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Should You Put Your Windshield Wipers Up Before a Snowstorm?

Tech - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 1/18/2022

Car after a snow with the wipers up

It’s a common sight in winter to see rows of cars sitting there with their windshield wipers turned up. The idea behind this is to keep your wipers from freezing to your windshield, but is it actually a good idea? Today we’ll be taking a brief look at windshield wiper care. We’ll share some helpful tips on how to prevent your wiper blades from freezing in the winter and talk about how to find the right set of wiper blades when they need to be replaced.

Is It a Good Idea to Leave Windshield Wipers Up?

No. Your windshield wipers are held against the windshield by springs located in the wiper arm. When you place your wipers in an upright position, it stretches out this spring. That’s not a big deal if you do this for a few minutes while cleaning the windshield, but leaving them upright for hours on end can permanently stretch out the springs inside. Once that happens, your wipers won’t adhere to the windshield as tightly, making them less effective at removing rain and snow.

Leaving your wiper blades turned up can also potentially damage your windshield. If the spring is tight enough, it can cause the wiper to snap back against the windshield. If it does this hard enough it can actually crack the glass in your windshield.

How Do You Keep Windshield Wipers from Freezing?

One of the best ways to prevent your windshield wipers from freezing is to cover them up whenever you park outside. Try wrapping them in a cloth or slipping an old tube sock over the wiper arm. You can also use plastic bags, tarps or even plastic wrap.

Beyond that, there are a number of additional things you can do. Be sure to scrape off any snow or ice on your wipers prior to turning them on. You can also use a deicer on your windshield wiper blades or pick up some deicing windshield wiper fluid.

Does Leaving Windshield Wipers on Drain Your Battery?

This is a question that a lot of people have. The answer is no, leaving your windshield wipers on when the car is shut down will not drain your vehicle’s battery. Since the wiper blades won’t be moving, there’s no drain on your battery.

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Windshield Wiper Blades?

Ideally, you should replace your windshield wiper blades at least once a year. You’ll know it’s time to replace them when your wipers’ performance starts to suffer. Old wiper blades will cause streaking or smearing when you use them. It’s also a good idea to periodically inspect the wiper blades for signs of damage. If you notice cracks, tears or missing pieces along the rubber blade edge, or corrosion on the blade’s joints or claws, it’s time for a new set.

How Do You Find the Right Set of Wiper Blades for Your Car?

The best way to determine the correct wiper blade size is to check your vehicle’s owner manual. If that’s not available, you can use a tape measure to measure the length of the wiper blade along the rubber wiper edge. Then, round that number to the nearest inch. This will be the size wiper blade you need.

Batteries Plus Has Windshield Wiper Blades & Other Auto Essentials

Shop our selection of replacement windshield wiper blades in our Automotive Center. You’ll also find other winter vehicle essentials like jumper cables, battery chargers and flashlights for your vehicle emergency kit. Need help finding the right wipers for your car or truck? No problem. The associates at your neighborhood Batteries Plus location will be happy to help.

Our blog features plenty of articles to help you protect your car from the cold. Get information on "How to Prevent Winter Wear on Your Car Battery" or learn "6 Easy Steps To Jump Start Your Car."