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I recently started having this issue on a 2002 Chevrolet Impala, where the wipers get stuck in an upright position after wiping and won't go into the parked position when turned off.

It appears to be a common problem especially on many GM vehicles. The frequently proposed answer is to bend a tab back into position near the wiper transmission: https://www.wikihow.com/Fix-Windshield-Wipers-Stuck-in-Upright-Position

However this tab did not appear bent in my case. In case it helps others, I decided to post this question, and the solution I found, in the answer below.

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There is a pawl in the wiper transmission that moves out to engage a tab when the wiper should go into the parked position. If this does not occur, the wipers get stuck in the upright position.

One possible reason is if the tab gets bent, but another is if the pawl gets seized due to rust or dirt. If the latter is the case, using penetrating oil on the pawl and its hinge and spring mechanism, then lubricating it, should fix the problem.

This is what the pawl looks like, in its retracted position (click image to enlarge): https://i.imgur.com/IqAJmHz.jpg

And here is how it should extend to catch the tab: enter image description here

Here's a video that shows the disassembly and the commonly proposed tab bending solution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFBLtlnkpuI

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Some of the drive gears have an inclined ramp to push open a switch so the wipers park in the correct position. If the ramp is too worn or broken then they will not park, also often the switch has been knocked or moved changing the parking position.

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  • Good to know. Which vehicles have those switches and ramps? How can they be repaired, or do they just need to be replaced?
    – adatum
    Oct 22 at 17:25

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