Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Why Should I Lift My Wipers Before a Snowstorm?

asked by on

Why should I lift my wipers before a snowstorm?

A: It is recommended to lift your wipers befor...

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.

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・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Windshield wipers are loose

The mounting joint for the wiper blades often comes loose on a vehicle allowing the blades to come "off track". In many cases, the connection can just be tightened. In other cases, the wiper transmission assembly may have broken. I...

Q: Rear wiper arm

Once you get the lock nut off you may need to use a small puller to get the small metal piece off of the shaft. This was part of the old arm that broke. You should be able to slide...

Q: Windshield wipers broken

Hi. The most common cause of this is the wiper switch assembly. The wiper switch sends a signal to the wiper motor depending on what speed you set it on. If the switch fails internally, it may only have the...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
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...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.