While not as pressing as a tire flying off in a random direction, when your windshield wipers stop working during a major snowstorm, it isn’t fun. You might end up being blind while going down the road. Without keeping an eye on your car’s components, you run the risk of them giving out at the worst time.
So what causes windshield wipers to stop working? You may see them covered in ice or snow or destroyed blades. It may be something a bit more complicated, such as blown wiper fuses or the wiper motor. You could also see a loose pivot joint.
There aren’t many reasons, but different methods are depending on what you need to fix. Below, we will get into what to do, depending on what is going on with your wiper blades.
Wiper Blades Covered in Ice or Snow
If your wiper blades have ice or snow all over them, do not start them. Many wiper blades will attempt to force themselves through whatever is in the way. As a result, that may lead us to the next potential happening, destroyed wiper blades.
How Do You Remove Ice and Snow From Your Vehicle?
Try and remove the ice and snow using a brush and scraper. Once you remove as much as possible, consider the content of your wiper fluid. Some wiper fluids have anti-frost measures but are typically not built for thick patches of ice or snow.
Do not use hot water, as temperature shock can cause your window to shatter. Activate your defrosters early, if possible. If you have somewhere to be, always leave more time than you think you will need.
Destroyed, Damaged, or Worn Wiper Blades
If your wiper blades are destroyed or damaged, you will need to work towards replacing them as soon as possible. Failure to remove your wiper blades in time may cause damage to your window. Smearing or scratching is a real issue.
The early stages of worn or damaged wiper blades may cause smearing. Damage based on age, sun, and using your wiper blades on a frozen windshield can cause this.
How Do You Replace Standard Windshield Wiper Blades?
It is essential to note that the wiper blade you buy will depend upon the year, make, and model of your vehicle. Details on this information are on the owner’s manual of your car. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, you should be able to look up this information at the auto parts store.
Driver’s and passenger’s wiper blades tend to have two different lengths. They also come in three major variants: hooks, pins, and straight connectors. Hooks are the most common and the easiest to handle.
With any wiper, you need to look for a tab at the point the blade connects. By pressing down on the tab, it will loosen the connection between blade and wiper stick. This technique applies to all three options.
For a visual representation of this process, please check out the video below.
Blown Wiper Fuse
A fuse box is a protective feature to prevent electrical components from going out in the event of an overload. When your wiper motor has the chance to be overloaded, the fuse will blow instead. It means that you have to replace the fuse instead of replacing the entire wiper motor.
How Do You Replace a Fuse
The owner’s manual will tell you exactly where your fuse box is. If you don’t know where it is, it may be on the passenger side near the console. There will be an access panel with a guide on the inside of it. Look around your car until you find a plastic door.
Once you do this, use the guide to determine which fuse is associated with your wiper. Take the fuse out, bring it to your local parts store, and use this fuse as a guide for replacement.
If there is any confusion, those who work at auto parts stores tend to have the experience to determine what you need. You can also buy a pack of fuses to solve this issue.
Destroyed or Damaged Wiper Motor
A damaged wiper motor damaged or destroyed is not a good thing. It is the most complicated issue you can run into when it comes to failed wipers. However, it is still reasonably easy when comparing this to replacing other parts of the car.
Be sure you eliminate all other options before jumping to this one. This option will cost you the most money and take the most time.
How Do You Replace a Wiper Motor?
First, you will need to remove everything between you and the motor. This process includes removing all of the blades and the trim that runs around the windshield. Search for plastic trim removal tools, as removing this using a screwdriver can potentially cause damage to your windshield.
Wiper motors tend to come with kits, meaning you can buy everything you need for replacement in a single package. Ask your auto shop about this and let them know your year, make, and model to be sure the new motor is compatible.
Once you remove everything between you and the motor, you should remove something that has a couple of steel beams attached to it. You will need to remove a portion of the arm that connects to your motor.
You will also want to be sure that you have the correct orientation, similar to the way you had it set up earlier. The best way to learn is to follow someone visually, so check out the video below for further details.
The Wiper Pivot Joint or Nuts Are Loose
The typical construction of a wiper motor involves turning the pivot points but leaving the arms stationary. In the previous section, we mentioned the importance of orientation, which is crucial here. But if the spots are not tight enough, it will either move very little or not move at all.
How Do You Tighten The Pivot Points?
Using the previous video as a reference, stop just before you remove the plastic trim or just before the motor. There should be a few nuts you see on the other side of your car, where your blades are currently resting. Be sure that those nuts are tight.
If they are not, you will need to take an appropriate ratchet to them to tighten them correctly. Be sure not to get them too tight, or the blades will have difficulty moving.
Thankfully, replacing and fixing wiper blades is the easiest thing to handle when it comes to car trouble. Whether the issue is related to loose nuts or electrical problems, all of these repair processes are doable at home. Of course, replacing the wiper motor is the most complicated among these processes.
By using a combination of step-by-step guides, visual aids, and your owner’s manual, replacing wiper blades can be a simple feat. If you have never done it before, there is no reason to be worried. Everyone starts somewhere, and by using your resources, you can get the job done.