Windshield wipers are among the usual accessories of a vehicle and are an integral part of the car.
The windshield wipers are a simple but important part of a car and help the driver to see as clearly as possible in rainy weather and snow, and they even remove dirt and debris on the windshield to maintain a clear view of the road, which is an important requirement for proper driving.
Signs of a Bad Windshield Wiper Motor
Here are a number of symptoms that you can look for and that can help you know exactly when and why you should see a mechanic.
1. The wipers don’t move at all
If you turn on the wiper and the wipers do not work at all, there is a chance that your wiper motors are not getting any power at all. This is most likely a problem with the wiper relay, but in some rare cases, the wiper motors themselves may fail, so you will need to see a mechanic to have them replaced.
If it’s a problem with the relay or wiring, you will save the cost of replacing the motors. But if the wiring and relay do not seem to be the problem, you will, unfortunately, have to pay for the cost of new wiper motors.
2. The wipers operate slower than they normally would
If you see that your wiper is working more slowly, i.e. not at the speed it used to work at, thick dirt or deposits could be stuck somewhere in the moving part of the motors, causing the motors to turn slower due to increased friction. In this case, you must have it checked and cleaned by a good mechanic.
The motors must be removed and thoroughly cleaned to free the motor. This would mean that your wiper module has not completely failed and can be repaired by a certified mechanic.
3. The wipers operate at a single speed only
If you turn on the wiper motors and set them to different speeds, you may notice there is no difference in speed between the settings; i.e. the slower speed corresponds exactly to the fastest speed. If this is the case, there is a high probability that the intermittent relay of your wiper system, not the motor, is defective, because the motors themselves still work.
In this case, your problem will not be as costly as replacing the motors, as your mechanic will diagnose the problem accurately and replace the intermittent relay, restoring the different operating speeds of your wiper module.
4. The wipers work abnormally
A wiper is programmed to operate in a repetitive up and down motion. If your wipers jam in the middle or do not start immediately, this could indicate poor wiring or a bad relay. In the worst cases, it could also be a faulty motor.
In such cases, it can be difficult for someone without the appropriate knowledge to diagnose the problem correctly and accurately, and inspection by a certified mechanic is a must to avoid replacing a component that may not actually be faulty.
5. The wipers don’t stop at their designated place or stop without returning to the ‘resting’ point.
The wiper motors are programmed to return to their resting point after switching off, i.e. to the bottom of the windscreen, one on top of the other. This is crucial, as the wiper blades should not rest anywhere in the middle of the windscreen, as this could impair visibility.
If the wipers do not return to their starting point, this could indicate poor alignment of the arms if they have recently been replaced. If they have not been replaced, and you are still facing this problem, the problem could very well be with the motors.
The Function of a Windshield Wiper Motor
A wiper system consists of blade arms, the rubber blades, and, the most important part, the motors that control the movement of the wipers. When the wipers are activated, they send a signal to the wiper motors, which then operate the arms in a repetitive up and down movement, clearing the windscreen of water or dirt to clear the view.
But the amount of rain or dirt can vary, which is why car manufacturers program the wiper motors to operate at different speeds depending on the weather.
Unfortunately, every component or part of a vehicle breaks down at one point or another, due to excessive use, unexpected damage, or excessive wear and tear. The wipers may not work properly for a number of reasons. Sometimes only the wiper blades are damaged, which is not difficult to replace. If your wipers are fine but the system is still not working as it should, or you suspect that it is due to the engine, you will need to see a mechanic and have your wiper system checked.
Usually, an ordinary person is not able to diagnose and solve engine-related problems on his or her own because he or she does not have the right tools and relevant information to perform a repair or replacement. But replacing damaged wiper arms and blades can be done with little knowledge, as the owner does not need to disassemble anything.
Although, with bad engines, a certified mechanic must be consulted to diagnose and locate the problem accurately.
A self-diagnosis should be started by checking the fuses, because often only defective fuses and relays can be replaced by the owner himself.
Relays can be diagnosed by the clicking sound they make when they are powered up, indicating that the internal magnetic circuit is working as desired.
Windshield motor replacement cost
Although it really depends on the make and model of a car, the average estimated cost of a windshield wiper motor can range from $250 to $450, and parts such as relays and switches cost between $70 and $100 depending on the make and model of the car, while labor costs can range from $50 to $150.
Hello I’m Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I’m specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I’m here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.