Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Can Mud and Dirt Wreck Your Wiper Blades?

asked by on

Can mud and dirt wreck your wiper blades?

A: Yes. Not only can mud and dirt wreck your w...

Yes. Not only can mud and dirt wreck your wiper blades, they can also scratch your windshield. Mud and dirt contain small pebbles with sharp edges. These small pieces of rock can and will embed into the soft rubber part of the wiper blade. This rubber that squeegees the water off your windshield is easily damaged by debris. This includes fine dust and pieces of wood. Once the rubber is damaged, it will allow water to slide underneath it leaving streaks.

In addition to damaging the wiper blade, it can damage your windshield as well. Rocks in particular contain metals that is harder than glass. Once this debris is embedded into the wiper blade, it will act as a small piece of sandpaper sanding your windshield each time the wiper swipes side to side. This will often result in a scratch across your windshield in the shape of the arc.

In extreme circumstance, where an excessive amount of mud and dirt are thrown onto the windshield, not only can the blades themselves be damaged, but so can the wiper arms and wiper transmission as well. Your wiper blades are attached to the wiper arm which is mounted to the wiper transmission. The wiper arm holds the blade in a position allowing the wiper blade to squeegee the water off your windshield. The point where it attaches to the wiper transmission at the base of your windshield is a particularly high stress point. When the wiper arm runs into resistance from mud or other debris, the splines at these points have a tendency to strip. This sort of damage will require a [wiper arm replacement](]( and possibly a [wiper transmission replacement](](

If enough strain is placed on the wiper transmission, it can break. This is a sizable repair requiring the removal of what is called the cowl. This is the piece of metal directly below your windshield. Your wiper motor is most likely housed here. Replacing the transmission assembly requires both wiper arms to be removed, the cowl panel removal, and then the wiper transmission can be removed. If you’re concerned that your wiper blades may be compromised, feel free to contact a certified mechanic who can replace your wiper blades at your own convenience.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: How do you operate the Windshield Wiper Rain-Lamp?

If your car has auto-lights, it may also have automatic rain-lamps (or Rain-Activated Lights, if you prefer). This function turns on your headlights any time your wipers are activated during the daytime, and allows you to drive with one less...

Q: Windshield wipers not responding

Hi there! A common cause of the problem you are describing is a interruption between the wiper motor and wipers. More often than not, the wipers lever arm will become disconnected from the wiper motor. The fixture that holds the...

Q: What Size Wiper Blades Does My Car Need?

This is an easy question to answer since wiper blade size is tied to the original equipment manufacturers (OEM) specification for blades that clean the most surface area on the windshield with each cycle of pass from side to side....

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...