Car Repair and Maintenance

What to Do if Your Windshield Wipers Stop Working in the Rain

What to do if your windshield wipers stop working in the rain? You have multiple options, you could either stop or continue driving. But if you are driving, then there is a lot of stuff you need to consider for the sake of your safety and other road users.

What to do if your windshield wipers stop working in the rain

Some months ago, I had an encounter with heavy rain and my windshield wipers stopped working. Unfortunately, the snowstorm was moving faster I stopped and went out a few times to clear off the wipers but couldn’t keep up because that made the driving experience very bad.

But what I did not know was that there are sensors just where we have the wipers which stopped working temporarily to keep the car from overheating the motors under the pressure. However, I could only think that this was the case because the owner’s manual said nothing. This leaves me in the stop-and-go traffic with full blast defroster. I let the heat out by opening the windows, leaving the doors wet from the rain. As the rain intensity falls, the windshield wipers start to work disconcertingly until they returned to normal. This could be your case, but what if not?

Failed windshield wipers in the rain is something you do not want to happen, especially when it is raining heavily. You cannot stop it, however, because it will always happen. If you have an older vehicle, the wiper failure could be due to a broken or worn wiper linkage. In most modern cars, the wiper motor could be the problem. There are many more reasons your windshield wipers may not be working, including a grounding or relay problem or a blown fuse.

Why is Your Windshield Wiper Not Working in the Rain?

  • Your wiper motor is not working. When your wiper stops working, it is a sign that the electrical motor has failed. You would have to park the vehicle and inspect the motor for a loose circuit wire.
  • Loose pivot nuts. Pivot nuts attach the wiper arms and the transmission, so if loose, the windshield wiper arm will be static even though the motor is still working. In other cases, only one wiper could be working. Park your car and inspect and tighten the pivot points, making sure that they are firmly connected.
  • Heavy rainfall. You typically expect your windshield wipers to clear anything off the windshield, but this is not always the case. Suppose the rain pressure is high or you have big chunks of frozen ice on your windshield. In this case, you could be damaging the wipers. Lighter rain or small ice is okay; anything bigger causes the windshield wiper problems. You can simply park your vehicle, get rid of the ice, or stop driving if the rain is too heavy. After this adventure, get your car sturdier windshield wipers that can withstand pressuring weather conditions.
  • The wiper is torn. It is common for wipers to be torn. Typically, when the blade rubber edges are torn, the wiper movement is no longer smooth on the windshield. The wiper will not perfectly remove moisture or debris, which causes poor visibility, and a bad driving experience.
  • Burned wiper fuse. Your wiper fuse can burn out if overloaded so that it protects your wiper motor from damage.

What to Do if Your Windshield Wipers Stop Working in the Rain

If your windshield wipers stop working in the rain, you can do the following:

  1. Check Fuse

First, stop the car if you are already driving and check the fuse. If the fuse is still okay, you can ensure there is power in the fuse and wiper motor using a test light. To do this, touch the test light to the tabs on the wiper motor connector and metal tabs on top of the fuse. If the connection lights up, the fuse and motor are in good condition. The problem could now be that you have a broken wire (open circuit) between the wiper motor and fuse box.

  1. Wipe the Windscreen with Peeled Potatoes

If you have potatoes, or can purchase some, get them. Cut the potatoes into equal halves and wipe the windscreen with them. First, use a clean material to remove moisture from the vehicle. When the rain falls on the windscreen, it will roll off immediately. This works like silicone spray on your windshield. As you drive, the rain pressure will weaken the effectiveness of the potato solution. Therefore, if you travel a longer distance, you may have to stop and wipe the windscreen with potatoes often.

  1. Fix the Wiper Linkage

If the wiper linkage is bad or falling off, you can put it back on. In the case where you cannot find the clip, the linkage is broken, so you can use a paper clip or whatever option is available to reattach it.

  1. Drive Faster

Another method regarding what to do if your windshield stops working in the rain is to drive faster. This will depend on the traffic but driving faster is not advisable in the rain. Your vehicle tires may lose traction, resulting in an accident.

The take-home idea, however, is that when you drive faster with failed wipers, the wind pushes the raindrops away from the windshield to improve visibility. Recently, when my wipers were acting up, I turned them off and matched the gas in the rain. At 120 kph, the wind washes off the raindrops making the road more visible. You can always stop at the gas station to dry off the windshield before driving again.

  1. Use Water Repellent

You can apply a liberal amount of Rain-X on your windscreen following the product instructions to make you drive visibly without your windshield wipers at a moderate speed. Here’s the best windshield wiper fluid to use, especially if you have bug problem.

If there is up to a 45-degree angle of attack on the windscreen, the raindrop will bounce off, creating better visibility. RainX does not work well under a light misty rain but no cause for alarm.

Some drivers even prefer not to use their wipers in the rain when driving on the highway because wipers sometimes interfere in driving. However, it may be illegal to drive in the snow or rain if your windshield wipers are not working.

RainX does not remain effective for a very long time. The effect will reduce after a few showers, so you have to reapply for the solution if you are traveling a longer distance.

  1. Apply Carnuba Wax

You can also apply carnauba wax if your windshield stops working in the rain. First, clean your windshield thoroughly and get fir of oil residue off using alcohol. Wax the windshield with carnauba wax and allow it to dry off. Finally, buff it off with a clean cloth and polish it with a microfiber cloth for your windshield to repel the rain for improved visibility without a working windshield wiper.

How to Use Water Repellent Solutions When Your Windscreen Wiper Stops Working in the Rain

  • Step 1. If you have rubbing alcohol, pour half a cup into a spray bottle.
  • Step 2. Add a cup of filtered water into the spray bottle containing the rubbing alcohol.
  • Step 3. Mix the filtered water and rubbing alcohol by swirling the spray bottle until it feels warm. Replace the cap only when the mixture cools off.
  • Step 4. Use a soft dry cloth to wipe your windshield and get rid of oil residue with the mixture. Use a clean microfiber cloth to touch the windshield again.
  • Step 5. Apply the rain repellent solution on the now-clean and dry windshield. Finally, use a clean cloth to wipe and dry the windshield.


Can you drive without wipers?

It is not legal to drive in the rain without wipers because the raindrop will cause poor visibility or road view. Even if you can get a clearer view of the road without windshield wipers after using a rain repellent solution, it may still not be acceptable to drive with failed wipers.

What happens when wipers stop working?

When your wipers stop working, the raindrops on the screen obscure your visibility, making driving harder which threatens yourself and other road users. It could mean that the electrical motor of your wipers shorted out or failed, which requires replacement.

Final Thoughts

Unless you want to miss an adventure or the experience that comes with driving without your wipers, stop the car and wait until the rain subsides. If you drive the car in the rain, ensure to stay some yards away from the cars ahead.


Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button