Bad Windshield Wiper Motor: How to Recognize and Repair

Windshield wipers are very common to have as an accessory, but they are an important part. Without them, you won’t be able to drive in the rain and at any time when the visibility is not clear. As the wipers are used to clean the windshield, they make the driving possible when the weather is bad. Thus, if your wipers are not working or if there is a bad windshield wiper motor, you should see for the following signs and make the repair or replacement ASAP.

Bad Windshield Wiper Motor: The List of Signs to Identify

When you know the signs of any bad component, it becomes easier to understand the root cause of the problem and treat it further.

The Wipers Don’t Move At All

The wiper motor is the power source from where the wipers get their energy to swing. If the wipers do not move at all, this means the bad windshield wiper motor is responsible. In some cases, the motor can be repaired or replaced if the former doesn’t come as the solution. In this case, either you can deal with the motor and performs some DIY steps or take your car to a repairer.

Bad windshield wiper motor
Wiper stopping in between is a sign of bad relay (Photo Source: frwindshields)

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The Wipers are Slower than Usual

This is an easier case to resolve, and in this, the wipers feel stuck, or they move slowly. You can check the moving parts of the wiper formation and see for any dust and debris. Clean the area with a cloth and check if it works fine. If you can’t figure out what is wrong, the repairer is the ultimate solution. Taking home some Maintenance Tips from the repairer is a wise idea by the way.

The Wipers Don’t Respond to Speed

When you encounter that no matter which speed you put the windshield wiper on, it always operates the same, chances are intermittent relay has gone bad. When the wipers are functioning, it means there is no problem with the motor but the relay that determines the speed.

In this case, the replacement would happen for the relay that you can confirm by taking your car to the repairer.

If the Wipers Stop In Between

This means the wipers move, but they fail to come to their resting point, and instead, they rest in between.  If the wipers stop in the way, this can be a case of bad arms. Here you need to work on the alignment because everything else is working fine. You may need to replace the arms or make the alignment right with the help of a professional.

Bad windshield wiper motor
Bad wiper arms alignment leads to improper movement (Photo Source: marcusproductions)


In the case of lousy windshield wipers, the reasons can be many such as a bad motor, relay, or broken arms.  Sometimes, it is easy to DIY the repair, especially if it is because of the dust and debris. However, when it is about replacing the components, you should consider taking it to a professional car repairer unless you are okay with replacing the parts yourself.

Generally, the replacement of the bad windshield wiper motor charges you from $250 to $450 which is $70 to $100 for a relay.