With more rain and snow during the fall and winter months, this is a great time of year start the habit of cleaning and maintaining your windshield wipers. Follow this advice to make sure visibility through your windshield remains crisp and sharp, no matter what the weather is like.
Fix Chattering Wipers
This performance issue is enough to drive you crazy. Chattering is caused when the wiper blade doesn’t sit perpendicular to the glass. To check your wipers, look along the length of the blade. If it’s twisted slightly – perhaps because of a rambunctious carwash or poor installation to begin with – the motor arm is out of whack. Fortunately, you can twist it back with a pair of adjustable wrenches.
First remove the wiper blade to make room for the wrenches. Then lay a towel on the windshield to protect the glass and wrap tape around the motor arm to protect the paint. Twist the arm back to the proper angle. Reattach the wiper blade and try running the wipers again. Hopefully the chattering stops.
Fix Streaking Wipers
Windshield wipers spend a lot of time baking in the sun. This is tough on the rubber and may cause minor streaking to develop. You can stop this by dabbing a clean rag in mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol and wiping the edge of the blade. When the streaking becomes more severe, it’s time to replace the wipers.
Keep the Windshield Clean
You’re less likely to run into visibility problems if you take the time to wipe off the windshield wipers every time you fill up the gas tank. You should also use one of those complementary squeegees to clean and dry the windshield.
In winter when ice and snow cover your car, be sure to brush and scrape off the obstruction before operating the wipers. This helps keep the rubber blades from being chipped by ice and prevents the motor from straining to move a heavy load of snow off the windshield.
Tend to the Wiper Fluid
The wipers aren’t the only parts of the system that can cause mischief. You also need to be sure to top off the windshield wiper fluid every few weeks to every few months, depending on how much it’s been raining. If you discover your car going through a whole gallon of fluid in no time, you could have a leaky hose. Replacing the hose should solve this problem.
If the flow is low but you determine there’s no leak, the pump could be clogged. This can happen if something other than a liquid enters the wiper fluid reservoir. Remove the hose from the pump outlet and test for a healthy flow. If it’s good, the hose may simply be pinched. Reroute it to improve the flow of wiper fluid to the washer jet.
If one of the jets fails to spray a steady stream of fluid on the windshield, it might be clogged. Remove the nozzle and back-flush it with a hose or compressed air. Make sure the reservoir is free of debris so a clog doesn’t reoccur.
Address Electrical Issues
Do you pull up on the knob to spray the windshield and nothing happens? If the wiper fluid reservoir is full, you could have an electrical problem. First check the fuse. The owner’s manual will tell you which one controls the wipers. If you replace the fuse and the wipers still don’t work, bring your car in for a repair as soon as possible. The last thing you need is to be stuck in the rain or snow without working windshield wipers.
For help adjusting or replacing your windshield wipers, please visit Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair. If you would like, you can schedule an appointment online or call ahead at (970) 682-4202.