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How to Turn on Windshield Wipers

March 1, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

Every car owner must know how to turn on windshield wipers because it is an essential safety component of a car that helps keep your windshield clear of water, rain, dirt, dust, snow, fog, and other debris, thereby giving you a clearer view of the road ahead.

Windshield wipers help you get a clearer road view during horrible weather conditions, eliminating the possibility of accidents. On the control lever, you can also introduce washer fluid to your windshield for a brighter outlook during the dry season. Fortunately, they’re super easy to switch on.

If you’re a newbie without a clue about how windshield works or a pro trying to figure out how to activate the windshield wipers on a new car, you’re on the right page. There’s also no doubt that the configuration may differ from car to car, but we’ll provide you with a foundation to help you replicate your vehicle’s settings.

In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to turn on and off your front and rear windshield wipers with YouTube videos for more clarification.


How to Turn on Windshield Wipers

As I said earlier, the procedure and location of the wiper stick might vary depending on your car model, but with the below tutorial, you should be able to turn on your front or back windshield in no time.

Without much ado, let’s kick-off.

How to Turn on Front Windshield Wipers

First, let’s look at how to turn on your front windshield wipers on your vehicle. But before we continue, let’s get familiar with some of the notations found on the wipers lever to make the tutorial more understandable.

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In most cars, the windshield lever has the Mist, Off, Auto, intermittent (int), LO, and HI selections. Here are what they signify.

  • Mist: When you push the wiper to Mist mode, the wiper quickly makes 1 or 2 wipes on the windshield. This comes in handy when the wiper splashes on your screen while driving. You can also hold the stalk to the mode for continuous wiping.
  • OFF: When the wiper is OFF mode, it simply turns off the windshield wipers. You can turn the wipers off by moving the lever down by one.
  • Auto: Auto, as the name implies, helps detects when rain is falling and automatically turns on the wipers with the appropriate frequency. It’s not available in every car model but can be activated by moving the lever down twice if you have it.
  • Intermittent: The int mode allows the wiper to wipe every 2 seconds continuously at a medium rate.
  • LO: The “lo” mode is an extension of the intermittent mode because it helps reduce the speed of the windshield wipers. It’s advised to use this mode in light or medium rain conditions.
  • HI: the “High mode” increases the pace of the wipers and is very useful when there’s a heavy downpour.

How to Turn on Windshield Wipers

  1. The windshield wiper lever is mainly located on the right side of the steering wheel. It features a dial that helps you control the wipers’ speed while the stick turns the wipers on and off ( your windshield lever can also be located at the left-hand side of the steering wheel, but it works the same way).
  2. Push the windshield wiper to handle up or down to switch between the modes as illustrated earlier – Mist, Off, Auto, intermittent (int), LO, HI.
  3. Change the speed of the “Auto” or “Intermittent” mode’s speed using the wiper stick’s control. Moving the dial to the plus sign will increase the wipe per second, while moving it to the minus sign will decrease its speed.
  4. You can turn off the wipers by pushing the lever back to the off mode.
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Quick Tips:

You can automatically turn on the wipers by moving the dial on the control lever to the plus sign and turn it off by moving it to its initial state.

How to Turn on Rear Windshield Wipers

Now that we’ve got the basics on turning on windshield wipers, follow the steps below to switch on your rear windshield wipers.

Although not cars come equipped with a rear windshield wiper, so it’s best you consult your car manufacturer to get specific information about your vehicle.

  1. Locate the rear windshield wiper control on the lever or dashboard. The rear wiper’s control is usually located to the left of the main wiper dial. In some cars, it can be a push button at the end of the control lever. However, it’s often represented by a rectangular shape with a single wiper line passing through the center.
  2. Rotate the control dial to the “on” mode or tap the button to turn the rear wiper on.
  3. Return the dial to its original position to turn it back off, OR tap the button at the end of the stalk again to turn off the wipers.

How to Turn on Windshield Washer Fluid

The washer fluid helps you get a clearer view of objects before you, especially when the windshield is dusty, foggy, hazy, or misty. To turn on the windshield washer fluid, you must pull the lever towards you instead of pushing it downwards or upward.

Here’s a complete tutorial.

  1. Locate and pull the windshield stick toward you to release washer fluid onto the windshield. The wipers should automatically turn on and off to clear the fluid from your windshield.
  2. If your windshield is very dirty, you’ll need to employ manual means of soap and sponge.
  3. Also, endeavor to replace your windshield washer fluid from time to time. When you’re low on washer fluid, the check engine light will ignite, or your washer fluid won’t come out when you lift the lever towards you.
  4. Check your manual guide for specifics on how to turn on washer fluid for your rear windshield.
  5. Turning on windshield wipers may seem like a challenging task. Still, with the proper tutorial, you should be able to do it properly without any hassles, and I’m sure that with the above guide, you can operate your wipers effectively.
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In addition, you can refer to your vehicle’s manual guide for more specific instructions on operating your wipers.

ALSO, READ > How to Turn Off Back Windshield Wiper



Where is the windshield wiper switch located?

The windshield wiper switch is mainly located on the right side of the steering wheel. Although, few car models come with the wiper switch on the left side of the steering wheel.

How do you turn on and off windshield wipers?

To turn on or off the windshield wipers, locate the wiper switch at the right-hand side of the steering wheel and push it to the Auto or Off mode, respectively. You can use the lever to switch on and off the windshield wipers.

Why won’t my windshield wipers turn on?

If your wipers won’t turn on, there’s a probability that it isn’t properly fixed, the wipers are frozen to the windshield, or there’s an issue with the wiring harness of the wipers. You can use heated wipers if you live in places with snow.

Can you drive in the rain without wipers?

While it’s possible, driving in the rain without wipers in the USA is illegal. It is mandatory in the National Road Traffic Act that all drivers must have their wipers intact to remove rain, snow, or other debris from their windshields.

Can you drive with wipers not working?

Provided you can get a clear view of the road without the wipers, you can drive when your wipers are not working. However, if it starts raining, you must park until the rain stops to avoid being fined or towed for breaking the law.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.