Should You Keep Your Windshield Wipers Up During the Winter?

Windshield Wipers in winter

The winter is an exciting time for many—some days, you’ll go to sleep to find the sun beaming down your window the next morning. Other days, you’ll wake up to find your vehicle parked outside smothered by snowfall. Many mechanics suggested keeping your windshield wipers up to avoid them being buried when this happens, but can that cause more bad than good? Let’s find out.

The Case FOR Leaving Your Windshield Wipers Up in Snow

Some blade manufacturers, car dealers, and many drivers advocate lifting the blades in snowstorms. Keeping them up makes it easier to clear off snow and ice from your windshield without causing any damage to your wipers. This can also reduce the risk of damage to the wiper motor. Leaving wipers on when you turn the engine off isn’t a good idea in winter. If you start the engine and they’re frozen to the windshield, you can strain and damage the motor that drives the wipers.

Outside of snowfall, temperatures drop drastically during the winter, which can freeze your wipers to your windshield. To save both time and money on a replacement pair, keeping them up will ensure your wipers are safe.

The Case AGAINST Leaving Your Windshield Wipers Up in Snow

Many drivers in colder regions think it’s unnecessary to lift your windshield wipers in snow. Although wipers won’t get stuck to your windshield, they can get utterly iced up-and to be even more challenging to de-ice. If you live in the midwest, like windy-city Chicago, then you run the risk of having your wipers break from falling snow or debris in storms. If too much pressure is applied and they suddenly get knocked down, they can chip or crack your windshield.

Plus, if you lift the blades a bit too much, you can overstress and damage the springs that help pressure the blades to keep them in place against the windshield.

The Verdict

Leaving your wiper blades down might be the best route to take this winter. Many modern cars have auto start so you can get defrosting without even getting cold. De-icer will help free the wipers from the windshield should they remain stuck. You also have other options that are preferable to leaving the blades up.

Overall, I suggest leaving them down. The extra effort and time de-icing wipers that are frozen to the windshield are far outweighed by the potential costs of damage to the wipers or windshield. Plus, there are better ways to protect both wipers and windshield.”

Better Ways of Protecting Your Wiper Blades and Windshield

A minor investment in a windshield cover, or a cover for the whole car, can mean a lot of saved time on frosty mornings. We find the ones lined with magnets are practical. The cover prevents the windshield and wipers from freezing in most cases and makes it easier to clear snow off.

Even without windshield covers, you can cover the blades if you don’t want to deal with them getting frozen. You can buy special covers, or you can even use socks! Make sure you have enough de-icer and a rubber ice scraper in the car, as well as a pair of warm gloves! For the full inventory of what you need in a car emergency kit, check out Endurance’s guide.

Another tip for the winter is to add de-icer to your windshield washer liquid, but be sure you free the blades from the windshield first if they’re frozen so you don’t harm the motor.

Finally, consider investing in some quality winter-grade wipers. With every EnduranceAdvantage  plan, you’ll be covered up to $20 towards the replacement of one set of front windshield wiper blades, in addition to Endurance’s breakdown protection. From oil and filter changes to brake pad and wiper blade replacements, plus so much more—their newest protection plan provides maintenance coverage up to $3,500 per year.

Save Thousands on Auto Repairs

Whether it’s help dealing with the elements or rescue in the event of an emergency breakdown, having an extended warranty can help save you thousands in car repair costs. When you take out an Endurance car warranty, you can be sure you’re getting the best cover out there. Coverage plans are available to suit a range of needs and budgets, and with every plan, you get round-the-clock roadside assistance and trip interruption costs. So, if your car fails you when on a trip, you know we’ll have you covered. Their team will even arrange a substitute vehicle while your car’s being repaired. Any certified mechanic accepts all these great benefits. Request a free, no-obligation quote to save today.

Frequently Asked Questions: Windshield Wipers Maintenance

Is it bad to leave your windshield wipers up? 

Leaving your wipers up in snowy conditions is something a lot of people do. But it does leave you open to risks: they can get covered in ice, the springs can get stretched, worsening performance, they can get damaged by strong winds, falling snow or branches, or even vandals, and they can fall suddenly on the windshield and cause cracks. It’s open to debate, but we’d recommend leaving your wipers down.

When should you leave your windshield wipers up?

Some people prefer to leave their wipers up if snow is expected as they think it will make the snow easier to clear and prevent the wipers from freezing to the windshield.

However, there are downsides to consider, including the risk of chips, cracks, and damaged wiper arms.

Can leaving your windshield wipers on drain your battery? 

Leaving your wipers on when you turn the engine off shouldn’t drain your car battery unless you’re leaving the key in the start position.

It’s a bad idea anyway, though, because when you start the engine, your wipers will be engaged right away, which could damage the wiper motor if the blades are stuck to the windshield.

What should you do if your blades get frozen to the windshield?

Brush any snow or debris off. Then spray de-icer on the affected areas. Leave to work and then use a rubber ice scraper to release the blades. Using de-icer in the windshield washer fluid can help to clear the last of the frost on the blades and windshield.

Can you use hot water to clear ice from the windshield and wipers?

It’s a bad idea to use hot water to clear ice from your windshield, as the sudden temperature shock could shatter the glass.

A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is often referred to as an “auto warranty” or an “extended car warranty,” but it is not a warranty. A VSC does, however, provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s car warranty expires. A VSC is a contract between you and a VSC provider or administrator that states what is a covered repair and what is not. Not all vehicles qualify for coverage; Endurance does not offer VSCs in California.