Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Are Rear Windshield Wipers Legally Required?

Rear Windshield Wiper

Some vehicles, particularly hatchbacks and sport utility vehicles, are equipped with a rear wiper assembly. The rear wiper performs the same function as the front windshield wiper: to clear the glass when rain, snow, or dirt build up on it.

Rear wiper systems only have one wiper arm and blade, and the motor only turns a single pivot. The rear windshield wiper motor is usually mounted in the hatch or liftgate, and the wiper arm directly mounts to its pivot.

Because of the shape at the back of the vehicle, dirt, snow, and moisture tend to swirl around by the rear glass. These items, especially dirt, collect on the rear wiper motor and cause it to seize up. That means the rear wiper will not turn to swipe the rain, snow, or dirt off the rear window.

Is the rear windshield wiper legally required to be there?

In many jurisdictions, the rear wiper needs to be functioning if a vehicle is equipped with one. Some states require annual inspections that will catch a faulty or missing rear wiper, while in other states a rear wiper is not inspected at all. In other places yet, if a vehicle is equipped with a rear wiper, it is required to work for the inspection, while other locales permit a rear wiper assembly to be removed.

While the legal requirement for a rear windshield wiper changes from location to location, its purpose, to clear the rear window, is still important. Without a functioning rear wiper, it may be more difficult to see behind your vehicle in traffic or when reversing.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...

Related questions

Q: How do I turn on the windshield wipers?

Windshield wipers are a very important safety feature, as they allow you to have good visibility even when it is raining out. Here’s how you turn them on. Locate the multifunction lever on the left side of the steering...

Q: Windshield wipers not working.

The windshield wiper arms on these vehicle are prone to strip out and stop moving. The fix is to remove the wiper arm and inspect the splines on the are and the wiper shaft. Replace all the defective pieces. Most...

Q: Windshield wipers are not working

Hi and thanks for your question. It is notorious for the wiper blade arms to strip out on the wiper motor drive rod. Check to see if the motor is turning the drive rod. If the drive rod is moving,...