Why are My Windshield Wipers Not Working?

Windshield wipers do not typically get a lot of attention from drivers unless the weather is bad. However, even when the weather takes a turn for the worse, as long as your wipers are doing what they were designed to do, you probably don't take a second glance. It is crucial that you know when windshield wipers not working right, because even if they are operating adequately; they do not take long to break down entirely. Therefore, if you notice that your vehicle's wiper blades are not clearing away rain, snow, and sleet well then it might be time to inspect the wipers. You do not want to be driving in the middle of a torrential downpour when your blades suddenly stop working. Consequently, how do you know when there is an issue to be addressed, and when the problem is apparent, how do you determine the root cause?

Thankfully, windshield wipers are not that complicated, meaning that diagnosing the issue, for the most part, is relatively easy. However, it should be noted that sometimes the problem is more complicated and involves more than the wiper housing and motor. Therefore, it helps to understand the basic mechanics of windshield wipers and the most common causes of any issues, but it is also necessary to know when to ask for help, allowing a professional mechanic to take the reins.

How Windshield Wipers Work

The windshield wiper system is made up of only a few components, and significant problems can occur when only one of these elements is damaged. The power to the system is regulated by a fuse that is wired directly to the wiper motor and the switch. When the switch is engaged, the motor rotates, and a network of linked arms, connected by several pivot points, converts this rotation into the back-and-forth motion of the wiper blades. When your wipers stop working, it is a good sign that one of these critical elements is damaged or broken.

Five Reasons for Why Your Wipers May Not Be Working

Unfortunately, your windshield wiper system is prone to problems, especially when you have owned a vehicle for several years. Because of the system's minimal design, it is somewhat fragile under the right set of circumstances. Therefore, it is beneficial to understand the most common problems as well as how to resolve them. When it comes to windshield wipers and their controls, there are five common reasons for problems to occur.

1

Torn Blades

This is the most common issue occurs with the wiper blade itself. The rubber of the blade has a direct correlation to the effectiveness of the system. For example, when the blades are new and fully in contact with the surface of the windshield, they are effective at removing excess moisture. However, when the edges are worn, developing a series of small tears in the rubber, they are less effective because they cannot collect or divert moisture that occurs in the gaps of the blades. Therefore, if you notice that your wipers are streaking and not performing as expected, examine the blade for tears, and replace as needed.

2

External Interference

One of the most common reasons for poor wiper performance is the presence of ice or snow on the windshield. While windshield wipers are capable of removing light snow and ice, they are not designed to clear away heavy snowfall or ice frozen onto the windshield. If you decide to use your wiper blades for this reason, then you risk damaging the blades. Some wet snow can be so heavy for the blades that it actually bends them. Also, if ice has been left to collect and stick to the windshield, then it can be too abrasive on the blades and cause minor tears in the rubber. Always clear your windows of piled snow and ice before turning on your wipers.

3

Failed Motor

If you notice that your windshield wipers stop working altogether, then it is a good sign that something has happened to the motor. As an electrical component, the motor can short out, causing the wipers to fail. However, it is also possible that there is a loose or disconnected wire in the circuit. If this happens, inspect the connections and the motor as soon as possible and replace any necessary elements.

4

Bad Fuse

Before the wiper motor goes bad, you will probably experience a blown wiper fuse, which is intentional. The fuse is designed to be the circuits weak spot, which protects the wiper motor. Essentially, if your vehicle's wiper motor is being overloaded, the fuse will blow to ensure the motor does not become damaged. Therefore, while you might be tempted to simply replace the bad fuse, it is better to examine the connections to see if any obstructions could be affecting the wiper motor beforehand.

5

Loose Pivot Joint

Last, your windshield wiper issues could stem from a loose pivot joint. If you remember the mechanics of the windshield wiper system require pivot points to convert the rotational energy of the motor into the back-and-forth motion of the blades. If one of these pivot joints is loose, then it can affect the effectiveness of the blades. Therefore, you will need to check the pivot points and ensure that all nuts and connections are secure.

Professional Inspection

If you have run through the above list and still cannot resolve your windshield wiper issues, then it might be time to call a professional. Thankfully, the process is pretty straightforward, and in some instances, a mechanic might even come to you. They will do a thorough inspection of your entire system to ensure that all the components are in good working order. Through this process of elimination, they will be able to diagnose your problem and hopefully resolve it.

Learning how to fix windshield wipers is not that challenging, but the answer to your problem is not always as simple as replacing your car’s wiper blades. If you are experiencing issues with your windshield wipers, then head on over to your favorite auto parts store and ask a representative for some assistance. Your vehicle’s windshield wiper system might not be that complicated, but it is integral to your safety.

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