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When we are expecting snow storm and the vehicle is parked, do we pull out the wipers so they don’t touch the glass to avoid the freezing to the windshield? Or would that hurt the springs in the wiper and make it weaker for future use?

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12 Answers 12

Regarding the effect of raising the wiper arms on the wiper arm springs: raising the wiper arms will not make the springs weaker for future use.

The only way that the springs could produce reduced force when the wiper arms are returned to their normal position is if the springs took a permanent "set" from being stretched. This can only happen one of two ways:

  1. The springs were stretched beyond their material yield point and therefore experienced plastic deformation, which is permanent
  2. The springs experienced significant material "creep", which can happen below the yield point

Both of these scenarios are extremely unlikely in the case of wiper arm springs. The wiper arms are designed to be raised and lowered, and the springs will stay well below the yield point throughout their range of motion, so point 1 does not apply. As for creep, this is a LOOONG term phenomenon, and would occur to some extent even when the wiper arms are down (the stretch of the springs isn't all that different between the up and down positions), so point 2 does not apply.

Therefore, feel free to put your wipers up. It won't hurt your springs.

For what it's worth, I grew up in a very snowy region, and it wasn't until I moved out of the serious snow belt that I started to see masses of cars with their wipers up in parking lots. I actually think it's kind of funny. I personally have no problems cleaning my windshield with the wipers down.

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Do you have personal experience working with springs, or is this just extrapolated from a general knowledge of material properties? I ask because I design/build springs for a living, and your info is exactly right. @OP, springs are designed with a No Permanent Set (NPS) length, which would be called out on a print as the length at which no additional set will be taken if it hits that length in service. In this case, the NPS length would be at or beyond the length that the spring is pulled to when the wiper is in the up position. – MooseLucifer Feb 16 at 22:50

I live in Canada where we got often snow storm or freezing rain during winter, I never lift my wipers blades. It's clearly unnecessary for a snow storm, as you remove the snow from your car prior of activate your wipers.

But I can see my neighbors lifting theirs when freezing rain is forecasted, some even put cardboard on the windshield to avoid scraping the ice. When it's happen, I start the car, start scrapping the windows and the heat will melt ice around the wipers (some cars have windshield wiper defrosters). I make sure that my wipers blade are clean of any ice and I'm set to go.

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When one lives in places where it snows, even occasionally, they quickly learn to lift the wipers. If you go to a ski resort when the inclement weather is expected, you would see half of the vehicles with wipers pulled up. The other half are either do not have wipers that can be fixed up (in that case one is still advised to separate them from the glass somehow), or they are going to regret it when temperatures hit below freezing after the wet snowfall.

In my experience, doing so never had any noticeable negative implication on the wiper arm spring. In fact, I have not seen any car, new or old, whose wiping performance suffered when the new wipers were attached.

In case the wipers do get frozen to the windscreen, one must take extreme care not to tear them off as it could be done really easily, especially when the rubber is more brittle from the cold. The best solution sometimes is to pour warm water on them, if available. And if your car is covered in snow or ice, always check the wipers by hand as you clean it off, before using the wiper motor.

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This is simply false. I used to live in Rochester, NY and never saw a single person do this until I moved to Virginia. – defines Jan 24 '15 at 14:36
North Dakota and MN most of my life... We know snow and cold weather. It's not rare to see people doing this, but it's not the majority and I've never felt the need to do it myself. Occasionally freezing rain has caused the wipers to freeze to the windshield, but if you're adept with a scraper you can break the ice without damaging the rubber wiperblade. I'd suspect the majority of people doing this are "not from around here" and bringing habits from warmer climates; but I've no way to verify that. – bobpaul Feb 10 '15 at 22:50

I'm against lifting them. I've never had any trouble (nor caused any damage) breaking one loose with a scraper. I have, however, had a wiper arm break when it snapped back against the windshield (such as can happen with the wind that normally accompanies Winter storms).

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+1, I've seen the windshield getting a crack when wiper fell back on cold glass currently being heated from interior. – Imre Oct 10 '14 at 13:03

It seems ridiculous to me, if your car is parked outside you still have to clean the wipers, put the heater and defroster on and clear your car of snow before you drive it. In some states you must clear the top of the car before driving it so that the snow doesn't blind the driver behind you as it slides off. Having the wipers up makes them more vulnerable to the elements too, especially if it is a heavy wet snow like we get in the East. If you have them up in a public place it attracts attention and it could very well be the negative kind. I think that people see others doing it and just feel that they should too for no apparent reason (the sheep theory) Well, there you have my opinion.

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Welcome to the site ... here we are looking for more facts than opinions. Please try to back up opinion with facts and reference if you have them. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 22 '14 at 0:15
It seems ridiculous to me - opinion; "if your car is parked... before you drive it" - facts; "In some it slides off" - fact "Having the wipers...get in the East" - fact "If you have them...the negative kind" - fact "I think that people... (the sheep theory)" - opinion "Well, there you have my opinion" - fact @Paulster2, don't confuse fact vs opinion with fact vs fiction. There's actually very little opinion in his comment, though the facts he presented are not cited in any way and may very well be false. But you asked him to back up opinion with facts and he already did... – bobpaul Feb 10 '15 at 22:59

There are federal safety standards for defrosting, With that being said if you use your cars defroster, your better off that way. I am against lifting also. It also could cause snow and ice to become lodged under your wiper arm causing you troubles down the road. With that being said a fair amount of newer vehicles have heated wiper park areas these days, with that you would be defeating the heated wiper park area.

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You can add your personal info to your profile page - no need to put it in your answers. – Rory Alsop Sep 15 '13 at 17:01

I would not recommend to pull them away from your windshield during a storm if there is a risk that it will melt and then freeze later (for example if you just drove your car or if the temperature is just below the freezing point but you are expecting sun later).

Doing so may make the snow melt, go in the arm mechanism/spring and freeze there, making it hard to put back in place and reduce the efficiency of the spring if you take the road again, which will have the unfortunate effect of reducing the contact between the blades and the windshield.

The same effect can happen and freeze the blades to the windshield if you leave them in place, so there is no win-win. If a big storm is coming, you can always put cardboard or plastic bags to prevent the snow from falling there and remove them before taking the road.

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Up works great for me, the only fear I have is someone vandalizing them from the attention it brings having them up. It makes it easier for me to scrape the window quickly to get on the road faster. It doesn't hurt the wipers having them up. It does, however, keep me from being impatient and ripping them up when frozen to scrape under them.

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I live in NH it snows a lot here a lot of the winter season... I don't pull my wipers back, BC I fear rust from all the salt and crud from the roads... I do however, place newspapers between wipers ams windshield and all over windshield to easily remove snow and avoid ice directly to my windshield.

Hope this answer helps!

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As far as damaging the springs by raising the wipers, I think your all wrong. Your not stretching the spring beyond its limit, or you would ruin it the first time you changed blades. It would take years of leaving them up before you would even notice the slightest difference in the pressure of the blade against the windshield,Even when the blades are down, the springs are stretched.maybe we should jack up our vehicles every time we park to take the pressure off the suspension springs,or leave our garage doors open all the time so we don't stretch their springs.springs are made to handle this. Thank you

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Lifting wiper blades off the windshield is not smart. It does nothing for you. As for the spring thing, well it is like a pen spring, stretch it and it does ont go back to normal, just like car wiper springs. park car turn wipers off, start car warm it up and clean whichsheild and you will never have a problem.

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Many countries do not allow you to "warm" your vehicle up (UK being one of them, I believe). Much of what you posted is opinion based. Read the answer by mac to understand what I mean. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 23 '13 at 15:03

The original spring in the wiper arm is already stretched to the limit of elasticity or the steel in order to apply a pressure on the wiper.By liftingthe wiper arm, you have to over stretch this inner spring which will weaken it.It will therefore put a reduced pressure on the blade and give a bad cleaning of the windshield.

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"The original spring in the wiper arm is already stretched to the limit of elasticity or the steel in order to apply a pressure on the wiper." That's an extraordinary statement. Prove it. While you try, I will disprove it. Measure the pressure under the wiper with an electronic postal scale. Lift the wiper to the up position and bring it back down 10 times. Measure it again. Same pressure? The spring was not taken past its limit of elasticity. – kmarsh Feb 17 at 21:33

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