BMW X3 wiper fluid leak motor and tank repair (E83)

A plastic Wiper fluid tank

Recently I noticed a wiper fluid leak on the floor of my garage near the BMW X3.  Around that same time my windshield wiper fluid light came on as well.  It turned out I had a bad wiper fluid pump motor which was causing a leak. It was easy to repair and I took some photos and documented the repair procedure below. Update: And now there’s also a YouTube video.

The wiper fluid tank is easy to remove, a single screw at the top secures the tank (if standing in front of the vehicle)
2008 BMW X3 wiper fluid leak with the tank installed


Remove the screw and set it aside. Tilt the tank upward and you’ll notice plastic tabs on the tank secure it to the car, gently pull the tank free so you can tilt it out further. At this point, you might want to empty the wiper fluid from the tank, I used a cooler because it was close by and I could reuse the fluid and hose out the cooler afterwards. You don’t have to completely empty the tank, I emptied enough fluid to handle the tank more easily. Sit the tank back into the compartment but oriented so you can work on the motors which you should be able to see now. Be mindful not to disturb the wires or hoses just yet. You should see at least two motors attached to the tank, perhaps three. My car does not have the cold weather package which uses a pump and would go above the two other pumps. You can see the place it attaches in the photo above.

Evaluating the wiper fluid leak, tank, and motor:


At this point I could see fluid had been leaking from one of the motors. Before I continue I should note my front windshield wiper pump had stopped working, the motor did not turn over and made no sound when engaged. Now it depends on what’s wrong with your vehicle, did a motor die or is the tank simply leaking?


For my situation, I needed to troubleshoot the leak and broken pump so I disconnected one of the motor wire harnesses and tried engaging both wiper motors to see if I disconnected the correct one. I did, so next I wanted to test the voltage coming from the vehicle so I used a voltmeter to test the wire harness leads. Voltage was more than 11 volts when I engaged the motor from inside the car so I knew the motor was getting enough voltage to turn, but the motor was bad.

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