Ford Flex windshield washer not working – causes and how to fix it

Having a working windshield washer is important for a clear view while driving. If the washer on your Ford Flex doesn’t work, it could be due to a variety of reasons. In this article, we will explain what could be causing the issue and what you can do to fix it.

The windshield washer system on your Ford Flex may not function properly due to several common issues. Some of these causes include clogged spray nozzles, a leaking hose, a blown fuse, pump failure, frozen fluid, or any faults in the electrical system.

1. Clogged spray nozzles

One of the primary reasons for the windshield washer system not functioning on a Ford Flex is due to clogged nozzles. These nozzles are situated close to the bottom of the windshield, where debris such as dead insects, dust, pollen, and limescale can accumulate. The impurities can mix with rainwater and get trapped in the nozzles, leading to a gradual buildup and clogging.

In older vehicles, cleaning clogged windshield washer nozzles was a simple task that drivers could perform by using a fine needle to clear the holes. However, newer vehicles have advanced to using so-called fan nozzles or micro-emitters that produce a finer and wider spray. This results in a larger area being covered with washer fluid with each pump, but also means that the finer nozzles are more prone to clogging. Cleaning these nozzles may require a different approach compared to older vehicles.

Diagnosis: Before considering replacement of the nozzles, it’s important to first check for any issues with the washer pump or hoses. To determine if the pump is functioning correctly, you can perform a noise test. Park your Ford Flex in a quiet location, turn on the vehicle, and roll down the driver’s side window. Stand outside the vehicle and activate the windshield washer. If you hear the sound of the pump working, it’s likely functioning properly and the issue is likely due to clogged nozzles. On the other hand, if there is no sound, it could indicate a failure of the pump or a lack of power to the pump. This simple test can help you determine the cause of the problem before deciding on any repairs or replacements.

Important: Before replacing the windshield washer nozzles on your Ford Flex, it’s important to confirm that the fluid is being pumped normally. To do this, simply pull the end of the hose away from one of the nozzles and turn on the washer system. If the fluid is being pumped normally, it should flow out of the end of the hose. This simple test can help ensure that the problem is not with the pump or hoses, but with the nozzles themselves, before deciding on any replacements.

If there is little or no flow of fluid from the disconnected hose, it means the nozzles are probably good but the problem lies somewhere else.

2. Blown fuse for washer pump

The pump of the windscreen washer system on Ford Flex needs electricity to work. In case of a faulty fuse, the circuit is interrupted and the pump can not work.

Check your Flex’s owners manual to find the exact location of the fuse for the washer pump in the fuse box. If the fuse is blown, replace it with a new one with the specified amp rating.

Comparison between good and bad fuse.

To check the fuse, pull it out of Flex’s fuse box using a fuse puller or needle nose plier and hold it against the light. If the metal strip is broken in the middle, the fuse has blown. You must replace it with one of the same amperage and therefore the same color. It does not matter in which direction you insert the fuse.

3. Pump failure

The electric pump that feeds fluid to the windshield washer nozzles could have failed in your Ford Flex.

You can do a quick diagnosis by performing a noise test.

  1. Park your Flex in a quiet place.
  2. Turn on your vehicle and open the driver’s door or roll down the window.
  3. While standing outside your Flex, switch on the windshield washer.
  4. You should hear the whirring of the pump. If there is no sound, then it means the pump is not working in your Flex.
Windshield water pump and reservoir location in Ford Flex.

No power to pump

When you turn on the windshield washer system in your Ford Flex, you should hear a whirring sound from the pump. If you don’t hear this sound, the first step is to check the fuse for the pump. If the fuse is not the issue, the next step is to see if the pump is receiving any power. This can be tested by disconnecting the electrical connector from the pump and connecting it to a multimeter. If the multimeter reads around 12 volts when you switch on the windshield washer, it means that the pump has failed and needs to be replaced. However, if the multimeter reads a low voltage or no voltage, it suggests a problem in the wiring or electrical connection. In this case, you need to inspect all the electrical connectors and wires that provide power to the pump for any damage.

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4. Leaking hose

If the pump is working, but windscreen washer still does not work, Ford Flex owners should check the hoses. If they are cracked, loose or leaking, they must be replaced. An exchange is also recommended if the elasticity of the rubber hose at the connection point to the nozzle decreases. However, the hoses can also have easily fallen off due to vibrations in the engine compartment.

Rodent Damage: If bite marks or the like are discovered, there is a high probability that a rodent has let off steam in the engine compartment of your Flex. Then it is important to carefully examine all other cables and hoses for damage, including electric wires for the windshield washer pump.

Diagnosis: You don’t have to disassemble the engine compartment to check for a leaking hose in your Flex. Park your vehicle on a dry pavement and turn on the windshield washer for a few seconds. Now look under the front of your vehicle, if you see a puddle forming then there is a leak, otherwise problem lies somewhere else.

Note: Keep the air-conditioning off in your vehicle when diagnosing a leaking hose, as condensation from the evaporator coil is also drained under the vehicle.

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Video: Leaking hose in Ford Flex.

5. Blocked hose

In rare cases, a dirty or pinched hose can be responsible for windscreen washer system malfunction on Ford Flex. To diagnose, first open the hood and pull the end of the hose out of a windshield washer nozzle, and then turn on the washer system. You should see the fluid gushing out of the hose. If there is little or no flow, and the pump is working, then there is probably a blockage in the hose somewhere. Inspect entire hose and clear any blockage.

Note: If you see washer fluid gushing out of the detached hose when you switch on the windshield washer in your Flex, but the fluid doesn’t flow when the nozzle is connected, it means the nozzles are clogged.

6. Frozen washer fluid

In winter, frozen washer fluid can also prevent the windscreen washer system from working in Ford Flex. Most of the time, Flex owners have forgotten to fill in a mixture suitable for winter. If this is the case, all that will help is a warm garage or a long drive to thaw the fluid again. The windshield washer reservoir in Flex should also be thoroughly examined for cracks and holes. Because: water expands by around ten percent when it freezes, which can lead to a well-filled container bursting.

7. Faulty switch

You turn on the switch that activates the windshield washer system on your Ford Flex, but nothing happens, the pump is not working and you don’t see any volts on multimeter at the pump’s electrical connector. In rare cases, this could happen due to faulty switch. Diagnosing this problem requires removal of the switch from Flex’s interior and then tested with a multimeter.

8. Empty reservoir

It may sound kind of obvious, but have you checked if there is sufficient fluid in your Flex’s washer fluid reservoir? You may have just forgotten to refill, or if you have refilled the reservoir recently, it may have been drained out due to a leak in the reservoir or the hose. Double check if there is enough fluid.


There are many reasons why windshield washer may not be working properly on your Ford Flex. When looking for the reason, you should always start with the most obvious cause, clogged washer spray nozzles.

In any case, it is advisable for laypersons to visit a workshop. In the event of a defect, the mechanic can directly initiate the repair.

Author: Nabeel K

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