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When you live in a cold climate, snowy weather often creates additional work for car owners. You may have to shovel your driveway, put chains on your tires or dig out your car after an especially large snowfall.
However, there’s one winter chore that you should skip the next time there is ice and snow in the forecast: putting your vehicle’s windshield wipers straight up into the air.
Despite the fact that many people continue to do this, some experts caution against it. Here’s what you need to know the next time you park your car outdoors before a big snowstorm.
Pros And Cons Of Putting Windshield Wipers Up In Snowy Weather
The logic behind putting your windshield wipers up in the air during snowy weather stems from yet another wintertime task: having to scrape ice and snow off of your car’s windshield. By taking the windshield wipers off of the glass and standing them straight up into the air, some people believe that this helps prevent the wipers from sticking to the windshield, making it easier to scrape their windshield.
In the event that you left the wipers turned on, standing them in the air also prevents the windshield wiper motor from burning out in an attempt to push through snow and ice. Plus, if you park on the street and yours is the only car on the block with its windshield wipers up, it can make it easier to identify your car when snow has covered the rest of it.
However, according to experts, these potential benefits come at the risk of damaging the wipers. When wipers are standing up in the air, the plastic gears could be weakened or damaged by forceful wind gusts, and the rubber blade can even be blown off.
But the wipers are not the only thing that could be damaged from this practice. Because cold weather can make glass more delicate, a strong wind gust that knocks a windshield wiper back down quickly could crack or shatter the windshield with relatively small force.
What To Do Instead Of Putting Windshield Wipers Up
As an alternative to standing your windshield wipers up in the winter, some experts recommend to instead cover the entire windshield with a blanket, leaving the windshield wipers down. You can even find fabric covers made specifically for this purpose on Amazon, but, in a pinch, a plastic tarp or piece of cardboard weighed down with something heavy will also work.
The cover will prevent snow and ice from building up on your windshield, so you won’t have to put in the elbow grease to clean it after a snowfall. Plus, with no snow on the windshield, the wipers shouldn’t get stuck and you don’t have to risk wind damage to them or your windshield by leaving them up in the air.
Are you team up or team down when it comes to windshield wipers in the winter? For more wintertime car maintenance tips, read why you shouldn’t warm up your engine in cold weather and how to drive safely in a blizzard.