Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated August 18, 2017)
If you turn on your wipers and they don't work properly, there are a couple of things you can check. The first rule, however, is to be safe: If you turn on your wipers and they are not cleaning your windshield so you can see out properly, signal and pull over to the side of the road. It is easier to solve the problem if you aren't trying to dodge traffic or worrying about other vehicles you can't see very well.
If you tried to turn on your windshield wipers and neither one of them came on, then it is possible you've blown a fuse. Take a look in your vehicle's fuse box and see if you can locate the fuse that controls the wipers. Replace it with a fuse of the same rating and see if your wipers start working again.
If your wipers still don't work (neither one of them moves), then it is possible that some control circuit or the wiper motor itself needs replacing. Check with your local auto repair shop to see if they can test and repair the wipers.
If you try to turn on the wipers and only one of them moves, there is a good chance that the cause is a loose wiper arm nut. On most cars, wiper arms are secured to the motor rod through the use of a securing nut. If you look at the base of the wiper arm, you may see a plastic cap that can be removed. Slip a small flat-blade screwdriver under the edge of the cap and pry it so that it pops open. Under the cap you should see a nut that fastens the wiper arm. Tighten this nut using an adjustable wrench, and try your wipers again. If they work properly, then you can replace the cap over that covers the nut. If they don't work properly, then you'll need to visit your auto repair shop.
The most frequent failure of windshield wipers is that they don't move smoothly across your windshield and remove all the rain or snow there. If this is the case, then you will probably need to replace the wiper blades. These are inexpensive and can be purchased at any auto parts store. Check the guides inside the store, and they will let you know the proper blades to get for your car's make, model, and year.
Replacing wiper blades is generally straightforward and can be figured out by looking at the blades that are already on your wipers. Check the instructions that came with the replacement blades as well, as there may be some special directions for the new blades. Normally it only requires a small screwdriver and loosening or fastening two small clips.
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