How to Troubleshoot Windshield Wipers
The windshield wipers are one of the most important safety devices on your car so it is important that they are working properly at all times in case you need them. When they stop functioning correctly they must be repaired as soon as possible, but this does not always mean you will have to go to a mechanic and pay for them to be fixed. There are several things you can do yourself to try and troubleshoot windshield wiper problems, before you have to call in the experts.
1 Check the windshield wiper motor. Sometimes the wires that connect it to the battery can become loose and need to be tightened or adjusted. If there is no problem with the wiring, check the linkage between the motor and the wiper arms to see if that is where the trouble lies. There may also be something wrong with the plug from the motor into the battery. The plug can be replaced if needed, and so can the motor itself.
2 Check the wiper switch. This is located in the instrument panel and is responsible for turning your wipers on and off and setting the speed with which they work. This can be difficult to fix unless you have the proper tools and knowledge to take apart your instrument panel, so if you think the problem is the switch you may need to take the car into a mechanic to be repaired.
3 Replace the fuse. Using the manual that came with your automobile, you should be able to find where the fuses are located in your vehicle, as well as what size it takes and any other information you might need to know about them. Sometimes you can pull a fuse and actually see that it has burned out, but that is not always the case. You may pull the fuse and see that it looks completely normal, but it could still be the reason your wipers are not working correctly. Go ahead and replace the fuse if you are having problems even if you aren’t sure that is the cause.
4 Clean the windshield, blades or wiper arms. Sometimes if your wipers are not working properly it is a problem as simple as being too dirty to function. Using a cleaner such as Windex or 409 Glass Cleaner, wipe the entire windshield down and make sure it is as clean as you can make it. Next wipe down the wiper blades using cleaner and a soft cloth. Use the cloth and/or an old toothbrush to clean the wiper arms, especially the joints and areas that perform any movements. Be careful not to scrub apart any connectors or wires, but do remove all grease and grime.
5 Replace the wiper blades. The auto parts store will have a catalog of car makes and models available for you to look through in order to find the proper blades for your vehicle. You can sometimes find packages that sell just the rubber parts of the blade, but it is better to replace the entire thing than just that one part. That way if there is a problem with the rest of the blade you have already replaced it. Changing the wiper blades can take a little time and patience, as the new ones will not always want to fit on easily to the wiper arms.
6 Check the wiper arms. If the arms become distorted or damaged, or if the springs on the arms become damaged, the wipers will not function properly. These can be replaced with the proper tools and knowledge, but can be tricky for an inexperienced person.