One thing I am keen to start doing this year is to begin attempting basic maintenance on my car.

My first job is the rear window washer. First, I'll provide a bit of background on the issue (just in case I am miles off!), and then I'll get to my specific questions relating to the title.

Car: 2012 Audi S3 Sportsback (8P chassis)

Symptoms: Rear windscreen washer doesn't spray washer fluid


  • Washer fluid bottle isn't empty - I recently filled it, and the front washer sprays plenty of fluid
  • I can hear a sound when I attempt to operate the rear washer, presumably some sort of pump trying to push fluid back
  • The washer jet nozzle isn't the issue - I took it off, and there was still no fluid coming out (I gave it a bit of a clean anyway)
  • I couldn't smell any washer fluid in the boot area after operating the control for the rear washer

Next steps: I think my next step is to check for fluid arriving at the rear washer, this involves removing the bottom section of the rear trim lid. In my case there are two T20 torx screws which are easy enough to access and remove, but after that there are some "spring clips", which I suppose need to be popped open to allow me to remove the trim piece. From what I can tell there are 4 of these on each side, 3 around the edge, and 1 towards the centre of the trim piece.

I tried to prise these open by pulling the piece away perpendicular to the plane of the trim piece, but my nerves got the better of me. I felt like I was pulling too hard, the trim was starting to flex (elastically, rather than being permanently deformed), but it just felt like I was either going to punch myself in the face if/when my hand slipped, or I was going to damage something.


  • Realistically speaking, how much force are these clips likely to need to open up?
  • Are these clips sturdy, or do they have a tendency to break?
  • If one does happen to break, are they replaceable or will the whole trim need replacing to remedy the one broken clip?
  • Did you try forcing air back through the hose to see if you could see bubbles in the washer reservoir? It could be the rear pump portion, while the pump is running, isn't pushing any fluid. Should be something to check prior to pulling a bunch of trim pieces apart. Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 20:17
  • Good idea for a test. To try that I would have to remove the trim and get access to where the hose meets the rear motor as I don't think it would be possible for me to get a good enough seal on the part exposed if I remove the nozzle.
    – BadAtMaths
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 20:22


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