How To Turn On Windshield Wipers: Full Guide

We always look forward to having road trips, whether alone or with our loved ones. Cars are an essential investment an individual must plan on having. Moreover, learning how to drive isn’t all you need to know.

It is also necessary to check and identify your cars’ interior and exterior parts and their corresponding functions. One aspect of a car to look into are the windshield wipers. It helps prevent rainfall, snow, ice, water, and other debris from the vehicle’s window. It ensures that the front window can still see the driveway from the inside of the car.


Cars are essential for our daily use, sometimes the only thing stopping us is empty fuel or a car malfunction. It can be a means of transportation, car collection, and some use it as a livelihood. Regardless of any situation, we always wanted a safe ride and out of the dangers on the road.

A woman holds a car key in her hand.

Knowing our cars gives us the access to prevent any harm. Each car parts have specific functions and importance. A windshield wiper is one that cleans and wipes out dirt and substance away from the car’s front window. The location of the windshield wipers is somewhat the same as most cars. However, the design may be different, so it is better to read the car’s manual for easy access.

How to Turn On Windshield Wipers

A lever-like stalk located on the right side of the steering wheel controls the windshield wipers. A wiper symbol is attached to the lever and other markings with a designated function. It only takes a few steps to turn the windshield wipers on.

💡 Note that you cannot navigate any procedure without turning the vehicle on. 
Windshield wiper lever in the interior of the car.

To activate the wipers, pull down the lever or stalk positioned at the right side of the steering wheel. It will initiate the wipers to move at irregular intervals. Other functions placed in the exact location are needed to navigate in adjusting the speed and movement of the wipers.

Setting up Different Speeds

If you pull the stalk one position down, the windshield wipers will be in an intermittent setting. This setting allows the stalk to move at irregular intervals suitable for light to moderate rainfalls. If you familiarize yourself with the parts of your car, you’ll notice three bands observed at the corner right or collar of the windshield wipers.

These bands indicate the intervals between the wiper cycle:

(a) the thickest band for foggy to light rain conditions. Typically, the break of the movement of the wipers is between 10 seconds or so;

(b) the next band has a gap of around five to six seconds;

(c) the most narrowband will move between three to four seconds in the wiper cycle.

To activate another set called the moderate-speed wiper, the cycle can be done by pressing the stalk down. It is helpful for heavy rains as the movement of the windshield wipers will be at a steady speed for two to three seconds continuously.

The last setting for your windshield wipers allows you to turn on the movement for one cycle, called the misting setting. This setting is mainly for water and mist seen in the front window. The misting setting is for temporary use. Install rain-sensing windshields that automatically turn on when rain droplets are detected if you have a modern car.

How to Turn Off Windshield Wipers

Turning off the windshield wipers is not as complicated as turning them on. Push up the windshield wiper stalk back to its original position to turn it off. You will feel the click once when returns to its off position. Do the same procedure if you want to change your wipers’ intermittent settings. Reverse the collar to increase or decrease the time interval to your preferred adjustment.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Washing the windshield and clearing the dust found in the front window can be cleaned using the windshield washer fluid. Once you pull the windshield wiper stalk towards you or the driver, it will activate. Depending on how long you want the water out, you can hold it as much as you want. Simultaneously be done with the windshield wipers moving at the adjusted setting.

When constantly used, windshield wipers get worn out. The wipers’ blades consist of rubbers that can be less effective and blunt. It may also be because of the climate of your environment. Areas with frigid and hot temperatures can damage the rubber in the wipers. Too much water or rain in the wipers can also cause it.

Aside from this, the wipers’ quality and their rubbers make a difference in the longevity of usage. It is advisable to replace it every 6-12 months. However, it is advisable to inspect the windshield wipers to check on the signs for replacement. Damaged rubber, bent wiper frame or stalk, the rubber is too hard or stiff to move, and the clicking or squeaking sounds heard can be a few signs to consider checking.

Mechanic replaces windshield wipers on the car.

Aside from this, wipers skipping from the windows and streaks left behind the wiping may lead to a broken wiper. If you observe that your windshield wipers are not functioning correctly, it is better to check them immediately. Or, if you know about changing car parts, replace them ahead of time.


Having cars is a privilege that one possesses. It has a lot of advantages from traveling to emergency purposes. However, keep in mind that there are situations to consider before getting one and becoming a responsible driver and passenger.

Multiple accidents can happen inside a car while on the road. We must also take into consideration other vehicles and pedestrians. A simple car malfunction may lead to unwanted accidents. Ensure to check on your cars before leaving your house not to cause any danger.

Also, evaluate and assess yourself before purchasing a vehicle. Do not only focus on the brand, price, popularity, and appearance. Interview the people with the same unit and ask about their experiences with the said vehicle.

Our safety should be our top priority. Learn to research this, and may we all have a safe ride!

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!