Your windshield wipers work tirelessly to make sure you can see where it is you’re going. They work through rain, snow, and sleet. They are an essential auto part of every car and truck, because if you can’t see, you can’t drive. But have you ever wondered how they work? Below, you’ll learn what makes your windshield wipers move back and forth to help you see the road ahead!
Your windshield wipers are powered by a tiny electric motor. That motor generates power which accelerates the blades of your windshield wiper back and forth. Using what is called a “worm gear” the force from the motor is amplified and the windshield wipers are propelled to the speed of your choice, determined by the setting on the knob next to your steering wheel. This knob triggers an electrical circuit which puts the wipers into motion.
The Wiper Blades
The wiper blades have long rubber strips which act like squeegees to clear away debris, dirt, and precipitation from the glass of your windshield. However, after some time, these rubber strips can get worn down, cracked, or otherwise broken. During the winter, ice and snow buildup on the blade may also affect its use. This can cause streakiness when the wiper blade clears the windshield, hindering the driver’s vision. Wear and tear on your windshield wiper’s blade is cause for regular replacement. The good news is this is a relatively inexpensive replacement and can be done easily by any vehicle owner.
As mentioned above, your windshield wipers are controlled by a knob on the inside of your vehicle. Different vehicles have unique placements for this knob—which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Perhaps most commonly, this knob is found on a lever that juts out from behind the steering wheel. Settings can range in speed from low to high, including settings that take momentary lapses between wipes (often called “delay”). Nearly all modern vehicles also have a control which sprays windshield wiper fluid onto your car’s windshield to help clear dirt and grime off of the glass. Newer models even have rain-sensing technology which wipes raindrops off of your windshield as soon as they hit.