Every time I press the windshield wiper button my car stalls!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

It started last fall as I was driving my wife's '94 Taurus. When I depressed the windshield washer button, the car immediately stalled. I had to get the car towed to a Ford dealer, who analyzed the problem and told me that water in the distributor had caused the car to stall. A couple of months later I used the washer again with similar results. When I took the car to a different mechanic and told him what happened, he said, "Impossible ... there ain't no way the windshield washer can make the car stall." The mechanic tried to duplicate the problem, but, of course, it wouldn't stall for him. Do you have any idea what can be wrong? -- Mark

TOM: I know exactly what's wrong, Mark. Windshield washer fluid is spraying onto your distributor.

RAY: You don't say, Holmes!

TOM: Elementary, tailpipe breath. There are two hoses that run to the windshield washer nozzles on top of the hood. And there's a "Y" connector under the hood where
they meet. My guess is that there's a leak at that coupling -- or somewhere near it -- and it's spraying washer fluid all over the distributor or the coil wire.

RAY: It's certainly an easy theory to test. If you're either patient or cheap, wait until the next time the car stalls, then open the hood and have an assistant push the
windshield washer button. You may see the stuff spraying around under the hood.

TOM: If you don't want to wait until you get stuck again, just replace those tubes and their connectors. My guess is that'll fix it. Good luck, Mark.

Order Tom and Ray's best-selling pamphlet Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It! You?-re probably doing at least one of them! Send $3
and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Ruin, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.

?(C) 1999 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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