Home News Windshield Wiper Won’t Turn Off: What Can You Do To Fix It?

Windshield Wiper Won’t Turn Off: What Can You Do To Fix It?

by Kelvin Yates

Do you have an issue where the windshield wiper won’t turn off, there can be several reasons why this is happening. A car in the modern day is a very complex vehicle and is made of several parts and components. This can be very difficult to be understood by a person especially a non-car person.

The windshield wipers can malfunction for several reasons. One of the most alarming and unexpected issues that can happen to the windshield wiper system is that it keeps on wiping. This can happen even when the switch is turned off. If your wipers refuse to quit, irrespective of the position of the wiper control switch can be caused because of several possibilities.

Windshield wipers are devices that are attached to the front of your car. Their main work is to clear debris and increase visibility. Windshield wipers not turning off can be very annoying. Not only would you look ridiculous but it also exhausts the battery in your car. Here are more details about the “windshield wiper won’t turn off” problem.

Windshield Wiper Won’t Turn Off – Introduction To The Problem

Windshield wipers are a device attached to the front windshield of every car. Their main aim is to remove rain, loose snow, and debris from the windshield. These wipers are one of the most important parts of any car. They keep the visual area of your car clean while you are driving.

It can be extremely annoying if your wipers do not stop working. Not only that but it would look absolutely ridiculous if you had the wipers on without any reason. It would also drain the battery of the car. The windshield wiper may also make a lot of noise with the constant moving and the constant friction might also cause some scratches on the windshield.

Windshield Wiper Won't Turn Off

When a windshield wiper system cannot shut off without stopping the vehicle all together can create a lot of problems for the owner. It creates an unusual problem that is both annoying and potentially harmful to the windshield wiper system. Allowing your car’s windshield wipers to run when there is no debris can be extremely distracting and irritating.

This potentially can increase the risk of having an accident with an individual’s main focus being on the windshield rather than on the road. In addition to that, allowing the wipers to run without any moisture on the glass creates friction and resistance. This will not only wear the motor down but tear the wiper blades or compromise other parts of the wiper system.

Common Problems Caused By Windshield Wipers Not Turning Off

A malfunctioned windshield wiper system might cause a number of problems that might damage certain parts of your vehicle. Not only can it be distracting and irritating but can increase the risk of having an accident. A constantly working windshield wiper can create friction and resistance. Here are some of the problems that can be caused.

1. Damage To The Windshield

If a vehicle’s windshield wiper won’t turn off, the wipers running without any moisture in the screen can cause several problems. The most evident is the damage to the windshield. Not only will this create a lot of noise, but also cause the windshield to have several scratches which might cause irritation while driving at night.

No moisture can cause a lot of friction between the wiper blade and the surface a.k.a your vehicle’s windscreen (so, it might help to know how to change wiper blades and how to install windshield wipers). Due to this friction, there is the possibility of small scratches appearing on the windshield. These scratches may be annoying while driving.

2. Damage To The Wiper Blades

Constantly working windshield wipers are not only irritating and an unusual siting, but also cause several parts to malfunction or go bad. The wipers working without any moisture will not only damage the windshield but also the wiper blade. As there is no moisture available on the surface it might cause the wiper blades to perish.

Windshield Wiper Won't Turn Off

Due to this friction between the windscreen and the wiper blades cause the wiper blades to malfunction after a point in time. This might cause you to replace the blades as they might not work properly anymore.

3. Damage To The Wiper Motor

Constantly working windshield wipers can not only damage the windshield or the wiper blades but it can also cause the wiper motor to go bad. The friction caused due to the absence of moisture causes several problems. One of the main problems is that it puts a lot of pressure on the windshield wiper motor.

As the windshield is clean and has no moisture, which causes the extra friction might put a lot of pressure on the motor. This pressure might be the cause of a car’s motor malfunctioning or to go bad or cause problems. This might also lead to the park switch getting damaged and might lead to the problem “windshield wiper won’t turn off.

Different Parts Of The Windshield Wiper System

Even though the windshield wiper seems like an easy system, it is far more complex than it seems. To maintain a windshield wiper system, an individual needs to know how the system works. If one of your wiper malfunctions, you can use this knowledge to know what went wrong with the system and pinpoint the issue. Here is a list of all the main parts of the windshield wiper system.

Windshield Wiper Motor

In most modern cars, the windshield wiper motor has usually placed the firewall in the engine compartment. It is a small tube-like motor that is connected to the wiper arms. Almost all of the vehicles have two windshield wipers.

These two wipers are connected through something called a linkage. So when anyone turns the windshield wiper system of a car, these steps are followed.

  • The switch sends a signal to the wiper motor via the fuse and a relay.
  • The motor starts running at the speed that you set by operating the switch.
  • The windshield wiper arm is connected to the motor. When the motor is activated, the wiper arm starts moving back and forth. In doing so, it pulls the blade across the windshield cleaning any rain or snow and removing any debris from the windshield.

Wiper Arm

The wiper arm is responsible for bridging the connection between the motor and the blades.  It’s a long stick-like part that is responsible for two things.

  • Pivots on one end (the end that connects to the wiper motor)
  • Connects to the wiper blade on the other end

The wiper arm is a long plastic arm with connections at both ends. The arm can be made out of plastic or metal. Some of the cars have joints that enable the arm to flex. Wiper arms go through extensive testing to make sure that they work properly and they do a good job in different weather conditions.

A wiper blade is responsible for wiping the rain and debris off the windshield. This wiper is made out of plastic and rubber and is connected to the wiper arm. The rubber part is in direct contact with the windshield, and it is connected to the wiper arm.

When the windshield wiper system is activated, the wiper arms move the blade back and forth across the windshield. The rubber part wipes the moisture and debris off the windshield. This helps maintain the visibility of the driver.

Wiper blades do deteriorate with use and they wear out over time. They are the disposable part of a wiper assembly. Depending on how often do you use your wipers. A car’s wiper blades should be changed every 6-12 months.

Windshield Washer Pump

The windshield washer pump is not attached to the wiper arms. But it works in coordination with the wipers. The washer pump is usually situated on the hood of the car. When someone activates the pump and spray wiper fluid all over the windshield, the vehicle activates the wipers. This way the vehicle cleans the windshield on the road.

Windshield Wiper Won't Turn Off

The windshield cleaning system is simple and it consists of two major parts.

  • Windshield washer fluid reservoir
  • Windshield washer pump

The reservoir is responsible for storing the washer fluid. When this system is activated, the pump draws the fluid out of the receiver and sprays it on the windshield. If there is washer fluid in the reservoir, but the fluid is not being sprayed the pump may have gone bad or may have a problem. In this case, the pump needs to be replaced.

How Does The Windshield Wiper Work

The wiper system is available on every car and most of the drivers out there do not pay a lot of attention to it. Even though the windshield wiper seems like a simple mechanism but is compromised of a complex structure. The windshield wiper system is responsible for keeping the windshield of a vehicle free from any rain, snow, or debris.

Step 1

The rubber-edged blade moves in a back and forth motion which wipes any debris off the windshield. Windshield wipers are operated by an electric motor. The electric motor is attached to something called a worm gear. It transfers the necessary force to a long rod which sets the wiper arms in motion. The worm gear can generate the force which is needed to move the wipers as fast as they need to move.

Step 2

These arms are responsible for moving the actual windshield wiper blades. The blades are made of rubber and must be applied with enough pressure to the windshield, to remove all of the moisture without leaving any streaks. The arms are attached to the middle of each wiper blade. Each wiper blade has several arms that evenly distribute the pressure onto the windshield evenly.  Windshield wipers usually use the same mechanism for most of the cars out there.

Step 3

They usually have two pivot points, one on the drivers’ side and one in the middle. There are several cars that might have a pivot point on the other side like the Honda Civic. They usually work in sync to remove the moisture. This system is known as the tandem system. This system usually covers the most coverage to clean the area of the windshield. This allows the driver to have a clear vision.

There are several other systems out there too. This includes the single-arm system on some Mercedes vehicles. This system has a single arm system that extends and retracts as it moves. Windshield wipers operate at several different speeds. There is usually a slow and a fast setting, along with several intermittent settings.

Reasons Why Windshield Wiper Won’t Turn Off

It might seem like not a big problem that a vehicle’s windshield wipers won’t turn off when you do not need them. But it can cause a lot of problems like some damage to the wiper system. If the wiper system keeps on operating without any moisture on the screen it may cause several problems that might lead to a bigger problem.

When there is no water to keep the windshield lubricated, there is some extra friction is created. This in turn will wear both the wipers down and also destroy the motor that keeps on operating.

The windshield wipers on a vehicle are an electrical component. That means that this system is powered by a power source. In this case, it is an alternator and the battery of a car that powers the windshield wiper system. There is a fuse present in this system that regulates the power, a linkage assembly, and a small motor that the wipers are connected to. This allows the wiper blades to move back and forth which cleans and removes the moisture from the windshield.

So when your windshield wipers are not responding to you trying to turn them off, there can only be a handful of reasons why this is happening. This is because there are a few parts that are involved in the windshield wipers overall. The main problems that you need to check for fixing this problem are as follows.

1. Bad Wiring

The most common problem that may cause the problem, windshield wipers won’t turn off, can be because of bad wiring. Bad wiring in a car can be an extremely dangerous problem as it not only will stop receiving any further commands. That is it won’t turn off even if you tried.

If you have faulty wiring or if there is a short in the vehicle’s wiring. That will lead to several problems. It is possible that when someone turns the wipers on and the wipers do not stay properly connected can cause the system to not receive the signal that someone is trying to turn them off. A mechanic with the proper diagnostic tools can easily check the wiring and locate any issues.

2. Bad Relay

Another common problem that the windshield wiper system faces, might be caused due to a bad relay. A relay is an electrically operated switch. It consisted of a set of input terminals. These terminals can control single or multiple signals and a set of operating contact terminals. The switch may have any number of contacts in multiple contact forms.

In layman terms, a relay is basically just a little box that’s plugged in under the hood of a vehicle alongside all of the other electrical relays. These electrical relays are responsible for various electrical components to work properly. When this replay is not working properly it might shut the wipers of a vehicle down completely or disable them so they would not turn off. A new replay is not a very expensive part to switch. A new replay can cost anywhere between $15 and $25.

3. Broken Controls

Another problem that is relatively common with the windshield wiper might be caused due to a broken control panel or a broken control. Windshield wipers on a car are usually controlled by a stalk on the side of the steering wheel. The stalk is used to change the speed. Moving the stalk up and down can increase and decrease the speed of the wipers.

It does have a couple of speeds available. If the switch itself were to break inside of the stalk, it would be impossible to control the windshield wiper system. The system will not get the signal that someone is trying to turn them off or even control them. Broken controls can not only cause a lot of problems in controlling the windshield wiper system, but also you will need to call a mechanic to change or fix this problem.

4. Bad Park Switch

The last thing that can go wrong with the windshield wiper system might be caused due to a bad park switch. The park switch is responsible for telling the motor to stop when the wiper blades have reached the button of the windshield. The park switch is placed or located inside the motors that control the windshield wiper. It governs the flow of electricity and controls whether the wiper is on or off. If the park switch goes bad or malfunctions, the current is no longer governed by anything.

This will cause the wipers to keep working like you have them working constantly. Even if one stops the vehicle and turns it off, the wipers will continue to run because they’re going to draw power from your battery. When the park switch goes bad, you might have to change the whole motor. This will help you get over the problem “windshield wipers won’t turn off”.

How To Fix This Problem “Windshield Wiper Won’t Turn Off”

The primary step that needs to be taken to fix the windshield wiper that won’t turn off the problem is to diagnose why they would not turn off in the first place. Fortunately, there are only a set of reasons why a vehicle’s windshield wipers won’t turn off. So there are only a certain set of things that need to be looked at.

Even if this problem needs a windshield wiper switch replacement, it would only cost you anywhere from $200 to $250.

If you have a problem with the wiring in your windshield wipers and need to replace the linkage you could end up paying anywhere between about $100 and $250 to get this repaired.

The last thing to look at is if the problem is related to the motor itself. If it is, then a new windshield wiper replacement motor for as cheap as $25 for an aftermarket replacement to as much as about $400.

Windshield wipers are not very expensive to start with, one can find these wipers for just a few dollars. They might be available at the local Walmart or any other store that sells auto supplies or even gas stations. For that reason, people don’t tend to give them a lot of respect because they’re so easy to find. Most of these wipers can be replaced as a DIY project. Most of these problems can be taken care of by the owner themselves and there is no need to hire a mechanic to fix this issue.


Irrespective of the fact of how easily available and easy to use windshield wipers are, we have to keep in mind that they are important to ensure safe driving especially during bad weather conditions. Driving without reliable windshield wipers can be very dangerous. In bad weather conditions, it can lead to compromised visibility. The visibility of a vehicle will suffer greatly when its wipers are not working properly and the potential for having an accident is extremely high.

For these reasons, if you are facing any problems regarding the windshield wipers, even something that seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal such as your wipers not turning off properly when you want them to, you need to show your vehicle to a mechanic.

Proper visibility is not only just for your own safety but you need to worry about the safety of everyone else. You can’t be putting yourself and others at risk for the sake of such a small, easy-to-fix problem as an issue with your wiper blades not responding the way you want them to.

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