Windshield Wipers Stop Working in the Rain: Causes and Fixes

Windshield wipers stop working in the rain for different reasons, including pulse board malfunctions. When your wipers stop working in the rain, it’s impossible to keep driving due to blurry vision.

Windshield Wipers Stop Working

This article explains the reasons why your wipers could stop working in the rain and how to fix them.

Why Do Your Windshield Wipers Stop Working in the Rain?

Your windshield wipers stop working in the rain because they may be torn or misaligned, you may have a burned-out fuse or motor, or wiper switch problems. When your wipers stop working, it is essential to identify the real cause of the problem before fixing it.

  • Torn or Misaligned Wipers

A torn wiper is the most typical reason a windshield wiper stops working, especially in the rain. When the rubber edges are torn, your wiper’s blades can’t remove moisture or dirt on the windshield. Additionally, torn wipers can become misaligned.

Torn wipers can cause streaking, skipping, uneven wiping, and squeaking. Streaking occurs when wipers leave wet or dirty streaks on the windshield. Skipping happens when they don’t make full contact with the glass, while uneven wiping occurs when the windshield is wiped unevenly or leaves unwiped spots.

The misalignment causes them to skip or jump across the windshield. When the wiper’s blades are torn, they no longer make proper contact with the windshield, resulting in streaks or patches of water being left behind. These issues obstruct your view, making it difficult to see in the rain.
  • Burned-Out Windshield Wiper Fuse

The fuse is a safety device that protects the wiper’s motor from electrical overload. If the fuse burns out, it will cause the motor to stop working, and the wipers will not function. The fuse will automatically burn out as a means of shutting down if your motor is overworked.

Reasons of Faulty Windshield Wipers

The burned-out fuse helps safeguard the more expensive motor. Usually, a blown fuse is a sign of a more significant problem, such as a malfunctioning motor or a short circuit in the wiring.

  • Unstable or Untied Pivot Nuts

Unstable nuts are another major reason your wipers may stop working in the rain. If the nuts are not properly tightened, the wipers will malfunction. The nuts are crucial because the wiper transmission is connected to the wiper arms by the pivot nut.

The motor will still turn the pivot when this nut is loose, which happens frequently, but the wiper arm may remain stationary, or only one wiper may operate. However, the wiper may suddenly stop working once it starts raining because of the constant need to use the wipers.

  • Burned-Out or Malfunctioning Wiper Motor

A malfunctioning or burned-out motor inside the wiper may be the cause of the wiper not working correctly in the rain. Sometimes, your wipers won’t operate if the motor is burned out. To be sure, try examining the motor. There may be a loose wire in the circuit.

Other signs of a failing motor may include wipers not moving, moving slowly or struggling, stopping mid-cycle, or making unusual noises like grinding or squeaking. If not fixed immediately, these could easily make your wipers stop working in the rain.

  • Wiper Control Switch Problems

When you have issues with your wiper switch, your wipers are bound to stop working eventually. The chances become even higher when it starts raining. The wiper switch is responsible for sending a signal to the motor, which controls the movement of the wipers.
If the switch is faulty, the proper signal won’t be sent, causing the wipers to stop working.

When the wiper switch is turned on, the wipers should travel in a curving motion from the driver’s left to right to clean the windshield properly. But this is not the case when faulty.
You might flip the switch when it rains, but nothing will happen. The wiper module, the motor, the stripped motor linkage, and the wiper arm are all linked and connected to the switch. Hence, the wipers may stop working if the switch is faulty.

  • Malfunctioning Pulse Board

A pulse board malfunction can cause various issues with the electrical components of a vehicle, including disrupting the wipers’ movement when it’s raining. If the pulse board responsible for controlling the wiper motor fails, the wipers can malfunction or stop working.

The pulse board controls the entire wiper system, and it is situated underneath the dashboard and above the brake and accelerator pedals. In addition to turning the wipers on or off, this mechanism regulates intermittent wiper operation and high/low speed wiping.

If your pulse board is malfunctioning, you may notice symptoms such as erratic wiper movement, the wipers not moving, wipers moving on their own, or other electrical issues in the vehicle. It’s important to have the pulse board inspected by a qualified mechanic to reveal the actual cause of the problem.

  • Inclement Weather Conditions

Wipers usually malfunction when you’re driving under inclement weather conditions. Most drivers usually overestimate the capabilities and strength of wipers. Remember that windshield wipers are not designed to clear thick ice or thick layers of snow from your windshield.

If you attempt to use your wipers in this situation, the likelihood of harming them is very high. A little light snow or ice is okay, but anything heavy that rubs on the blades or tears them will give you trouble, and your wiper will stop working.

How To Fix Windshield Wipers Not Working in the Rain

To fix windshield wipers not working in the rain, you can repair the wiper linkage or check and fix the wiper’s fuse. Aside from these solutions, other ways to fix wipers that malfunction in the rain are tightening your wiper’s pivot nut or fixing the wiper control button.

  • Repair the Wiper Linkage

Your wipers may not work due to a faulty wiper linkage. To fix this issue, begin by inspecting the wiper linkage for any damage or broken parts. If you notice any damage, you may need to replace the entire linkage, depending on the severity.

If the linkage is intact, lubricate the joints and moving parts with a silicone spray to free up any stuck parts. If this does not work, remove the wiper linkage and clean it thoroughly using a degreaser to remove any dirt or debris that may be causing the problem.

Once the linkage is clean, reassemble it and test the wipers to see if they are working correctly. If the issue persists, you may need to seek the help of a mechanic for further diagnosis and repair. You should also check for other possible causes, just to be sure.

  • Check the Wiper’s Fuse

If your wiper’s fuse gets burned out and your wipers stop working, you should check the fuse. To check the wiper’s fuse, you must first locate the fuse box in your car. The fuse box is typically found under the dashboard on the driver’s side. Some can be found in the engine compartment.

Fix Windshield Wipers Not Working

Use a fuse tester or a multimeter to check the fuse. Set the tester or multimeter to continuity test mode and touch the two probes to the metal ends of the fuse. If it’s bad, the tester or multimeter will neither beep nor show continuity.

If you don’t have a fuse tester or multimeter, remove the fuse and check if it’s blown. A blown fuse has a broken wire or a black or gray color inside it. If it is blown, replace it with a new fuse of the same rating.

  • Secure Your Wiper Pivot Nut

If your wipers stop working due to an unstable pivot nut, you can fix the problem by tightening the nuts and making sure the pivot points are securely linked. You most likely won’t need to replace the wipers because the problem can be fixed by simply tightening the pivot nut.

Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield until it locks into the right place in an upright position. Next, locate the pivot nut close to the wiper arm where it attaches to the vehicle. Use tools like a socket wrench or pliers to tighten the pivot nut.

When tightening the nuts, be careful not to over-tighten them, as it can cause damage to the wiper arm or motor. After tightening the nuts, lower the wiper arm to the windshield and test the wipers to ensure they are working correctly.

  • Change the Windshield Wiper Motor

To replace the motor, first, locate it under the hood at the base of the windshield. Before starting any work, disconnect the battery to prevent electrical accidents. Next, remove the wiper arms from the motor shaft using a wiper arm puller or screwdriver. Then, remove the plastic cowl.

The cowl protects the motor and linkage. Remove the cowl by taking out the screws and carefully lifting it off. Next, disconnect the wiring harness from the motor. Using a socket wrench, remove the bolts that hold the motor in place and carefully lift the motor out of its housing.

Install the new motor and secure it with bolts. Now you can reconnect the wiring harness to the new motor and any other components that were attached to it. Carefully reinstall the cowl and secure it with screws. Finally, reinstall the wiper arms onto the motor shaft and reconnect the battery.

  • Lubricate the Wipers

You can use any good windshield lubricant of your choice. Always use a suitable washer fluid, which is a sure way to keep your wipers lubricated. By lubricating your wipers regularly, you can also prevent damage to your windshield, as worn or damaged wipers can scratch the glass surface.

To lubricate your wipers, clean the wiper’s blades with water and mild detergent to remove any debris or dirt. Next, apply a small amount of silicone lubricant to the rubber edges of the wiper blades, using either a silicone spray or a silicone gel lubricant.

After applying the lubricant, spread it evenly along the length of the wiper blades, making sure to apply it to both sides. Next, let the wipers run for a few minutes to distribute the lubricant evenly, and then wipe off excess lubricant with a soft, clean fabric.


– What Is the Cost of Fixing a Windshield Wiper?

The cost of fixing a windshield wiper ranges from $20 to $300. However, it might cost only $20 to $40 if you fix it yourself. Still, you may need to spend closer to $200 or $300 to fix your wiper system if it’s experiencing mechanical or electrical issues.

– Is It Possible to Drive in the Rain Without Wipers?

Yes, it is possible to drive in the rain without wipers. However, it’s not safe to do so. Without functioning wipers, your visibility will be severely impaired, increasing the risk of accidents. It is crucial to ensure that your wipers are in good working condition before driving in the rain.

Repairing the Wiper Linkage

Why Do Common Electrical Components Stop Working and How Can They Be Fixed?

Why do common electrical components stop working and how can they be fixed? When it comes to subwoofers, troubleshooting can be essential. A subwoofer troubleshooting guide can help identify issues like blown fuses, loose connections, or faulty power supply. By following the guide, individuals can learn how to fix these problems and restore the functionality of their subwoofer, ensuring an optimal audio experience.


Now that you’ve learned why your windshield wipers stopped working in the rain, you won’t have to panic anymore.

Here’s a recap of the main points discussed in this article:

  • The major reasons your wipers may stop working in heavy rains include torn wipers, burned-out fuse or motor, and wiper switch problems.
  • Sometimes, the wipers may stop working in the rain if the nuts are not properly tied.
  • You don’t have to replace your wipers when they stop working, as simple lubrication or washing fluids could fix some problems.

Henceforth, you can take practical steps to make your wipers work properly in the rain and ensure they don’t malfunction again.

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