The windshield wiper and washer system help protect a windshield neat and free of rain, dirt, sleet or snow. This system is not only a convenience but a safety system as well. Inability to see well due to a dirty windshield can make safe driving hard or impossible.
There are a number of parts in the wiper/washer system that can stop functioning and cause problems. Everything ranging from a blown fuse to a bad pump can leave a windshield dirty.
How it works:
Windshield wipers use two different technologies to prevent the windshield from dirt. An electric motor using a worm gear gives the power to move the wipers while a linkage changes the rotational output of the electric motor into the familiar back and forth motion of the wiper blades.
The windshield washer system makes use of a washer pump that is installed at the bottom of the washer fluid reservoir. The pump is activated by a spring-loaded control; this control turns on the wipers as well. The fluid is pumped via a rubber or plastic hose that runs up to windshield and separates in two lines that feed the washer nozzles on the hood of the car.
Common reasons for this to happen:
Windshield Wiper Issues
Worn wiper blades: Wiper blades need to be changed on a regular basis. Worn wiper blades will not clean the windshield. Smearing and streaking are the common symptoms of worn blades. If the blades chatter, it can also imply dirty or worn blades. Note that torn or cracking blades need to be replaced.
Bent or loose wiper arms: Wiper arms can become bent, usually due to vandalism. If the wiper blades are not cleaning the windshield but still appear to be in good shape loose or bent wiper arms could be the problem.
Malfunctioning wiper arm linkage: The linkage between the wiper motor and the blades can become spoilt. The most common sign of a broken linkage is one wiper arm not functioning.
Blown fuse: A blown fuse will cut off the electric current to the wiper motor. If both blades fail to function when turned on, a blown fuse is always the starting point for a diagnosis.
Bad wiper motor: If the blades fail to function at all, are working slowly, only operate on one speed or do not stop in the correct position, a spoilt or malfunctioning wiper motor could be the cause. The motor will need to be repaired or checked.
Defective wiper switch: If the wipers do not turn on when the switch is flipped, keep running after being put off or it is impossible to select the right speed settings, the switch may be defective and will have to be changed.
Windshield Washer Problems
No washer fluid: There are many reasons windshield washers fail to work and one of the most common is because the fluid reservoir is empty.
Blown fuse: Fuses gives overcurrent protection to all of the vehicle’s electrical units and this includes the windshield washer system. If a fuse spoils, the electrical current to the washer pump will be cut off and the washer system will stop working.
Bad windshield washer switch: The switch that puts on the windshield washer can malfunction and stop to send a signal to the pump. If this takes place, the pump will not work.
Broken washer pump: The electric pump that sends the fluid from the reservoir to the nozzles can malfunction or break.
Leaky washer tubes or bottle: The washer reservoir or the tubing that takes the fluid to the nozzles can crack or leak. This can result in fluid lost on route to the nozzles, which can bring about a weak spray or no spray at all.
Clogged washer tubes or nozzles: The tubing or the nozzles themselves can become clogged with debris. The nozzles, which are quite small, can easily get clogged by dirt, leaves or other debris.
Frozen washer fluid: In very cold weather it is possible for washer fluid to freeze. If the fluid is frozen it should thaw as the car warms up.
How important is this service?
A malfunctioning windshield wiper or washer system is not a very serious problem in cars but should be addressed as soon as it is convenient. This can become a very real problem if the weather suddenly turns bad as limited visibility can make driving extremely dangerous.