Windshield wipers stopped working: Common causes and solutions - Car roar (2023)

You already know how important windshield wipers are for your car. You need to be able to rely on your wipers to keep working at their best. When they start having problems, they can create problems for you in the future.

Sometimes your wipers just stop working and you may be left scratching your head. It is not always obvious what the problem is. Still, you can fix things if you figure everything out. You just need to diagnose the problem and then check what needs to be done to fix it.

In this handy guide, I'll cover how you can fix windshield wipers that have stopped working. After reading this information, you should have a better idea of ​​how to solve your problems. You don't have to be an auto expert to do these repairs, either. Read on to learn everything you need to know to get your wipers working properly again.

Windshield wipers stopped working: Common causes and solutions - Car roar (1)


1. Fuse problems

One of the most common reasons a wiper stops working is because of a problem with the fuses. If your fuse blows, your wipers just won't do anything when you try to turn them on. Fuses can blow over time and must be replaced. Fortunately, fuses are very inexpensive and it shouldn't be difficult to replace one.

If you need help locating the fuse, consult your car's owner's manual. The fuses will be located at different points depending on the type of car you drive. Many fuses are located under the dash next to the steering wheel, but this will not always be the case. It shouldn't take long to locate your fuse so you can move on.

2. Wiper motor problems

You also need to make sure that the wiper motor is working properly. This is another part that can sometimes encounter problems. When a wiper motor stops working, it will need to be replaced. The motor may have shortened from years of use and you will just have to buy a new part.

Replacing a wiper motor is a fairly simple task. You will simply have to remove the cover to access the wiper motor. Sometimes the wiper motor gets covered with other things and they need to be removed as well. Once you get to the wiper motor it should be easy to remove and replace.

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3. Loose wiper pivot nuts

You could end up having wiper blade issues due to something as simple as loose wiper pivot nuts. When these nuts become loose, they can cause your wipers to stop working properly. These nuts are responsible for connecting the arms to the wiper transmission. If they are not tight enough, the wipers will not work as well.

Tightening the wiper pivot nuts won't take long. This is a very common problem that you can solve in a matter of minutes. You should notice the wiper blades work again after tightening the nuts again. If only one of the wiper blades works, a loose wiper pivot nut is most likely causing the problem.

4. Torn windshield wipers

Broken wiper blades can be the reason why your wipers don't work. It is not uncommon for the rubber edges of wiper blades to break off. When the wiper blades are in this condition, they will not make proper contact with the glass. This will make them ineffective at best and you will need to remedy the situation quickly.

Wiper blades in this condition will not be able to remove debris or clear rain. This will cause you to have very poor visibility while on the road. It puts you in danger and you should avoid driving until you fix things. No one wants to get caught in a storm with rods that aren't working properly.

You'll also want to replace your wiper blades to avoid damaging your windshield. When there is play in the rubber part of the wiper blades, it puts your windshield at risk. You could end up scratching or scraping your windshield with the metal or plastic parts of the wiper blades. For that reason, you want to replace things right away.

The best thing to do is go ahead and buy a new set of wiper blades. Wiper blades are not very expensive and you should replace them every six months or so. you must be able toinstall new wipersIn a matter of minutes. Don't wait to do this if your current wiper blades are broken.

5. Ice and snow problems

If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, you may need to think about whether this is the cause of your problems. Ice and snow can cause many different problems with your wipers. If you've been using your wipers to try to clear snow, there's a good chance you've damaged them. The snow is very heavy and that weight can end up bending your wipers if you're not careful.

The ice will also be very bad for the cleaners. Hardened ice can damage windshield wipers over time. you are going to wantdo your best to remove accumulated icefrom your cleaners whenever you can. Breaking the ice is a good idea, and you should do it when you are cleaning the windshield with an ice scraper.

Remember to take the time to remove the snow from the windshield with the scraper. You want to avoid trying to turn on your wiper blades to remove snow. Snow is too much for normal wiper blades and is likely to damage the wipers. Take extra time to manually clean things up before you start driving.

It's also a good idea to go ahead and buywinter brushes. These wiper blades are made with snow and ice in mind. They are more durable and can handle snow more effectively. Depending on where you are, this could end up being a necessity.

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6. Problems with the wiper relay

Sometimes wiper problems are caused by a faulty wiper relay. When a wiper relay malfunctions, the wiper blades will not function properly. The wiper relay may be stuck or have stopped working. You should be able to prove this just by looking at it.

Have a friend turn on the wiper switch while you examine the relay. If it doesn't work properly, it will need to be replaced. Replacing this part won't cost a lot of money, so it shouldn't be a big problem. This should be one of the first things you check if your wiper blades are not working.

7. Wiper control switch problems

You may also find problems with the wiper control switch. When the control switch stops working properly, it won't be able to tell the wiper blades when to come on. This may have stopped working due to a bad contact inside the switch. You can check this at the same time you check the wiper relay.

When you turn on the control switch, the wiper relay should click. If you're not doing this, you're dealing with a bad control switch or a broken wiper relay. Purchasing a replacement control switch shouldn't be expensive. You will be able to resolve this quickly if this turns out to be your problem.

Now fix your windshield wipers that don't work

There are many different reasons why your wiper blades might not work. Now that you know the reasons, you can work to resolve your issue. One of the reasons above is the likely culprit and you should be able to get things up and running quickly. Don't worry when your wipers stop working, you can fix things without a complicated process.

As long as you take the time to fix what's wrong, you should be able to narrow things down quickly. It will determine the cause of your problems and you can get the part you need. In some cases, all you have to do is replace a simple fuse. Once your windshield wipers are working again, you won't have to worry about being able to see through the next storm.


  • How to clean and recondition windshield wiper blades
  • How to stop the wipers from flickering
  • How to adjust the windshield wipers


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What causes wiper blades to stop working? ›

There are a number of reasons why windscreen wipers stop working and these include: torn wipers, broken controls, a blown fuse, faults with the motor, damaged arms, snow or ice covering, loose pivot nuts and a break in the wires.

What to do when your windshield wipers don t work and its raining? ›

The first thing to check is the fuse. If the fuse is good, you can use a test light to make sure there is power at the fuse and to the wiper motor. Simply touch the test light to both metal tabs on top of the fuse and to the tabs on the wiper motor connector, with the power on, and, if it lights up, you are good.

Why does my wiper motor work but wipers wont move? ›

Need to tighten your wiper pivot nuts

A pivot nut connects the wiper arms to the wiper transmission. When that nut is loose, which is not uncommon, the motor will still work and turn the pivot, but the wiper arm will remain static, or you could find that only one wiper works.

Why do my windshield wipers make a loud noise? ›

Wiper blade chatter is common in many cars even with new wiper blades. The first thing to do is look at the windshield wiper blades themselves. Are they old, torn, stiff or dirty? If the wiper blades are more than one year old replace them—it will be money well spent.

How do I know if my windshield wiper fluid fuse is blown? ›

Check the Fuse

With the car parked in a quiet place, operate the window washer and listen for the whirring of the pump. If there's no sound, head right for the fuse box. If the fuse is blown, it's usually a sign of a dead pump motor or one that's ready to check out. If it blows again, replace the motor.

Does rubbing alcohol help windshield wipers? ›

Applying rubbing alcohol to the blade of each wiper will do two things: one, it will clean any and all debris from the wiper blade itself, helping to maintain an abrasive-free clean when you use your wipers, and two: excess grime on the blades will cause streaking and annoying squeaking noises.

Where is the rain sensor on windshield? ›

Here's how your car windshield rain sensors work: The vehicle senses how much rain is on the windshield, speeding up the windshield wipers according to the amount of rain it detects. The sensor itself is mounted on a special bracket behind the vehicle's rearview mirror and wired through the roof.

How do you tell if it's the windshield wiper motor or switch? ›

Wiper blades move slower than programmed

If you activate the wiper switch to a fast speed or high setting and the wiper blades move slower than they should, it may be caused by a problem with the wiper motor. Sometimes the mechanical components inside the motor will be clogged with debris, grime, or other particles.

Does the windshield wiper motor have a fuse? ›

Before the wiper motor goes bad, you will probably experience a blown wiper fuse, which is intentional. The fuse is designed to be the circuits weak spot, which protects the wiper motor. Essentially, if your vehicle's wiper motor is being overloaded, the fuse will blow to ensure the motor does not become damaged.

What relay controls wipers? ›

The intermittent DC relay is used for controlling the windshield wiper's operation.

How do I stop my windshield from making noise? ›

Regardless of what kind of noise your car is encountering, sound deadening mats can help you reduce it. These are thick mats that assimilate sound and vibration assisting to completely decrease noise transmission in any car.

How do you quiet noisy windshield wipers? ›

Maintenance Fixes For Loud Wipers
  1. Clean Off Both the Wiper Blades and the Windshield. Cleaning windshield wipers with WD40. ...
  2. Check Windshield Wiper Fluid Levels. What is this? ...
  3. Soften the Rubber on Wipers. Rubber located on cars can sometimes become hard over time. ...
  4. Tighten Up the Windshield Wipers.

Which fuse is the wiper fuse? ›

Fuse Specification Chart
Fuse LocationFuse RatingProtected Component
615 AWindshield wipers.
715 AWindshield wipers.
815 ARear window washer pump.
910 ARear cargo door unlock. Liftgate unlock.
66 more rows

Can you tell if a fuse is blown without taking it out? ›

The blown fuse will be apparent because the wire element within will have melted or burned from the higher electrical current. You can also use a test light or a multimeter to identify the dead fuse without having to pull it out.

How much does a windshield wiper fuse cost? ›

If your wipers come back to life, a blown fuse was the problem. Cost of parts: About $10 for an assortment of 100 fuses. Cost of professional labor: $20 to $50.

Is Windex good for windshield wipers? ›

So wouldn't it be a good idea to add some Windex to your windshield wiper fluid, also known as washer fluid, to keep it that way, or to replace your wiper fluid altogether with Windex? The answer is a resounding “no” on all counts, as this will damage many parts of your vehicle—including the glass.

Is it OK to use WD40 on windshield wipers? ›

Before we kick-off the cleaning, whatever you do, you shouldn't be cleaning your wiper blades with WD40, ever. WD40 is a water-displacer which, if you use it on your wiper blades, will leave streaks and marks and won't clear away the rain, but will make it worse. You have been warned!

What is the best cleaner for windshield wipers? ›

Clean your wiper blades by wiping them down with warm, soapy water, and wipe the edge of the blade with rubbing alcohol. If you're still having issues with smearing water, try upgrading your wiper fluid.

How much does it cost to reset windshield wipers? ›

Labor costs are estimated between $8 and $12 while parts are priced between $15 and $26. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.

Where is the wiper sensor located? ›

Most rain-sensing wipers use a sensor that's mounted behind the windshield. It sends out a beam of infrared light that, when water droplets are on the windshield, is reflected back at different angles.

How can I tell if my windshield wiper motor is bad? ›

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Windshield Wiper Motor
  1. Wiper blades move slower than programmed.
  2. Wiper blades only have one speed.
  3. Wiper blades don't move.
  4. Wiper blades don't park in the correct position.
Jan 13, 2016

How do you fix a windshield wiper that won't spray? ›

If the washer fluid still isn't coming out, debris may have clogged in the nozzles, preventing them from spraying. The nozzles are found on the hood of the vehicle. Try using an air compressor hose or a can of compressed air to blow any debris out of the nozzle.

How much does it cost to replace wiper motor? ›

The national cost for a windshield wiper motor replacement in 2023 is between $95 and $477 with an average of $226.

Does AutoZone replace wiper motor? ›

We understand your vehicle is unique, and that's why we stock replacement window lift and windshield wiper motors for every year, make and model. Whether you need a new Tahoe wiper motor or a window lift motor for Ford F-150, AutoZone has you covered.

Does AutoZone replace wipers for free? ›

I'm sorry, but it's already a free service to have an Autozone employee install wiper blades.


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