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Maintenance

Windshield Wiper Not Touching Glass – Troubleshooting

windshield wiper not touching glass
Written by Nick Steiner

Wiping your windshield is the only job that your windshield wiper is supposed to do. There’s a problem that needs fixing if your windshield wiper is not touching the glass! This can be a real risk especially if it’s raining hard.

You might need to remove your windshield wiper and reattach it correctly to the spindle if it’s not touching the glass. Maybe you got the wrong wiper for your car when you got your wipers replaced recently.

There are a few reasons for the wiper to not work correctly that we will discuss here.

Why Your Windshield Wiper Might Not Be Touching the Glass

Why Your Windshield Wiper Might Not Be Touching the Glass

**Photo Courtesy: YouTube

1. Poorly attached wiper arm

It’s also possible that your car’s wiper arm is incorrectly attached to its body. Your windshield wiper arm may become loose over time as it wears out.

Check to see whether the arm floated around freely or wiggled as it moved to determine if this is your problem.

Solution

How can the windshield wiper be fixed if this happens? The wiper arms will need to be tightened using a socket set or wrench.

With a few goods turns it should be working fine. Make sure that everything is working properly again by tightening the screws.

2. Wrong wiper blades

Using the wrong blades for your car will also result in the windshield wiper not touching the glass.

Wiper blades come in a variety of sizes and types. The blade will not be able to wipe properly if it isn’t properly matched to your existing ones.

Check the type that is right for your car before you buy it.

Solution

There is a possibility that the wiper arms need to be removed in order to fix this problem.

Install the right blades. The process is fairly straightforward – just remove a few screws or bolts to disassemble the arm.

You can seek advice from the car part store nearby to find out which ones are suitable for your vehicle.

3. Rubber strip is worn out

Rubber strips on wiper blades tend to wear out, and this is usually the cause of the wipers not working correctly.

Each wiper blade is attached to the arm by a rubber strip. When the blades work, the rubber keeps them in place.

Once it wears out, the wiping ability of your wiper blades will be greatly diminished as it won’t have good contact with your windshield.

Solution

This issue can be resolved by replacing the rubber strip. Thanks to the cheap price, you can find it at most auto parts stores and you don’t need any special tools either.

Some panels might need to be removed in order to get to the wiper arm, this will depend on where it’s located. In most cases, you just slide one out and slide the other in.

4. Wiper arm has a bad spring

A broken spring in the arm can cause the wiper blades to wear out. It will be impossible for the blade to move freely if this spring is too tense.

As a result, rubber on the blade can also become poorly bonded to the windshield, causing similar problems to those described previously.

Solution

Your springs or dampers will need to be replaced to correct this problem. To manually adjust the blade position, remove the screw in the arm.

Then take the dampers and spring apart. This can be done by any professional mechanic.

It’s possible to replace these components yourself if you’re comfortable taking parts of your car apart.

5. Replacement curvature

Having replaced your wiper blades and still not getting the wiper to touch the glass, it may be due to the curvature of the windshield.

The windshield should match the shape of the car’s body. Then you are looking at the center of the glass when you stare straight ahead.

Solution

You have a problem if it does not have this curve. If it perfectly matches the hood with no gaps in between, you should have it fixed.

If this happens, you’ll have to get it fixed by the installer.

6. Cold weather

Wet and slippery conditions on your car will cause standard blade wipers to bend and warp over time due to the weight of the ice and snow.

As your wipers continually thaw and freeze, their curvature will be adversely affected. Your wipers will bend abruptly, and they will no longer make contact with your glass windshield.

Solution

If you don’t change your wipers, you’ll have this problem forever! If you want a windshield wiper that can handle the cold and is more durable, you’ll need ice and snow beam windshield wipers.

These are best for harsh winter conditions and stand up to the added weight of the snow and rain.

Windshield Wiper Not Touching Glass – How to Fix?

Fixing a bent wiper arm

Step 1

Remove the blade from the windshield by gently pulling up on the bend in the arm.

Step 2

Now compare the arm with the bend with the other one. You can often bend them back into the correct position as they are made with malleable and soft metal. Use the other arm as a guide for how it should look.

Step 3

Release the arm then put the wiper on the windshield. Take note of any gaps that can be seen between the glass and the rubber blade. There shouldn’t be any gaps when the arm is in the correct position.

Remove the gaps by adding pressure to the bends. The wiper will then flex to the contour of the glass naturally since the arm of the wiper is actually spring-loaded.

Tighten up the bolts

Step 1: Remove the bolt cap

remove the bolt cap

**Photo Courtesy: iFixit

Remove the wiper bolt cap using a screwdriver.

Now using the top of the screwdriver you need to push it under the cap of your wiper. Gently pry the cap up until it pops off.

Step 2: Remove the bolt

Remove the bolt

**Photo Courtesy: Car Treatments

The bolt needs to be pulled and removed so you can take out the wiper arm

Step 3: Remove wiper arm

Remove wiper arm

**Photo Courtesy: Jiffy Lube Vancouver

With a puller you need to pull the wiper arm out. Firmly hold the bottom end of the arm and pull it towards yourself. This will allow the arm to come into an extended position.

Step 4:  Get the wiper back into position

Bend and fiddle with the wiper arm to get it back to the right position

 Step 5: Verify that the splines are aligned 

Hold the lower end of the wiper arm firmly after it’s been placed onto the metal threading

The wiper arm should be flat with the windshield if it is pushed downwards and away from you.

 Step 6: Put the cap back on, tighten the bolt

Put the cap back on, tighten bolt

**Photo Courtesy: iFixit

How to replace the wipers?

Step 1: Find the correct replacement

Get compatible replacement wiper blades by measuring the wiper blade size. You can find the appropriate size and type of part at a local car part store.

Step 2: Take off the old wipers

The old wipers will need to be removed and discarded

Step 3: Install the new wiper blades

The new wiper blades should be tested after installation. Make sure any streaks or marks are not left behind.

As soon as the new wipers are installed, they should glide smoothly over the windshield. If the windshield is dry, do not use the wipers.

How to Stop Windshield Wipers From Skipping?

How to Stop Windshield Wipers From Skipping

Step 1: Check the wiper quality

Just make sure you’re paying attention to any skipping, streaking, smearing, and squeaking.

When you’re driving in rain, you’ll make sure visibility is good.

Run your fingers over the rubber to check for tears or damage.

Step 2: Polish your windshield a towel and spray

Spray an auto window cleaner that is ammonia-free onto a window cleaning tool or a microfiber cloth.

Clean one side at a time and make sure you wipe vertically until the glass is halfway clean.

Step 3: Wipe horizontally

Wipe the windshield horizontally with wide strokes on the same side.

In long, even swipes, clean and dry the window on that side with a dry microfiber towel.

Step 4: Follow steps 1-3 on the opposite side

Wd40 or Alcohol for the Polish?

It is mostly due to frequent exposure to UV rays or oxygen that door trim gaskets and windshield wipers deteriorate. The material starts to become dry, crack, and ultimately fail with age.

Many people spray some WD-40 on a cloth and wipe it onto the rubber materials to keep them protected from the elements.

How to Clean Your Windshield Wipers?

How to Clean Your Windshield Wipers

**Photo Courtesy: YouTube

Step 1. Lift the blades

It is easier to clean the wiper blades if you lift the windscreen wipers from the windscreen glass.

Step 2: Blot with a paper towel

To apply the washer fluid, blot the paper towel with a small amount of hot soapy water.

Wipe the wiper blade back and forth, holding the wiper in your desired position.

Make sure the rubber edge of the blade is clean by doing this a few times.

Step 3: Wipe the window with rubbing alcohol

To remove any grease that has built up inside the window, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol one more time

Step 4: Put “No wax” car polish on the window

Starting from the top and gently applying the wax with the applicator, you can use either a pad or microfibre cloth.

Work your way down in small circular movements. Continue to add wax after you have completed one “row.” Continue until all surfaces have been covered with wax.

Step 5: Baff the haze out of the window with a microfiber cloth

Start buffing it out again with a clean microfiber cloth. You should have no problems removing the wax. When you are done you should have crystal clear glass.

Windshield Wiper Fixing Tips

Check your blades for any faults

Your blades may become damaged even if you take exceptional care of them. Inspect them every time you clean them to stay on top of their condition.

Check to see if there are any cracks forming within the rubbers or any corrosion occurring along with the metal parts of the wiper arms.

Make sure the wiper arm’s framing is not deformed. The blade needs to be replaced if any rubber is missing.

Regular cleaning to extend the lifespan

Rubbing alcohol is good for two reasons. The wiper blade itself will be thoroughly cleaned of any and all debris, allowing you to maintain an abrasion-free wipe when you use them.

Another reason is squeaking and streaking will happen when the blades are covered with grime. You can help avoid these issues by cleaning your blades once per month with rubbing alcohol

Adjust your wipers to gain full performance

It works best when your wipers are tight. When you remove the wipers, you should see a nut located underneath the dust cap. Ratchet the nut into place by using the appropriate size socket.

The wiper blades may need to be adjusted after you tighten the wipers. To sweep as much area as possible, the blade should completely touch the windshield.

FAQs

Q: Why do my windshield wipers leave haze?

This may be a result of dirt and oil accumulating from the road. This is more likely to be a problem if you live in an area with humid weather. Your vision may be affected by the oils or the dirt and moisture in the air. Another culprit is dirty or expired wiper washer solution ensure this is changed every 6 months.

About the author

Nick Steiner

Nick has been a car nut for his whole life as far as he can remember. His father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. As a result, Nick had the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and learned to get his hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

Nick is a great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity. His deep passion lies in older models that he believes have a flair that takes him back to his childhood. He also loves their durability and reliability when compared to the modern models.

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