If you use your windshield wipers when your windshield is mostly dry, are you damaging them at all?

My understanding has been that using your wipers on a dry windshield increases the amount of friction the motor has to work against, and therefore wears it out quicker as well as causing potential damage to the rubber blades. Is this true? If so, how much do you have to overwork the motor before it goes kaput?

1 Answer 1


This has always been a pet peeve of mine. They make cars smart but they can't make the washer squirt before the wipers turn on.The primary concern with wiping dry windows is abrasion. as you drive or simply being parked dirt and grit accumulates on the glass. Some of it possibly glued in place by tree sap. As the dry wiper moves across the glass it is dragging the grit with it. This causes the wiper rubber to wear and scratch the glass.

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    To be honest having the wiper exposed to the elements, like hot summer, dry winter, sunlight, freezing temperature, etc., would cause more damage than the few times you use them dry but before the fluids hit the windshield.
    – Nelson
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 0:58
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    @Nelson ... I think what mikes is really getting at is this is additional wear which could be prevented if the washer was to squirt before the wiper actually started moving. You have a valid point that these other issues cause wear as well. Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 11:18
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    Well, I noticed that if I press the wiper fluid function with a light press, I can get the liquid to come out without the wipers engaging. I do that couple times to "soak" the grime before pressing the lever all the way to engage the wipers.
    – Nelson
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 19:26
  • I moved from a hot southern state to the middle of the country. I went from needing to replace the wipers every year or two ... to ... well I haven't needed to replace them since I moved.
    – Stainsor
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 3:23

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