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Here's What You Should Do If Your Windscreen Wipers Stop Working

Learn about the main reasons why your windscreen wiper blades may not be working properly, and what to do if it happens en-route.

    • There are a number of reasons why your windscreen wipers may suddenly stop working. This could be a blown fuse, a damaged motor, ice-related issues, and more.
    • If this happens on the road, it’s important to remain calm and act as soon as possible. You’ll need to maintain control of your vehicle and find a suitable place to stop.
    • Once you have stopped, you can inspect your windscreen wipers for any damage, and contact a repair garage if you need an urgent replacement.

Your windscreen wiper blades are important. They are the reason you can drive safely in conditions like rain and snow. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to see clearly.

But what if they stop working all of a sudden? It’s one of the many unwelcome ‘what ifs’ of driving, though it’s important you know what to do.

Read on to learn some of the main reasons your windscreen wipers may not be working properly, and what to do if it happens mid-journey.

Why do windscreen wiper blades stop working?

Before we go into why windscreen wipers stop working, it may be useful to understand how they work normally.

The system is made up of several key components that work together to make your wipers function. The power comes from a fuse which is wired to the wiper motor and the switch.

When you operate this switch, the motor will rotate, helping a series of linked arms to create the back-and-forth motion using pivot points.

If your windscreen wiper blades stop working suddenly, it could be down to a few different issues such as:

A blown fuse

If the wiper motor which turns the arms becomes overloaded, the fuse will intentionally blow to protect the motor from further damage.

This could cause your windscreen wiper blades to stop working, and you will need to replace the fuse. These are simple and inexpensive to replace, though you may need the help of a trained technician.

A damaged motor

If the motor that operates your wiper blades becomes damaged, this could make them stop working altogether. You will need to get the motor replaced professionally by a qualified technician.

Ice and snow

This is a common reason for windscreen wipers to stop working. When a build-up of snow and ice sits on top of your windscreen wipers, it can be too heavy for them to cut through.

This is why in the winter you may notice your windscreen wipers won’t operate when flicking the switch if they are covered in snow and ice. It’s also not recommended to attempt this as it could severely damage your wipers.

By fully de-icing your windscreen using a scraper and de-icer, you should be able to get your windscreen wipers working. If not, there may be an electrical problem that needs solving.

Loose pivot points

Remember these? Pivot points help to create the back-and-forth motion, allowing your windscreen wipers to move across the screen.

If one of these becomes loose or damaged it could affect the wider system causing your blades to work less effectively.

Wear and tear

Unfortunately, windscreen wiper blades are one of the fastest-wearing parts of a car. The rubber blade can wear down over time due to extreme weather conditions and frequent use. This means they need to be replaced every 12 months on average.

Been a while since you last replaced your windscreen wipers? If they suddenly stop working, then this should come as no surprise. It’s time to order a set of new, high-quality wipers to replace them with.

At Windscreen Wipers UK, we sell a wide range of premium wipers from top, trusted brands like BOSCH and MICHELIN. With competitive prices and great savings available, you can buy and fit your new wipers for less!

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Now we know about the main causes of defective windscreen wiper blades. But what should you do if they stop working during your journey? Here are our top tips:

1. Don’t panic

There’s a reason why it’s the first thing you should do in many driving situations. If you panic, you risk losing control of your vehicle and getting into an accident.

So if your windscreen wipers suddenly stop working and you’re driving in a heavy downpour, try to remain calm and focus on driving safely.

2. Keep your distance

Drop back from the vehicle in front if your visibility becomes restricted without your windscreen wipers. You’ll also want to lower your speed and take your time – don’t worry about impatient drivers behind you.

3. Use your senses

Like driving in fog, driving in a heavy downpour with no windscreen wipers may require you to rely on other senses.

Try to be extra observant and make full use of all your mirrors. Keep the radio turned down low so you can concentrate and reassure any passengers you are carrying.

4. Pull over

The sooner you can pull over in a safe place, the better. Once you’ve found a safe place to stop, you can either wait for the rain to ease off if possible or call for help if it’s not safe to continue.

5. Assess the issue

Once safely stopped, you’ll also have more time to figure out the cause of the problem. Inspect your windscreen wiper blades for any signs of visible damage and if confident, remove them.

You can then inspect the arm and mechanism for any damage. If you still can’t spot the cause, make a visit to your local garage and ask a technician to inspect it.

Following these tips will help you to stay safe on the road if your wipers stop working unexpectedly, and to make sure you don’t pose a risk to others.

FAQs about windscreen wipers not working

What causes intermittent wipers to stop working?

There are several issues that could cause intermittent wipers to stop working. This could be down to:

    • A blown fuse
    • A damaged motor
    • Wear and tear
    • A build-up of snow and ice

If they stop halfway across the windscreen, this could be an issue with the control box. If you are confident, check the wiring from the switch and control box, or seek help from a technician.

Can you drive with wipers not working?

If the rain is light and looks like it could soon stop, it may be possible to finish your journey. However, driving in heavy rain without your wipers working will not be possible. The rain will build up fast on your windscreen and your visibility will be seriously compromised.

Instead, pull over in a safe place and wait until it stops, or call someone for help.


At Windscreen Wipers UK, we’re here for all your wiper needs. We offer wipers from leading brands, bringing you quality for less. Shop windscreen wiper blades from top manufacturers including BOSCHMICHELINLucasValeo and more.

With free UK delivery and a range of quick delivery options available, you can the wipers you need when you need them. Not to mention enjoying some great savings! Save 5% when you buy two or more wipers, and 10% when you buy three or more. As for fitting, we can help with that too! Our helpful fitting guide videos will show you how to fit your new windscreen wiper blades in no time. Still stuck?

Get in touch with our friendly customer service team and we’ll help you get sorted!

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