Wiper Switch: Things to Consider When Buying a Replacement
The wiper switch enables the driver to change the speed at which the wiper arms move. Since it is an electrical component, the contacts inside it can corrode and wear out over time, causing the wipers to work intermittently or not function at all. If you think the wiper switch in your ride has failed, replace it as soon as possible. There are a lot of choices available in the market, but important factors should come into play when deciding which wiper switch to purchase.
What kind of wiper switch should you get?
The type of wiper switch you should buy will depend on the kind of windshield wiper system installed in your ride, so you'd better check your owner's manual first. Some wiper assemblies come with a wiper switch designed for windshield wipers only; others employ a multi-function switch, which controls the operations of other vehicle components such as the turn signal, high and low beam dimmer, windshield washer, and cruise control.
Besides technical specifications, it's also wise to look at the product's quality, durability, and reliability.
What other factors should you consider when choosing a wiper switch?
To get the most bang for your buck, make sure the replacement wiper switch you'll get is tested under strict standards. It must possess some, if not all, of these qualities:
Corrosion resistance.A wiper switch that can hold up to abrasions and environmental corrosion is definitely a good buy.
High-quality materials. For better electrical conductivity and low resistive losses, invest in a wiper switch that employs quality conductors.
Easy installation. You can save a considerable amount of money if you'll do the installation by yourself. If you're a novice DIYer, a unit that's easy to install, without a need for splicing or cutting, can help you pull the task off in less the time and effort.
Warranty. Longer coverage means more reliable component, so go for a switch that's backed by a reasonable manufacturer warranty.
Wiper Switch: How to Remove the Old and Install a New One
Over time, age and constant use will take their toll on your wiper switch, rendering it useless and no longer capable of working in all settings. To stay safe while driving in the rain or in a dusty area and to restore the functions of other components that rely on the switch, have your malfunctioning wiper switch replaced as soon as possible. With just a few tools and this step-by-step guide, you can get the job done well without the help of a pro.
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you'll need:
- Replacement wiper switch
- Ratchet set
Step 1: Set the key to the "on" position to power all interior accessories. Look for the wiper switch on the steering column and turn it on. Inspect the operations of the wipers in different speeds. Put the key to the "off" setting.
Step 2: Open the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery. If necessary, remove the battery cable using the ratchet set. CAUTION: Don't touch the positive side of the battery so as not to shock yourself in the removal process.
Step 3: Loosen and remove the screws that secure the cover to the steering column. Take the steering cover off.
Step 4: Disconnect the wiper wiring harness from the steering wheel. With the pliers, disconnect the wires.
Step 5: Remove the old switch by unscrewing it from the steering wheel. Get the replacement switch and connect it to the steering wheel using the pliers. Hook up all the wires and the wiring harness.
Step 6: Align the mounting hole of the new switch to the mounting holes located on the steering column. Securely screw the replacement switch in place.
Step 7: Put the steering column cover back in its place. Using the screwdriver, thread and tighten the mounting screws to secure the cover to the steering column.
Step 8: Reconnect the negative battery cable.
Step 9: Test the new wiper switch by turning your key to the half on position. See if the internal components of the vehicle turn on even without the engine running. Turn on the new switch and try all settings. If you notice that the blades aren't working well, adjust the position of the switch or the wiring until the blades function as smoothly as before.
Even if you're a novice DIYer, you can easily complete this repair all by yourself in less than an hour.
Wiper Switch Buyer’s Guide
- A windshield wiper switch activates the wiper arms. It is usually found as part of the multi-function switch or mounted on your dashboard.
- The wiper switch operates on three different modes, namely high, medium, and low. In some vehicles, the windshield wiper switch also commands the washer system.
- If you find your switch malfunctioning in any way, it might be time for a replacement.
- You can replace a failing wiper switch on your own but you have to be careful not to damage any of the electrical wiring or fuses.
- Some of the common causes of a bad wiper switch are the following: blown wiper fuse, faulty wiper switch, and open or damaged wiring.
- Getting a windshield wiper switch replacement from CarParts.com can set your back anywhere between $5.20 to $321.67. They can be purchased individually or as a kit.
If you find your wipers are not working the way they’re supposed to one day, then you might want to give your wiper switch a check. Usually found on the steering column, it works together with the electrical wiring of the motor to activate the wiper and the washer pump. However, extreme weather conditions and other environmental factors can cause the windshield wiper switch to fail.
In such cases, it is best to get a replacement wiper switch so you wouldn’t have to risk having to drive with malfunctioning wipers in situations with low visibility. If you’re looking to change your wiper switch, read on the guide below so you can be better informed when shopping for a new one.
What is a Wiper Switch?
It is the component of the windshield wiper system that triggers the activation of the wiper arms. For most vehicles, the wiper switch is part of a bigger unit called the multi-function switch or multi-function lever and is usually found with other controls that start up various components such as the turn signal and the headlights.
However, some vehicles have their windshield wiper switch mounted on the dashboard. This type of switch has a simpler design with either screws or a friction clip securing the mechanism to the dashboard.
How Does a Windshield Wiper Switch Work?
The windshield wiper switch serves as a crucial part of the windshield wiper system. As mentioned, it activates the wiper motor that powers the wiper blades to clean debris and moisture off the windshield.
When you activate your wiper switch, it transmits a signal to the control module that starts up the wiper relay. The latter then transmits 12-volt power to the motor that activates a link that causes the wiper arms to move.
It has different speed modes namely high, medium, and low. In some vehicles, the windshield wiper switch also commands the washer system.
Wiper Switch Replacement
If you find your windshield wiper switch not working in any way, it might be due for a replacement. While it’s not often that you’ll be driving under rain or snow, it still helps to have a smooth-working wiper switch when the situation calls for it.
However, failing wipers may be caused by a problem with the wiper motor as well. Likewise, washer pump malfunction may not just be because of a busted wiper switch but an issue within the pump itself.
You can replace a wiper switch on your own, especially if you have basic auto repair know-how. However, you must be very careful. Note that while a dash-mounted wiper switch is typically easier to change than a wiper switch integrated into a multi-function switch, both still involve having to look into your unit’s electrical wiring. If you’re not careful, you might damage something in the process.
So if you must replace this type of switch on your own, observe proper precaution when doing so. Look for your car’s Chilton or Haynes manual and refer to the wiring diagram and fuse panel layout to guide you.
Possible Reasons For a Failing Wiper Switch
There are many reasons why a windshield wiper switch could fail. If you find your wiper switch starting to malfunction, the cause could be any of the following:
Blown Wiper Fuse
Usually, a wiper fuse gets busted when you activate the wipers even when they are wrapped in snow. Another reason could be that the wiper linkage or wiper motor is about to give out. It could also be likely because of a short in the circuit.
Faulty Wiper Switch
Sometimes, the problem lies within the multifunction switch itself. If this is the cause of the problem, you’ll usually find your wipers unable to function in certain modes.
Open or Damaged Wiring
Another possible cause of a malfunctioning wiper switch is open or damaged wiring. A multimeter might be needed to test each connector for power and ground. Usually, the issue stems from a damaged or cut wiring with the exposed part touching the body.
Bad Wiper Switch Symptoms
It is important to know the symptoms of a bad windshield wiper switch so you can spot them immediately and get the necessary diagnostics done. Here are the commons signs you should watch out for:
Difficulty Getting Any of the Modes to Work
If you find it difficult to switch on high, medium, or low-speed mode then a problem with your wiper switch could be the cause.
Wipers Do Not Turn On or Off
This is a tell-tale sign that something is wrong with your wiper switch. However, this could signal a problem with your wiper motor as well.
Washer Pump Doesn't Activate
If your wiper switch is designed to control the washer pump as well, not being able to do so usually means there’s a problem with the switch as well.
If you suspect you may be suffering from a failing wiper switch, get your system thoroughly checked first to confirm if it really is the problem.
After all, getting a replacement unit can be quite expensive so it’s better to confirm the diagnosis before buying than watch all that money go down the drain should the problem not be your switch after all.
How much is a wiper switch?
On average, a windshield wiper switch replacement costs around $5.20 to $321.67 at CarParts.com. There are units sold for the front wipers, rear wipers, front or rear wipers, or passenger side locations and may be purchased individually or in a kit.
In order to get the perfect match for your vehicle, include the make, model, and model year along with the name of the part you are looking for in the search bar. To narrow down the results of your search, you may also use the filters available on the site.
Choose from the wide selection of brands on the site that are handpicked for the best fit and quality. This gives you fewer things to worry about, making shopping for the part that you need more fool-proof.