I've read multiple articles about diagnosing the cause of faulty wipers but I can't find any that seem to describe the symptoms I'm seeing. Here's what I am experiencing:

  • At high speed: the wipers start easily and look to be running at the expected speed. When I stop them they struggle to return to the park position but just manage it.
  • At low speeds and intermittent: the wipers struggle to start moving if it all. A spray of screen wash will typically reduce the friction enough to get them started but it's not consistent and they are jittery. When stopping the wipers they won't return to the park position, they just get stuck at the point I switched them off.

I can't tell if this is a motor issue or switch/relay issue. A lot of articles just talk about the wipers only running at high speed, however here I am experiencing not enough torque in the motor at the lower wiper speeds.

  • 1
    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! I don't know for sure, but would put money on it being the motor. If a relay, it wouldn't try at all (whether sometimes or all the time). It sounds as though the motor is going out (probable) or the linkages are binding (doubtful). Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 3:55
  • Thanks @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2. I was leaning towards a motor issue also but I don't have enough technical experience to determine that definitively, it is just a hunch :). Thanks for the info, I've gone ahead and ordered an aftermarket replacement motor. Let's see how that works out, I'll post an update once I install it.
    – Pero P.
    Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 14:03
  • Before you replace the motor, make sure you check your linkages for proper and easy movement. Once the main linkage is off of the motor, you should be able to swipe the wipers by hand and see how tough they are to move. Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 15:34
  • Linkages were good, motor replaced and all in working order now! Thanks.
    – Pero P.
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


This is exactly how a motor behaves as it is failing. The fact that the behavior is different depending on the motor speed tells that, the motor is not able to supply enough torque with the current that it is getting.

Though it is surprising having a motor fail on windshield wipers. Maybe you could post a picture of the old motor once you replace it -- so we can analyse what might have caused it to fail.

  • A multimeter and a growler may enable us to identify the fault but a picture - unlikely.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 23:10
  • Judging by the description, most likely the coil inside the motor is shorting -- if that is indeed the case then a picture would definitely show what caused it to short. What is a growler?
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 29, 2020 at 23:57

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