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When Not to Leave Windshield Wipers Up During Winter

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Checking the windscreen wiper

Windshield wipers left to stand up on a parked car is an odd sight, but in many cases, it’s a beneficial move. Drivers who hate dislodging frozen wipers from the windshield may find leaving them up means less time spent standing out in the cold scraping a frozen windshield.

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But if your car is equipped with a remote starter system, it’s best to leave windshield wipers down, no matter the forecast.

“Cars, windshields and rear-view windows warm up faster and better than before. If you have a few minutes to let the engine run, any ice should be melted by the time you climb behind the wheel,” according to Family Handyman writer Lisa Meyers McClintick.

Although your remote starter system can help accelerate ice melting on your windshield, if you forgot to turn off your windshield wipers before you turned off the car, you’re looking at some trouble. “If you turned off the car before turning off the wipers, restarting a car can reactivate the wiper motor. If wipers are frozen in place, that motor could potentially burn out trying to move them,” warns McClintick.

Another reason to leave wipers down, whether your car can be remotely started or not, is to deter people from damaging or stealing them, she adds.

If you’re looking for a quick way to defrost your windshield, suggests mixing up a de-icer spray from common household ingredients — 2/3 rubbing alcohol and 1/3 water. Combine the liquids in a spray bottle and apply to the windshield. Ice and frost should dissipate immediately.

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Whether you are in the windshield wipers up camp or windshield wipers down camp, make sure to completely clear your windshield, windows, and exterior of snow and ice before getting on the road.