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The windshield wiper and washer system help keep a windshield clean and free of rain, dirt, sleet or snow. This system is not only a convenience but a safety system as well. Limited visibility due to a dirty windshield can make safe driving difficult or impossible.
There are a number of components in the wiper/washer system that can malfunction and cause problems. Everything from a blown fuse to a bad pump can leave a windshield dirty.
Windshield wipers use two different technologies to keep the windshield clean. An electric motor using a worm gear provides the power to move the wipers while a linkage converts the rotational output of the electric motor into the familiar back and forth motion of the wiper blades.
The windshield washer system uses a washer pump that is installed at the base of the washer fluid reservoir. The pump is activated by a spring-loaded switch, this switch turns on the wipers as well. The fluid is pumped through a rubber or plastic hose that runs up to windshield and separates in two lines that feed the washer nozzles on the hood of the car.
Windshield Wiper Issues
Worn wiper blades: Wiper blades need to be replaced on a regular basis. Worn wiper blades will not clean the windshield. Smearing or streaking are common symptoms of worn blades. If the blades chatter this can also indicate dirty or worn blades. Torn or cracking blades need to be replaced.
Bent or loose wiper arms: Wiper arms can become bent, usually due to vandalism. If the wiper blades are not cleaning the windshield but still appear to be in good shape loose or bent wiper arms could be the problem.
Malfunctioning wiper arm linkage: The linkage between the wiper motor and the blades can become damaged. The most common symptom of a broken linkage is one wiper arm not working.
Blown fuse: A blown fuse will cut off the electric current to the wiper motor. If both blades fail to function when turned on, a blown fuse is usually the starting point for a diagnosis.
Bad wiper motor: If the blades fail to operate at all, are operating slowly, only operate on one speed or do not stop in the correct position a bad or malfunctioning wiper motor could be the culprit. The motor will need to be repaired or replaced.
Defective wiper switch: If the wipers do not turn on when the switch is flipped, keep running after being switched off or it is impossible to select the proper speed settings the switch may be defective and will have to be replaced.
Windshield Washer Issues
No washer fluid: One of the most common reasons windshield washers fail to work is because the fluid reservoir is empty.
Blown fuse: Fuses provide overcurrent protection to all of the vehicle’s electrical units and this includes the windshield washer system. If a fuse blows, the electrical current to the washer pump will be cut off and the washer system will not work.
Bad windshield washer switch: The switch that turns on the windshield washer can malfunction and fail to send a signal to the pump. If this happens the pump will not work.
Broken washer pump: The electric pump that sends the fluid from the reservoir to the nozzles can malfunction or break.
Leaky washer tubes or bottle: The washer reservoir or the tubing that moves the fluid to the nozzles can crack or leak. This can lead to lost fluid on route to the nozzles, which can result in a weak spray or no spray at all.
Clogged washer tubes or nozzles: The tubing or the nozzles themselves can become clogged with debris. The nozzles, which are quite small can easily get clogged by dirt, leaves or other debris.
Frozen washer fluid: In extremely cold weather it is possible for washer fluid to freeze. If the fluid is frozen it should thaw as the car warms up.
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the source and cause of the windshield wiper or washer system issue, and will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
A malfunctioning windshield wiper or washer system is usually not a life or death situation but it should be addressed as soon as it is convenient. This can become a very real problem if the weather suddenly turns bad as limited visibility can make driving extremely dangerous.