Why should I lift my wipers before a snowstorm?
It is recommended to lift your wipers before a snowstorm or when the chance for ice to form on the windshield is evident as this can cause the wipers to freeze in place. A wiper arm or blade can freeze to the windshield quickly which can cause the wiper arm to break or bend when the system is activated again.
If the temperature is close to or below zero and the windshield is wet when you turn the car off, but the windshield had been warmed by the defroster beforehand, then once the glass cools to the outside ambient temperature, the water could freeze and now the rubber blades will be stuck to your windshield.
Heavy snow can overload the wipers or arms and can even cause possible damage to the entire wiper system, especially when the snow is wet which increases its weight. Under these conditions, it is possible for the linkage to break when turning on the motor.
Another concern is if you had the wipers on when you parked your vehicle before or during the storm and then the wipers freeze in place. Now you return to start your vehicle only to find that the wipers are still on and now the motor is straining to move the arms which are stuck in place. If you are lucky, the arms may break free or just tear the rubber insert or damage the blade. In severe cases the arms, linkage, or motor can be damaged making your wiper system totally disabled which can lead to an expensive repair. On top of this, you could be stuck where you are since you cannot clear the windshield while driving any longer.
To minimize damage, you should turn off the wipers when stopping the vehicle, and when you suspect foul weather, lift the arms away from the windshield. This will not cause any damage to the arms or blades and will actually make clearing the windshield easier when scraping off the snow or ice.
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