and refill and road divider

What Is Windshield Wiper Fluid?

Windshield wiper fluid, as the name suggests, is a fluid that cleans your windshield while you drive the car. When your vehicle is turned on, the windshield wipers automatically start working to clean debris and dirt on the windshield.

Your vehicle should always have an adequate amount of windshield wiper fluid to make everything function properly.

Image Credit: Holly Mandarich, Unsplash

Where is it located?

The location of the windshield wiper fluid will mostly depend on your car model and manufacturer. It’s typically near the windshield base, but we suggest checking your vehicle’s manual to locate it.

Of course, if you don’t have a manual, you can always raise the hood to verify its exact location. You’ll need to look for a translucent tank that allows you to gauge fluid in the reservoir.

How Much Windshield Fluid Does My Car Need?

Typically, most cars hold about ¾ to 1 gallon of windshield wiper fluid, but that can vary depending on the car manufacturer and model. Most tanks have a mark inside that will indicate the maximum capacity for the windshield wiper fluid. Empty the reservoir and start filling it to the required level. That way, you can remember how many bottles were enough to fill the whole tank.

It would help if you were careful not to overfill the reservoir, as that could cause multiple issues. As the windshield wiper fluid expands when it’s hot outside, it could stain your tank if you fill too much.

Many people fill the tank to around 80% of its capacity and then refill it once the fluid is low.

How Do I Know if My Windshield Wiper Fluid Is Low?

Most newer vehicles have a fluid level sensor that will display a yellow windshield icon on your dash if the windshield wiper fluid is running low. That will indicate you need to refill the reservoir before it’s empty.

You can also check the reservoir semi-regularly to ensure enough fluid is inside. Commonly, if there’s less windshield wiper fluid than ¼ of the reservoir, you’ll need to refill it.

Although you can drive your car even when the fluid is low, it’s not advisable to maintain a steady fluid level in the reservoir.

wiper reservoir
Image Credit: Gargantiopa, Shutterstock

How to Choose an Adequate Windshield Wiper Fluid for Your Needs

Choosing the best windshield wiper fluid for your vehicle will depend on your location and the average temperature. You should also consider your car type and the budget for the fluid. When it comes to the location and average temperature, your windshield wiper fluid needs to be able to withstand freezing temperatures or humid, hot summers, depending on where you live.

You should also consider the type and model of your vehicle to find a good fluid option. Cars with exposed metal parts function better with windshield wiper fluids that are not prone to corrosion and rust.

There are even windshield wiper fluids with substances that remove bugs and debris. Last but not least, consider your budget as the fluids come at different prices depending on the manufacturer and advanced substances they contain.

The 6 Steps to Refill Your Windshield Wiper Fluid

Although changing the windshield wiper fluid seems like a big deal, the process is pretty simple when you know what to do. Check out our step-by-step guide to learn how to refill your car’s windshield wiper fluid quickly.

1. Purchase new fluid

Before the actual process begins, purchase a new fluid that will meet all your requirements. Remember that you should find a suitable windshield wiper fluid that will work for your environmental conditions.

woman buying wiper fluid
Image Credit: Sergey Ryzhov, Shutterstock

2. Locate the reservoir

Once you have the fluid, open the hood to locate the reservoir. Depending on the model and age of your vehicle, the reservoir could be in different locations, but it’s typically on the side of the engine bay. You can also search for it next to the windshield beside the firewall.

The reservoir has a marking with small windshields, making it easy to notice. Of course, you can always check your vehicle’s manual to find the exact spot of the reservoir.

3. Remove the cap

Once you find the reservoir, you should remove the cap and set it aside. To unscrew the cap, you’ll need to twist it counter-clockwise. When setting it aside, place it in a clean area. Otherwise, dirt and debris could fall into the fluid once you place the cap back.

4. Refill the tank

You can take a funnel to pour the new windshield wiper fluid into the reservoir. Keep an eye on the lines on the side and stop filling once you reach the “full” line. In case of spilling, wipe away the surrounding area with a clean rag or use paper towels.

As the tank is typically translucent, you should also be able to see when the tank is full. Ensure you’re not overfilling the tank as the fluid could leak or even cause the tank to crack.

woman pouring wiper fluid
Image Credit: K Quinn Ferris, Shutterstock

5. Put the cap back in place

When the tank is full, you’ll need to place the cap back. Before securing it, wipe the cap to prevent dirt from reaching the tank. Once clean, place it on and turn it clockwise to secure it in place. If your cap is damaged, purchase a new one instead of re-using the old one.

6. Do a quick test to ensure everything is working properly

To ensure everything is working properly, turn on your vehicle and engage the windshield wiper fluid, as usual, to test it out. Everything should be fine if the fluid is spraying out properly and the wipers are moving.

car and road divider


Keeping an adequate amount of windshield washer fluid is essential to keep your wipers functioning correctly. As every vehicle is different, it’s always good to check the tank or look at your car’s manual to determine the exact amount of windshield wiper fluid you’ll need. Remember to refill it whenever necessary and don’t allow it to get too low, nor refill it too much.

Featured Image Credit: NOTE OMG, Shutterstock


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