Should You Keep Your Windshield Wipers Lifted in a Winter Storm?


You see it every winter. Parking lots full of vehicles with their windshield wipers up. Your windshield wipers are an essential part of winter driving, nothing’s worse than a wiper blade breaking on a cold commute to work.

With each passing winter, more and more drivers are flipping up their wiper arms when the weatherman calls for freezing weather. The thought is simple; lifting the wiper blades from the windshield will prevent them from freezing to the glass during freezing weather conditions. It might seem simple, but it can cause some debate depending on who you ask.

The advantages of keeping your wiper blade arms upright makes some sense. Lifting the wipers makes it easier to scrape your windshield in the morning after a heavy snowfall or ice storm. It can also prevent your wiper blades from freezing to the windshield.

On the other hand, some may argue that keeping your wiper blades in an upright position may increase the wear and tear of your wiper arms by fatiguing the arm’s springs. Plus, some may think it looks downright silly to leave your wipers up, regardless of the weather.

The facts are clear. Leaving your wiper blades up will not cause damage to your wiper arms. Springs and the metal used for them are designed to handle the stress to being upright overnight. When upright, a spring will not reach its yield strength or dynamic range.

Most of your wiper’s wear on its rubber happens when you’re actually using your wipers. While keeping your blades lifted will cause some wear to the rubber, it’s fairly small.

It may look a little silly, but lifting you wiper blades during a winter storm can make your wiper blade last longer and will save you a lot of time when you’re cleaning off your vehicle in the morning. Several wiper manufacturers are offering their two-cents and advising people to keep their blades lifted during the winter.