How to Troubleshoot Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers are usually the furthest thing or one of the furthest things in the mind of the motorist until it rains. However, when they need the wipers and they don't work, they're suddenly the first priority.

It's a major hassle to drive through a torrent of rain without properly working wipers on the freeway. It's like driving through fog or driving blind!

With that in mind, here are the common problems with wipers and how to troubleshoot them in a DIY manner before you give up and let your mechanic handle it.

How to Fix Common Wiper Problems

  • Chattering and Squeaking: Chattering and squeaking is probably the most common problem you'll experience with wipers. They're not only grating; they signify that water isn't being wiped as efficiently as you'd like. You can fix it by cleaning it since it's usually caused by a buildup of grease, oil, or wax. If that's not the problem, the wiper arm might be bent instead. Use pliers to twist it back to being parallel with the glass. The arm can also be frozen, in which case you can let it melt to start working properly.
  • Smearing in Both Directions: If your wipers are smearing water in both directions, then you could have a subpar windshield wiper fluid, a dirty windshield or wiper blade, or worn blades. To fix the problem, you need to respectively replace the fluid, clean your windshield or wiper blade of any sticky dirt and contaminants, or replace the worn blades with new non-squeaky ones. Use a clean rag dipped in hot, soapy water to do your cleanup or use a glass cleaner product.
  • Smearing In Only One Direction: If the water is smearing in only one direction, leading to a blurry mess of a windshield when it's raining, it's probably due to the cold weather. In such a case, there isn't much you can do but deal with it until it gets warmer. Your wiper blades might be hard and old or the wrong size if this happens and the weather isn't cold. You'll need to buy new wiper blades in order to compensate.
  • Water Beads That Won't Go Away: If there are water beads on your windshield that won't wipe away no matter how hard your windshield wiper tries, obscuring your vision as they hypnotically dance on the glass turning your windshield into a mosaic, then you're probably in areas with high pollution. The rain has grime and residue that builds up on your windshield, resulting in sticky water and beads. The solution to this is using a strong glass cleaner or wax remover on your greasy windshield.

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