From clearing your windshield of dirt, dust and debris to keeping it free of rain, snow and sleet, you rely upon your windshield wipers on a regular basis. If your wipers aren’t working properly, it’s more than an annoyance: it can quickly become a safety issue. Having a clear windshield is paramount to safe driving – if you can’t see out your windshield, you aren’t prepared to react to oncoming traffic or hazards.
If the performance of your wipers has deteriorated or if they have stopped working all together, it is likely due to one of the five following issues. If you are experiencing any of these problems, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your mechanic. You don’t want to get caught in a rainstorm without your wipers.
Broken wiper control
Every time you use your wipers, you reach for the wiper control that is typically part of a multifunction switch that operates the turn signals, headlights, high beams, wipers and washer function. All of this use can cause the switch to fail. This break in power between the wiper control and the wiper motor prevents the wipers from operating. To isolate the problem, test the turn signals; if the control has failed it is likely that the turn signals will also be malfunctioning. If you suspect that the control has failed, have your mechanic fix it as soon as possible. Driving without wipers and turn signals is highly dangerous.
Burned out fuse
When the wiper motor blows a fuse, it prevents power from getting to the wiper system, resulting in the wipers not working. If a blown fuse is the cause of your issues, the wipers won’t move and you won’t hear anything when you turn the wiper switch on. Your trusted mechanic will be able to determine if a fuse has blown, which fuse is the problem and get it replaced it in short order.
Failed wiper motor
Powering your wipers is an electric wiper motor. Like all electrical components, it could unexpectedly quit or short out, leaving you with wipers that don’t work. If the motor has completely failed, you won’t hear any sounds when you engage the wiper switch. If the motor hasn’t completely gone out, you’ll hear the motor struggling to work. If you suspect a faulty wiper motor is the source of your problems, enlist the help of your mechanic who’ll be able to replace the motor and bring your wipers back to life.
Buildup of snow or ice
That storm that just dropped 5" of wet snow can do a number on your wipers. Be sure to clean any snow or ice from your wipers before attempting to use them. A buildup of snow or ice can cause problems like bent wiper blades, wiper arms that skip, or a blown fuse and other issues with the wiper motor. If you live in a snowy climate, you may want to consider premium beam winter wiper blades to avoid freezing joints.
Damaged wiper blades
If your wipers work but are smearing, streaking and not performing as well as they used to, a pair of new wiper blades may fix the problems. Wiper blades that have nicks and tears won’t make proper contact with the windshield. Maintaining consistent pressure across the windshield is key to getting consistent performance from your wiper blades. To help you select the best wiper blades for your vehicle, check out this article.
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