Windshield Wiper Not Touching Glass Top 8 Causes and DIY Fix

A car’s windshield wiper is crucial for safety. A dirty or smeared windshield impairs visibility and increases the risk of accidents, with 46% of weather-related crashes happening during rainfall (averaging 556,151 accidents). According to the Federal Highway Administration, a driver’s behavior can be affected by precipitation type, length, and rate. When your windshield wiper isn’t making proper contact with the glass, it exacerbates these risks.

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In this guide, we’ll explore the top 8 causes behind the “Windshield Wiper Not Touching Glass” issue and provide DIY fixes to ensure your wipers work seamlessly. Let’s dive into this essential knowledge to keep your view through the windshield crystal clear, rain or shine!

Causes of Windshield Wiper Not Touching Glass Issue

The issue of windshield wiper blades not touching glass can be caused by many factors. Below are the top eight reasons for this problem and how to fix the windshield wiper.

CausesFixesEstimated Cost (Parts and Labor in USD)
1. Worn-Out Rubber StripReplace the rubber strip, which is an inexpensive part, available at automotive parts stores. Labor costs are minimal.$10 – $20
2. Wrong Wiper BladesReplace incorrect blades with the correct ones by removing and installing them properly. Labor costs minimal.$15 – $30
3. Bad Spring in the Wiper ArmReplace the spring or dampers in the wiper arm; professional mechanic assistance is recommended.$50 – $100
4. Loose Bolts or Poorly Attached ArmReplace incorrect blades with the correct ones by removing and installing them properly. Labor costs are minimal.$10 – $20
5. Windshield Replacement CurvatureConsult the installer if the windshield doesn’t match the car’s curvature; reinstall if necessary.Varies (Professional Service)
6. Cold WeatherUse specialized winter wiper blades designed for low temperatures or warm up the car before using wipers.$15 – $30
7. Bent Wiper ArmTighten the bolts holding the wiper arm using a wrench or socket set to secure it properly. Labor costs are minimal.$20 – $50
8. Worn Out WindshieldConsult a professional technician to assess whether windshield replacement is required for optimal function.Varies (Professional Service)

Please note that the estimated costs provided here are approximate and can vary depending on various factors such as the specific vehicle, geographical location, and labor rates at your chosen service provider.

1. Worn-Out Rubber Strip

The most common cause is wearing out of the rubber strip of the wiper blade. The rubber strip is used to attach the blade to the arm at the base of each wiper. It keeps the blades in place while they are working. Once that covering wears out, it will have poor contact with your windshield, which will eliminate the wiping ability of your wiper blades.

How to fix:

To fix this issue, you will need to replace the rubber strip. Luckily it is a cheap part ($10 to $20) and can be purchased at most automotive parts stores. There are no special tools required for this procedure either. Although the repair may require you to remove some panels of your car’s bodywork to access the wiper arm area directly.

Here’s a video tutorial from 4DIYers on how to replace the windshield wiper refills on your vehicle:

2. Wrong Wiper Blades

Another common cause of the windshield wiper not touching glass is using incorrect blades for your car. There are many types and sizes of wiper blades to choose from, so if you install a blade that is not properly matched with your existing ones, it will not be able to wipe properly either. 

You should compare all the features of the blades before buying them and make sure that you are getting the right ones for your car.

How to fix:

To fix this problem, you may need to remove the wiper arms. Then replace them with the correct blades. This is a fairly easy process and will only cost around $15 to $30. Usually, it requires some screws or bolts to take off the arm. The new part should have come with an installation guide that will show you how to put it on your car correctly.

3. Bad Spring in the Wiper Arm

Bad Spring in the Wiper Arm

Worn-out wiper blades can be the result of bad springs in the arm. Also, when you replaced the wiper, you may have inadvertently damaged or released the spring. The spring is what allows you to use a manual adjustment lever on your wiper arm to move your blade up and down. 

If there is too much tension on this spring, it will not allow the blade to move freely. This can also result in poor contact between the rubber of the blade and your windshield, causing similar issues to those discussed above.

How to fix:

To resolve this issue, replace the spring or dampers by unscrewing the adjustable arm and disassembling both parts to access them. A professional mechanic can handle this adjustment, or you can replace them yourself if you’re confident in car component disassembly. For this, expect to pay around $50 to $100 including parts and labor.

4. Loose Bolts or Poorly Attached Wiper Arm

Another cause of this issue is a poorly attached wiper arm to the body of your car. Over time, your car’s wiper arm can get worn out and become loose. If the bolts holding the wiper arm in place are too loose or too tight, the wiper blade may not make full contact with the windshield. This will cause it to malfunction and not perform as it should.

You will know that this is your problem if you notice the arm floating around freely, making noise, or even wobbling as it moves.

How to fix:

If this happens, how to fix the windshield wiper? You simply need to tighten the bolts on your wiper arms using a wrench or socket set. Be sure that they are tight enough so that everything is in good working order again.

5. Windshield Replacement Curvature

Did you have your windshield replaced before? If you have tried replacing your wiper blades and still have the issue of the windshield wiper not touching the glass, then the windshield curvature may be a factor.

When your windshield is installed, it is supposed to fit with the curvature of your car’s body so that when you stare straight ahead, you are looking at the middle of the glass. If it does not have this curve and matches up perfectly with the hood so that there is no gap between them, then it is not supposed to be that way.

How to fix:

In this case, you may need to take the car back to where you had it installed and have them fix whatever is wrong with it. Ideally, they will re-install a new windshield for your issue to go away completely at its source.

6. Cold Weather

In cold weather conditions, the rubber components of windshield wiper blades tend to stiffen, potentially causing them to lose contact with the glass surface, especially in instances where the wipers might be experiencing the issue of not touching the windshield properly. This stiffness can result in reduced visibility and hinder the effective removal of snow, ice, or precipitation.

How to fix:

To address this concern, it is advisable to consider using specialized winter wiper blades, specifically designed to withstand low temperatures and maintain their flexibility, thus preventing the problem of the wipers not making proper contact with the windshield.

Additionally, another practical approach to mitigate this issue involves warming up the car before activating the wipers, as this can help soften the rubber, enabling it to maintain better contact with the windshield, ensuring safer and more efficient driving in cold and wintry conditions.

7. Bent Wiper Arm

When dealing with a bent wiper arm, a situation where the wiper arm is not in its proper alignment, it can lead to an issue where it fails to apply sufficient pressure to the wiper blade, thus preventing it from maintaining proper contact with the windshield.

How to fix:

In such cases, the remedy involves rectifying the bent wiper arm, either by gently straightening it using pliers if you have the necessary skills and tools, or alternatively, it’s advisable to seek assistance from a qualified technician to assess and address the problem professionally for around $20 to $50..

This way, ensuring that the wiper arm is correctly aligned allows it to exert the appropriate pressure on the wiper blade, thereby ensuring effective contact with the windshield and optimal performance in clearing debris, rain, or snow for safer driving conditions.

Read more: When to Repair and When to Replace Windshield Wipers?

8. Worn out Windshield

When confronted with a worn-out windshield or one that bears cracks and scratches, a common issue arises where the wiper blades struggle to establish full and effective contact with the glass surface.

How to fix:

Under such circumstances, the solution often involves considering the replacement of the windshield itself. You may need the expertise of a professional technician or auto glass specialist to assess the condition of the windshield and determine whether replacement is indeed necessary to restore the wiper blades’ ability to function effectively and maintain a clear and unobstructed view while driving.

Another common problem with windshield wipers is when the washer fluid won’t spray.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions related to “How to fix the windshield wiper?”

Why is my rear windshield wiper not touching the glass?

The rear and front windshield wipers are usually controlled separately. If it’s the rear one, check that the windshield wiper motor is still good. If it works just ok but not enough then most probably worn-out blade can cause problems for another wiper too.

My wiper arm does not have enough pressure

There could be several reasons for this. First, try to determine if the problem is with the wiper blades or arm. Maybe you have installed a new blade but it’s not touching glass properly and doesn’t leave a streak-free path after wiping it. 

It can also be that there is something wrong with your wiper arm; it may be bent or the spring which allows you to move it up and down may be damaged.

Why is my windshield wiper missing the middle spot?

You can try to bend or straighten the wiper arms. This is a cheap and simple fix that can make your wiper blades touch the glass evenly. This is also applicable if your wiper is missing the end spot on your glass.

Why do my windshield wipers leave haze?

This is an unfortunate side effect of the rain-repellent solution on your windshield. Because they are hydrophobic, they leave a residue after wiping, which is referred to as haze. This is something that happens when you are cleaning or washing the windshield with water and chemicals. 

Don’t worry, there’s an easy fix for this problem. To avoid this, you should use only plain water and microfiber cloths to wipe your windshield clean. Be sure that you don’t use anything else when washing your windshield. If it still leaves a haze after, then see if it’s caused by too much detergent on the clean sponge or wash non-water-based cleaning products.

Read more:

Learn how to replace your wiper blades as part of the 10 Basic Car Repair and Maintenance that every driver should know.

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