Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Top 5 Reasons Your Windshield Wipers Aren't Working

Wiper Blades Not Working

Driving with a clear windshield is paramount to a safe driving experience. If you don’t have a clear view of the road ahead of you, it's more difficult to avoid an accident, an object on the road, or a defect in the road surface such as a pothole.

In order to keep your windshield clear, your windshield wipers need to operate properly. At times it may seem like your windshield wipers aren’t working as they should, or they may stop working altogether. There are several reasons why your windshield wipers aren’t working.

Here are the top 5 reasons your wipers aren’t working:

  1. Your wiper blades are torn. The condition of your wiper blades is directly related to how well your windshield wipers work. If the rubber edges on your wiper blades are torn, the wiper will not make proper contact with the windshield to clear moisture or debris away. The small gap left by the missing rubber can actually trap additional dirt that may scratch or gouge your windshield glass. Have torn wiper blades replaced immediately.

  2. The windshield wipers have ice or snow on them. Windshield wipers are able to remove small amounts of snow from your windshield, but heavy, wet snow needs to be cleared by a snow brush before operating your wipers. Wet snow can be so heavy on your wipers that your blades can get bent, the wiper arms can skip or strip at the pivots, and the wiper motor or transmission can get damaged. Remove heavy snow from your windshield before using your wiper blades.

  3. The wiper motor has quit working. The windshield wiper motor is an electrical motor. As an electrical component, it can short out or quit unexpectedly and require replacement. If that happens, your windshield wipers will not work at all and you won’t be able to clear any water, dirt, or snow that ends up on your windshield. Replace the windshield wiper motor right away.

  4. The windshield wiper fuse is burnt out. When the windshield wiper motor is overloaded, the fuse burns out. The fuse is a weak spot in the windshield wiper circuit, and is designed to be. That way, if the motor is overloaded for any reason, the fuse will burn out first. If the wiper motor fuse burns out, check for any obstructions that may cause it to be overloaded. Heavy snow on the wiper blades or a wiper blade or arm caught on something or snagged together can cause it to blow. Clear the obstruction and replace the fuse. If it still doesn’t work, have it looked at by a professional from YourMechanic.

  5. Wiper pivot nuts are loose. The wiper arms are connected to the wiper transmission by a nut on a pivot. The pivots are usually splined with a stud protruding. The wiper arms are splined as well and have a hole through. A nut tightens onto the pivot stud to hold the wiper arm tightly to the pivot. If the nut is a little loose - which is common - the wiper motor will turn the pivot but the wiper arm will not move. You may see it slightly move when the wiper direction changes, but it does not wipe the windshield. You may notice only one wiper working while the other stays at the bottom. If you have this issue, make sure the wiper pivot nuts are tight. Otherwise, have a professional mechanic from YourMechanic check your wipers and repair them.

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

Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...

Related questions

Q: How do I use the rear window washer in a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox?

The rear window washer is responsible for cleaning your rear window. When you use the washer, soapy water is sprayed onto your rear window, and then wiped away. This cleans of dirt and debris from your rear window, which increases...

Q: Windshield wipers not working

There are many different reasons for your windshield wipers not functioning correctly. It sounds like you need a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to stop by and inspect your windshield wipers, A/C compressor and transmission to see what...

Q: Windshield wipers not working.

This seems like the switch is on its way out, I would have a certified mechanic verify that 12 volts is being applied to the windshield wiper motor. If power is present and the wiper isn't working its the motor,...