Stop Putting Your Windshield Wipers Up in Winter Weather

Illustration for article titled Stop Putting Your Windshield Wipers Up in Winter Weather

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Those who grew up and/or learned how to drive in a place that saw a lot of ice and snow each winter (and sometimes also the fall and spring), probably have developed some habits over the years that have helped them adapt to the unpleasant conditions. Or maybe, you just started doing something because that’s what your parents did, and you never really questioned it.

Either way, one example of this is putting your vehicle’s windshield wipers up when any amount of snow is predicted. Perhaps you do this yourself. Or maybe you had no idea this was a thing. Whichever camp you happen to fall in, Kevin Williams, a writer at Car Bibles, is firmly against winter windshield wipers standing at attention. Here’s why.

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Put those windshield wipers down

As Williams explains in an article for The Drive, the reasoning behind positioning your windshield wipers so they stick straight up in the air during the winter is to avoid having them freeze (and therefore, get stuck) to the windshield. That is understandable.

However, he says that doing this could actually cause more harm than good. Per Williams:

The windshield arms are designed to push the wipers against the windshield because of wind coming from the front of the vehicle. When the arms are stored up, they’re now subject to wind and forces they were not designed for. Now, they’re at risk of damaging the gearing, which is often made of shockingly brittle plastic, that holds the wiper blades and arms securely to the windshield. Do your windshield wipers chatter? This may be a possible reason why.

Wind, especially during a snowstorm, can be incredibly strong. I’ve seen it before; wind can blow off the rubber windshield wiper blade. Then, the wind blows down the windshield wiper arm, slamming it into the windshield, cracking or shattering it.

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So, while putting your windshield wipers up in winter weather might save you a few minutes of having to free them from being frozen to your windshield, it’s probably not the best idea in the long run.

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