Should You Leave Your Windshield Wipers Up in the Snow?

What do you do with your windshield wipers when you hear that snow is on the way? Do you leave them up or flat against the windshield?
windshield wipers

Your favorite meteorologist is calling for a wintry mix. The storm will develop while you’re at work, leading to a miserable evening commute. As you pull into the office parking lot, you notice that a healthy handful of your co-workers have popped up their windshield wipers.

That’s when your dilemma begins.

Do you follow suit? If you leave your wipers up, at least you know that you won’t leave work to find them stuck to the windshield. But some argue that you’ll still have to chip away ice from the wipers.

Our resident automotive expert, AAA’s Car Doctor John Paul, doesn’t do it on his own car.

“Putting the wipers up and away from the windshield makes it easier to clean the windshield if it snows,” he said. “It also eliminates the chance that the wipers will freeze to the windshield.”

But it also means you’re putting stress on the spring that holds the wiper arms against the windshield, he cautions.

Buying a New Car

Tips and tricks to get you through every step of buying a new car, whatever “new” means to you.

Download Now!

On the other hand, Robert Sinclair Jr., manager of media relations at AAA Northeast, believes leaving windshield wipers up is a safe option.

“I don’t see any harm in it, though you still have to clean the snow off the glass,” said Sinclair.

In case your wipers are accidently left on, leaving them up also eliminates the chance of burning out the windshield wiper motor when you start your car and the blades try to push their way through the heavy snow.

Sinclair offers an alternate method for preventing wipers from freezing to the windshield.

“You can put a blanket over the windshield and weigh it down with some bricks prior to a storm,” he said. “The next morning, pull off the blanket and the windshield is clear.”

Whether you choose to put your windshield wipers up or leave them down, you need to make sure they are working properly before you head out on the road.

  • Wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe.
  • Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.
  • Consider installing all-weather wiper blades that have a one-piece plastic beam frame or winter blades that wrap the metal frame in a rubber boot. Both designs help prevent snow and ice buildup that can interfere with blade-to-glass contact.
  • Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components. Some window washer solution is rated to just 20 degrees, but in cold weather this solution can freeze and damage the washer system. Look for washer fluid that protects well below freezing temperatures.

What do you do with your windshield wipers when you hear that snow is on the way? Do you leave them sticking up or flat against the windshield? Tell us in the comments.

No matter what you do with your windshield wipers, AAA members can save on automotive replacement parts and accessories at NAPA.

Learn about AAA’s automotive services.

SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR AAA NEWSLETTER

Sign up and receive updates for all of the latest articles on automotive, travel, money, lifestyle and so much more!

67 Thoughts on “Should You Leave Your Windshield Wipers Up in the Snow?

  1. WHEN I HEAR OF A FORTH-COMING STORM ‘OVER-NIGHT’ I GO OUT AND PUT DE-ICER ALL AROUND THE CAR AND A SMALL PATHWAY AND AS IT SNOWS IT MELTS THE NEWLY FALLING SNOW SO WHEN I GO OUT I JUST ‘WALK-AWAY’ THE SNOW AND CONTINUE CLEANING AROUND THE CAR, I.E. EXHAUST PIPE (THANK YOU FOR THAT!!) ROOF, AND THEN CONTINUE! THANK YOU FOR ALL THESE SUGGESTIONS!! SHM

  2. In Massachusetts it is ILLEGAL to have your vehicle idle for ANY period of time not even 5 minutes. The police do not usually enforce this law but they could and it carries a $35 fine. Also, should your vehicle get stolen while its idling or the keys left in it most insurance companies will not cover the costs.

  3. I wouldn’t leave them up. Here is a short article on it: https://www.autozone.com/diy/wipers/leaving-windshield-wipers-up

    Here is a part of that article, “Windshield wipers are pressed flat to the glass by springs within the wiper arm. These springs are stretched when you pull the wiper arm upwards away from the glass. This is okay for a short time, like when you are changing the wiper blades. However, leaving them in the upward position for a long time can permanently stretch the springs overtime. This is why it is not a good idea to leave your wiper blades up in preparation for cold precipitation. Once you stretch out that spring, the wiper arm can no longer provide the right amount of pressure, causing poor wipe quality.”

  4. I put a tarp over my car held by 4 bungee cords. If nothing else I will put plastic bags over my wipers and keep them down. If they are up and get an ice storm they will get full of ice. Leave them down then raise them to clean the wind shield. A towel will get wet and freeze and be hard to remove. Use a tarp

  5. I have a 99’ Cadillac where the wipers are below the hood , I live in Suffolk co. Long Island and there is about 2 inches of show in my apartment complex. . I do go out and clean car off ( like I am now a few times a night , and also shovel in front of front end , tires because plows come through and I break my back trying to do it all at once in morning , )
    But I think I’ll look into a cover or the frost guard also, ..thancx for all ideas!

  6. I have a 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe and my wipers don’t go above the hood so I can’t keep them off the windshield. I use a pool noodle cut it a little longer than the blades then slide the blade inside. Easy to store in the storage unit.

  7. I just remote start my car by time I come out it’s all melted and I’m pretty much on my way. South s little plow of the hood and roof.

  8. I put long woolen socks on my windshield wipers and leave them down. I also cover the side view mirrors with woolen hats because they get frozen in the down position with freezing snow.

  9. I put long woolen socks on my windshield wipers and leave them down. I also cover the side view mirrors with wollen hats because they get frozen in the down position with freezing snow.

Leave A Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and may or may not be published at the editor’s discretion. Only comments that are relevant to the article and add value to the Your AAA community will be considered. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED. REQUIRED FIELDS ARE MARKED *

Send this to a friend