Keeping a vehicle's windshield wipers in good working condition is essential to car safety. Windshield wipers may stop functioning, or function inadequately, for several reasons. Sometime the wiper arms move, but the wiper blades don't successfully remove water from the windshield. In other cases, the windshield wipers are stuck or don't move at all. A few troubleshooting steps may help to resolve the problem.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wiper blades
- Adjustable wrench
- Locking pliers
- Naval Jelly
- Wire brush
- Steel wool
- WD 40
Turn the windshield wipers on to determine if the wiper arms move a little or not at all. Wipers arms that move a little bit may have a loose nut or bolt. Windshield wipers that don't move at all may be rusted in place or there may be a problem with the electrical system. Windshield wipers that do move but leave streaks on the windshield have worn out wiper blades.
Replace the wiper blades if they are leaving streaks on the window. Pivot the wiper arm up until it locks in place. Remove the old wiper blades and insert new ones. Return the arms to the horizontal position.
Inspect the nut that secures the wiper arm to see if it is loose or broken. Gently pivot the wiper arm to the upward position until it locks in place. Broken or loose nuts are a common problem in cold climates when wiper arms become frozen to the windshield. Tighten the nut with an adjustable wrench or locking pliers. Replace the nut if it is broken. Return the wiper arm to the horizontal position and test the windshield wipers.
Inspect the return spring, hinge pin and joint mechanism. Apply Naval Jelly to rust areas. Allow the Naval Jelly to penetrate the rust for 5 minutes and then scrub the area with a wire brush or steel wool. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove Naval Jelly and rust residue.
Lubricate the hinge pin, return spring, and joint mechanism with WD 40. Return the wiper arm to the horizontal position and test the windshield wipers.
Check the fuse if the windshield wipers are not getting electrical current. Read the vehicle instruction manual and examine the fuse box to determine which fuse is responsible for the windshield wipers. Replace the fuse. Turn the wipers on to see if the problem is corrected.
Make an appointment with a auto mechanic if you are unable to fix the problem. If none of the above steps are successful, then there may be an electrical problem or a bad windshield wiper motor. Windshield wiper motors average around £65 (as of September 2010).
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