What's Wrong With the Wipers?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 07, 2015

Dear Car Talk:

I have a 1996 Chevy Caprice Classic. The windshield wipers work fine on the intermittent and low speeds. But when I turn the wipers on high, they sink to the bottom of the windshield and only go up and down about 4 inches. Also, when I turn the wipers off, they are supposed to sink under the edge of the hood, but the wipers stop in whatever position they are in. I was wondering if the wiper motor has gone bad or if it could be a solenoid or other electrical component that has gone bad. Please help diagnose my wipers.

-- Brad

What's the matter, Brad? Getting hard to squint through that 4-inch opening at the bottom of the windshield while driving in pouring rain?

You need a wiper motor, buddy. All of the circuitry that controls the travel of the wiper arms, including when they "park" down in the windshield cowl, is packed inside that motor housing. Replace the motor, and your wipers should once again smear the entire windshield at high speed, just like they used to.

You can buy a new one for less than $100. Or you probably can find one in a junkyard for $20. Just be careful that the junk man doesn't try to capture this car while you're out back shopping.

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