Low Washer Fluid Warning

Low Washer Fluid Warning

The Problem
Have you experienced a washer low level light that seems to stay on all the time, or worse yet, doesn’t come on at all, even when the fluid is low or empty? This is something we are seeing more and more often, now that the New England snows have finally left us, problems with the fluid level sensors in customer car’s washer solvent bottles. The problem seems to occur across the car lines we service, and doesn’t seem to matter what kind of car, we’ve seen it in Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen.

Most often this is evidenced by the low washer fluid light staying on, even when the bottle is full. You can correct the problem, but only for a short time. Once the sensor is checked and replaced, the warning light goes out, but the problem often  repeats, anywhere from 3 to 6 months later.

One thing we’ve noted on each case is the customer had been using the Rain X Deicer washer solvent, the orange colored fluid sold in most gas stations and convenience stores. Most recently, we had an Audi Q7 in with the repeated problem, and spent some additional time to document the issue. This vehicle has had the level sensor replaced multiple times over the last few years, and once again it needed replacement.

If you look at the photos you’ll notice a pinkish/orange colored waxy deposit inside the bottle, and also on the finger tip of the technician. We also find this on the electrical prongs of the level sensor, or coating the sensor body, effectively insulting the sensor from the fluid in the bottle. This material is, we can only assume given it’s color, some deposit left the Rain X product, perhaps something which is designed to stick to the windshield glass to prevent ice forming.

The solution, at least in this case, was replacement of the washer bottle, and sensor, and a complete flush of the washer lines, followed by the suggestion that only Audi approved washer fluid, the “blue stuff” be used in the future. We’re not saying Rain X is a bad product, but rather sharing our collective experience as European auto specialists, making certain that your car lasts, and performs as well as it can.

It’s always been our feeling, backed up by over 30 years of experience, that if a part or product is not used by the manufacturer, it’s probably a safe bet not to use, or install it. The folks who designed and built your Audi, BMW, Mini, Lexus, Mercedes, Volvo or other vehicle spend millions of dollars each year in research and development, and if something had a real advantage in fuel saving, increased horsepower, or better handling, it would likely already be installed on the car.

Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your BMW, or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists are here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.

The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team