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.
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.