Shared Knowledge

"BMW X5 - Sudden and Unexplainable Loss of Washer Fluid"

26 February 2014


Summary: most likely there is a leak in the line from the headlight washer pump and the headlight washers assemblies or around a headlight washer assembly.




BMW X5, model year 2000, 4.4i, 150,000 miles.

Periodically, without any explainable cause, "Washer Fluid Low" display.

At each occurrence, looked around washer tank but not could see or feel a leak.

Would simply refill reservoir and not see display for another 3 months, etc??


Washer system:

The washer system I have consists of 3 pumps: one for rear hatch, one for windshield and one for headlights.

BMW X5 - Washer fluid level sensor











BMW X5: pumps mounted to washer fluid tank

















BMW X5: How pumps mounted to washer fluid tank

The pumps are "held" into the tank simply via the ridges built into the molding of the tank.

Pumps can work loose, move upward, from tank over time.

There is a rubber grommet in pump-tank holes.

There are quick disconnect fittings on all washer line hoses.

The quick disconnects can leak and are easily cut off and hose pushed right onto pump outlet.

After receiving an electrical signal, all pumps do not completely seal their output port.

On the pumps for the windshield and rear hatch, a pump that seeps fluid is not a big deal as their hoses are routed upward and any residue fluid goes back to the tank.

The headlight pump however is a different story. Although activated only once every so many windshield cleanings, if there is a leak in the hose anywhere in the head light washer line or around a headlight washer, the pump will seep water out its port until tank fluid is below the pump-grommet.



You can get to the washer assemblies by removing the plastic ring around a fog lamp and then removing the flog lamp.

In my case, I did not want to hassle find the leak in the line or busted headlight washer, so I unplugged the electrical connector from the top of the headlight washer pump (this alone will not fix leak!!!), removed the rubber hose line from the headlight pump, placed a short piece how hose over the pump outlet and then put a valve on the end of the hose and closed it.

Since closing off the headlight washer line, no sudden leak of fluid.



Click here for more BMW X5