Wiper Motor: The Ultimate Guide

Chapter 1: What is Wiper Motor?

front windshield wiper motor

What is wiper motor and what does it do? Also known as windshield or windscreen wiper motor, the wiper motor plays a crucial role in keeping your car windshield clean. This chapter will shed light on the car wiper motor so you can understand it more deeply. Among the topics we will be discussing are: what a wiper motor means, where to find it, and the different types available today. We also delve into the wiper motor assembly to see the different components that constitute it. To make you an informed buyer, and choose a top wiper motor manufacturer, we provide information regarding the cost of the wiper motor assembly.

Let’s begin by defining the auto wiper motor.

What is Wiper Motor?

The car wiper motor is the component that powers the windshield wipers. As it spins, a mechanism built to it rotates a worm gear, arm and, finally, the windshield or windscreen wiper blades. The wiper blades then rid the windscreen of water, snow, dust, or any other debris that may affect visibility when driving.

Car wiper motors form part of the wiper system. Because they help clear the windshield, they are usually viewed as one of the car safety components. Other parts of the wiper system include wiper linkage, wiper washer pump, and wiper switch. Some of these parts, such as the wiper switch are placed near the driver, but where is the windshield wiper motor located?

The wiper motor assembly is commonly found in the engine bay and often mounted firewall. From there, it connects to the parts that make the wiper linkage, helping to transmit motion and move the wiper arms and blades. The image below shows the windshield wiper motor location.

windshield wiper motor location in a 2001 Toyota Corolla

Although the standard location of a wiper blade motor is the engine bay, just below the wiper cowl, it’s not the only place to find it. Some cars such as hatchbacks, for example, are fitted with rear wipers. In addition to the front wiper motor, these will also have a separate rear wiper motor or what’s often called rear window wiper motor.

The conventional front or rear windshield wiper motor is an assembly of metal and plastic components. Costly models feature more metal parts than plastic, making them more robust and durable. In terms of design, wiper motors mostly differ in the gear arrangement, control mechanism, and transmission parts.

Having looked at the basics of a vehicle wiper motor, it’s now time to get into assembly and learn about the different components that make it.

wiper motor assembly parts

Wiper Motor Parts

The wiper motor assembly isn’t just a motor, and consists of many different components. These include the motor itself, gear mechanism, connectors, switch, and more. Here is a list of the main parts of a wiper motor including their specific functions.

DC Motor

The heart of motor vehicle windshield wipers is a DC motor, which can be rated 6V, 12V, or 24V. Most motors are run off a 12V source, while a few are rated 6V and 24V. The parts of the motor include the following.

  • Housing- made from steel, the wiper motor housing encloses and protects the parts inside. It’s often coated to prevent corrosion.
  • Magnet- the windshield wiper’s motor today contains permanent magnets. These are usually attached to the inside of the housing using adhesive. Their function is to provide the magnetic force required to rotate the armature. Older wiper motors used electromagnets/field magnets instead of permanent magnets
  • Armature- the armature is the rotating center piece. It consists of a coil of copper wire would around a magnetic core and resting on a shaft. The shaft spins freely, with a small bearing at the end for a smooth rotation.
  • Brushes- the wiper motor brushes provide the path through which current is conducted to the armature coil so the motor can rotate. Modern car wiper motors come equipped with 3 brushes. The third brush completes a high speed circuit and enables the wipers to operate at different speeds.
  • Commutator- the commutator is the rotating part that sits between the brushes and is held in place by the motor shaft. It contains a series of conductive segments separated by insulating strips. The segments conduct current from the brushes to the coil in turns, enabling the continuous rotation of the armature.
  • Brush plate assembly- the brush plate holds the motor brushes. Other parts of the plate include the springs that tension the brushes and the electric circuit that regulates the power going into the motor.


The wiper motor gearbox is the housing that contains the gears and other parts required by the motor to perform its function. The parts reduce the speed of rotation, multiply torque, and transmit motion to the wiper linkage parts such as wiper arms and rods. The components that make the assembly are:

  • Worm gear– the end of the wiper motor shaft is a worm a spiral gear that rotates a gear wheel. Together, the two gears form a worm drive and help to multiply torque through gear reduction. The arrangement also slows down the overall speed of rotation.
  • Gear Wheel- this is the wiper motor gear that connects to the spiral gear to multiply torque. When the spiral gear rotates, the gear wheel also turns, but at a slower speed. That way, it multiplies the force of rotation to a level enough to move the wiper parts or wiper linkage. Depending on the specific model of the motor, there may be an additional gear or gears.
  • Parking limit switch- just above the output wheel gear is the wiper park switch consisting of three copper arms attached to the gear box cover. These ride on a conductive ring mounted on a plastic wheel. The wheel, in turn, is attached to and rotates together with the ring gear.

The wiper motor park switch provides power to the motor when you switch off the wipers until the blades move to the park position. This prevents the wipers from stopping on the windshield and obstructing your view when driving.

  • Gear box cover- this is the removable part that covers the wiper motor gearbox assembly. Apart from protecting the parts inside, the cover also holds parts of the parking limit switch. It also contains the electric connector that supplies power and signals to the electronic components.
  • Output shaft- the output shaft is attached to the gear mechanism. It helps transmit the wiper motor gear rotation to the outside, thereby helping to move the wiper transmission linkage. In a rear or back wiper motor, the shaft drives the wiping blade directly.
  • Output arm- the wiper motor arm is the crank that mounts on the output shaft. It connects the parts of a wiper motor to the rest of the system, moving rods and other linkages. The output arm function is to convert the rotary motion of the motor to the linear motion required to operate the wipers.
  • Connectors- the wiper connectors are electrical wires or components that convey power and electronic signals to the wiper motor assembly parts. It forms part of the wiper motor wiring and is one of the most crucial components. When broken or worn, the motor may not run.

Other Parts

Other parts related to the wiper motor but which are usually not part of its assembly include the wiper fuse, switch, electronic control module and (often), relays.

  • Wiper fuse- the windshield wiper motor fuse protects the motor components from current overload. It’s usually located in the fuse box. If it blows, the motor stops functioning.
  • Wiper switch- the wiper switch controls the operation of the wipers by providing a means to switch power on and off. The switch also contains settings for the different wiper motor operations such as different speeds and intermittent wiping.
  • Wiper control module- this is the circuit board that contains the electronics to govern the motor’s working and, therefore, the entire wiper system. In modern cars, the windshield wiper control module allows the use of technologies such as rain sensors and automated wiper operation. The wiper pulse module, as it is also called, is generally located under the dash.
  • Wiper relay- the wiper relay switches a large amount of power using the small current signal from the wiper switch. A car wiper system may use up to three different relays; two for the low and high speed circuits and another for the intermittent wiping circuit. The relays are often located in the fuse box, motor, or built into the wiper control module depending on the type of vehicle. Some wipers do not use relays.

the automotive wiper motor exists as several different types

Types of Wiper Motor

Vehicle wiper motors are available in several different types. These are generally based on the design, voltage rating, and location. In light of that, the types of wiper motor versions you will come across in the automotive world are: permanent magnet and field wound wiper motor, 6V, 12V, and 24V wiper motor, front and back wiper motor, and the universal windshield wiper motor.

Permanent Magnet and Field-Wound Wiper Motor

The windshield wiper motor in modern automobiles uses permanent magnets. Permanent magnets make quiet and efficient motors. They are also low-cost and reliable. Permanent windshield wiper motors are generally recognized by their characteristic cylinder shape.

If your car is a pre-70’s model, the wiper motor is likely to use field coils instead of a permanent magnets. These types of wiper motor were popular due to the inadequacies of the permanent magnets at that time.

Today, the technology to produce magnets has advanced and electromagnets are no longer ideal for the windshield motor. Unlike the permanent magnet wiper, the field coil type of wiper motor typically features a rectangular housing.

12V and 24V Wiper Motor

Windshield wiper motors are usually available as 12V and 24V options. The 12V DC wiper motor is the most common today and runs off the conventional 12V car battery. The 24V wiper motor is also used, although not as popularly.

If you own one of the older car models but which used a motor wiper system, the type of motor is likely to be rated 6 volts. 6V wiper motors are also available on the market for classic cars and trucks. They are not common, though, since most modern motors are either 12 or 24 volts.

A 12V DC windshield wiper motor mainly differs from the 24V version in terms of current draw. The 24V version uses less current to produce the same amount of power, which makes it more efficient. For most applications, though, the 12 volt motor is suitable.

Front and Rear Windshield Wiper Motor

Car wiper motors are designed for either the front or rear windshield. Each version fits the types of windshield wiper arms it’s made for and cannot be used interchangeably. Generally, the front wiper motor features a crank that connects the motor to the wiper transmission. A rear wiper motor, on the other hand, operates the wiper arm directly with only a few support parts.

Universal Wiper Motor

The universal windshield wiper motor is manufactured to fit a wide range of applications. You can install it in different vehicles with only a few modifications or none at all. These usually come as a kit and are popular among DIY enthusiasts. A universal windshield wiper kit consists of the motor itself, mounting components, and other accessories necessary for installation.

Windshield Wiper Motor Cost

The car wiper motor cost depends on many factors such as type of car, type of motor, and brand, among others. The price when you have a luxury car, for example, is higher than when you have basic model. The wiper motor cost also varies between OEM and aftermarket models. OEM versions are more costly.

When buying a wiper motor, the price depends on whether you want a front or rear motor. You may also need to choose between a new or remanufactured unit. A reconditioned and new windshield wiper motor cost different amounts depending on the model.

While it’s difficult to give specific figures, the cost of windshield wiper motor ranges from $60 to $300 for most car models. Cheaper models can go for as low as $30 and pricey ones up to $600. These figures represent both 24 V and 12V wiper motor price ranges.

Sometimes, you only need to purchase a specific part of the motor assembly or remote components such as wiper relay, control module or fuse. Linkages that form the windshield wiper transmission cost around $50 while the motor’s goes for as low as $20. The wiper relay cost ranges from $20 up. A wiper motor fuse costs goes for as low as $10. Other components such as the wiper control module and connectors go for $15.


The windshield wiper motor moves the linkages that accelerate wiper blades across your car’s windshield. As we have seen, it consists of many parts working together to produce the required motion and torque. In the coming section, we explain how the motor works to operate the wiper transmission. We will also examine the technologies used by various versions of the motor and their advantages.

Chapter 2: Wiper Motor Mechanism and Wiper Motor Projects

the windshield wiper system showing the wiper motor and wiper transmission

Image title: the windshield wiper system showing the wiper motor and wiper transmission

Resource: youtube.com

The windshield wiper mechanism in your car is a combination of many different components, each with a specific role to play. This section explains how windshield wipers work. The knowledge will help you to maintain the mechanism or, if it fails, identify the damaged parts. In addition to the working of the windshield wiper system, we will also be exploring ways that the motor can be put to other uses.

How do Windshield Wipers Work?

Before we see how the wiper system works, let’s have a look at the components involved. That will help you grasp the mechanism’s operation more easily.

The windshield wiper system is activated by a switch. The switch is located on the steering column, although some vehicles have it in other places but on the dash. Settings on the switch allow you to set the wiper motor speed or make the wipers move intermittently, depending on your preference.

For the wiper switch to be useful, there has to be pathways to convey current and electronic signals to the motor assembly. These pathways are composed of wire harnesses and form what’s called the wiper motor wiring system. Other components within the system include the wiper control module, relays, and fuse.

Besides the wiper switch and wiring, there are the wiper transmission parts, arms, and blades. The wiper transmission translates the rotation of the wiper motor, converting it into the back and forth motion of the blades. The blades them remove dust, raindrops, snow, ice, and other debris from the windshield.

Behind all the mentioned windshield wiper assembly parts is an electric component called wiper motor. The motor is responsible for all the movements that occur in the wiper linkages, finally ending in the wiper blades moving across the windshield. Here is a windshield wiper parts diagram to illustrate parts that we have just discussed.

the windshield wiper system showing the wiper motor and wiper transmission

To remove grime and debris, the wiper system incorporates a washer mechanism to provide a spray of cleaning fluid. The mechanism comprises a solution reservoir, small electric motor, and turbine blade to pump out the solution. The washer system is usually a separate system, but which comes into operation to supplement the action off the wiper blades.

Having seen the components that make the windshield wiper mechanism, let’s now see what happens when you switch on the wipers.

  • When you turn on the wipers, the wiper switch communicates with the wiper control module. The module controls the operation of the wiper system. Through the wiper relay, it closes the circuit that sends the car battery’s voltage to power to the motor (depending on the motor’s voltage rating)
  • Once the motor receives power, it starts to rotate. Its shaft consists of a spiral gear that meshes with a plastic gear wheel. The gear wheel also starts to spin and rotates an output shaft. The shaft is connected to a small arm or crank that transfers the motor rotation to the wiper transmission parts. While the arm rotates continuously, the wiper linkage parts move back and forth.
  • The wiper transmission is either a link or flexible rack system. Depending on the construction, its parts move the wiper blades across the windshield. The wiper blades are composed of rubber surfaces and connected to wiper arms. The wiper arm assembly ensures uniform pressure along the blades.

It’s not always easy to set the correct wiper motor speed to effectively wipe water off the windshield. So auto makers came up with an automated mechanism to determine the most efficient operation of the wipers.

Modern cars come with rain sensors installed behind the windshield. The sensors detect the amount of infrared radiation reflected by raindrops, which varies depending on the intensity of rain. Using the signals, the wiper system adjusts the speed settings accordingly.

car wiper motor used to power an e-bike

Wiper Motor Projects

The wiper motor is incredibly powerful and versatile. Besides its use in the car windshield wiper mechanism, the motor has been useful in many other projects. These range from fun applications to those that enhance safety. Below is a compilation of some of the popular wiper motor uses.

Electric Wheel Chair

The high wiper motor torque can be used to power a wheelchair. In most projects of this type, enthusiasts employ two motors to rotate the wheels. In addition to torque, other advantages include the ability to control speed. The wiper motor speed control option allows for a safer wheel chair, although you would need to find a way to prevent the reversal of rotation.

Rocking Chair

This is yet another project where the wiper motor can prove to be useful. With only a few modifications, you can use the motor to move the chair back and forth. The standard wiper motor power supply of 12 volts is usually enough, although other voltage ratings are also usable. Other important aspects include current draw and installation ease.


Different DIY robot projects can benefit from high torque and the easy-to-control wiper motor rpm. Depending on the type of robot, the motor can be used as an actuator to provide the required movements. The good thing about a wiper motor robot is that you can easily control its speed to fit the specific requirements.

E-Bike Propulsion

Many people have successfully used wiper motor power to propel their bicycles. The bike’s rear sprocket is usually placed on the motor’s output shaft. During rotation, the shaft spins the sprocket and helps to move the drive chain. Some electronics may be added to control the motor’s speed.


The windshield wiper mechanism is a complex system of moving parts. Starting with the motor, the mechanism ends with the wiper blades cleaning the windshield. But like any other linkage in your car, both the motor and wiper components are prone to failure. Having looked at how windshield wipers work, we can now discuss the problems that lead to damaged wipers. Learn about them in the next part of the guide.

Chapter 3: Windshield Wiper Motor Problems

Corroded wiper motor

Image title: Corroded wiper motor

Resource: https://moparforums.com

Windshield wiper motor problems are one of the leading causes of failed car wipers. The motor is the primary source of power for the entire wiper mechanism. If it goes bad, the wipers won’t move, which can lead to an obstructed view of the road ahead. In this chapter, you will learn how to tell if a windshield wiper motor is bad. You will also learn about the causes of wiper problems and the steps to take if they occur.

Windshield Wiper Troubleshooting Guide

How do you know that you have a failing wiper system? Windshield wiper problems show up in different ways, ranging from slow moving blades to wipers not working at all. Because problems vary, you need to know the different signs, what they mean and if you can fix them. Below are the symptoms that can help you diagnose and troubleshoot windshield wipers. The signs include:

Windshield Wipers not working at All

The windshield wiper won’t work at all. If that happens, the problem is either mechanical or electrical. With the wipers on, listen in to the motor. If there is no hum, the motor is probably dead, mostly due to burned parts or a blown fuse. It could also be wiper relay problems or faults in the wiring system. If the windshield wipers won’t work but motor works, the fault is most probably mechanical.

Mechanical problems include a binding or worn and broken wiper linkage. You can easily replace a blown fuse or burned out parts (if they are replaceable). A windshield wiper relay problem is also fixable by replacing the relay unless the relay is built into the motor. If the wipers are binding, clean out or replace the affected components.

Unusually Slow Windshield Wipers

The wipers do not move at the usual speed and appear slower than normal. Causes include clogged wiper motor assembly parts or clogged wiper transmission components. It could also be faulty wiper motor wiring components. Electrical wiper motor problems are corrected by replacing the faulty components. Clogged wiper parts, including the motor transmission parts can be cleaned to restore their function.

Windshield Wipers Cannot Change Speed

You turn the wiper switch lever to change the speed of wipers but nothing happens. The problem is either the motor or control module. It could also be a case of the wiper switch not working. The wiper control module sends signals to the motor assembly for speed. When faulty, it cannot control other settings. A defective switch will also not send signals to the control module, leading to bad wiper switch symptoms such as lost speed settings.

Wipers Will Not Park

The windshield wipers stop in the wrong position. Depending on the motor construction, the problem could be a faulty park limit switch. The park limit switch (usually located on the wiper motor assembly) is either dirty or worn. If the control module is faulty, you will also have the wipers stop in the wrong place. Both parts are replaceable in some types of the wiper motor. If the problem is at the wiper switch in the steering column or dash, that can also be fixed, usually by replacing.

Noisy Wiper Motor

Wiper motor noise includes clunking and grinding sounds. Noise can mean loose windshield wiper parts. Most of the time the wiper pivot nuts are loose or there’s a loose wiper arm. But it can also be a problem with the motor. If its parts are excessively worn, a wiper motor will produce noise instead of low hum. In such cases, you need to replace it. Loose wiper linkage parts only need to be tightened, uncles you have broken part.

broken windshield wiper motor

Image title: broken windshield wiper motor

Resource: https://dougs65mustangrestoration.blogspot

Common Windshield Wiper Motor Problems

Wiper motors become defective due to various reasons. Mostly, the moving parts will wear down and causing the entire motor to malfunction. Besides the mechanical faults, a wiper motor and, therefore, the windshield wipers stop working when it develops electrical faults. Common windshield wiper motor problems include the following.

Dirty or Clogged Parts- with time, dirt accumulates inside the wiper motor and its transmission assembly to the point of causing problems. It often leads to slowed wipers and inefficient wiping of the windshield.

Broken Parts- Some components such as gears may break, causing the transmission of powder to the wiper linkage to fail. Unless a proper diagnosis is made, the problem can be mistaken for broken wiper linkage parts.

Worn Parts– besides breaking, some parts of the wiper motor are more prone to wear. These include the brushes, which need to be replaced as soon as the reach their wear limit. Others include the park limit switch and the gears, among other components.

Damaged control module– the windshield wiper motor control module is sometimes built into the motor assembly. Regardless of its location, the module greatly affects the motor’s operation if it goes bad.

Blown Fuse or Burned out Parts- fuse problems are one of the most common causes of bad wiper motor symptoms. It causes the motor to stop working completely. Luckily, the fuse is a replaceable part. Parts of the motor, such as the armature coil may also have burned out.

Damaged relay or Loose Electrical Parts – these include connectors and relays. Wiper motor problems cause the entire wiper system to break down. Loose or damaged connectors too, since it leads to power issues.

wiper motor testing

How to test a Wiper Motor

A broken wiper motor can mean the windshield wipers not moving, which then leads to unsafe driving, especially in adverse weather conditions. The first thing will notice are the signs described here. These symptoms of a bad windshield wiper motor can help you to pinpoint the problem. However, that’s not enough. You need to test the motor so you can rule out electrical failure as described below.

Wiper motor testing can be done in several different ways. In our method, we will use a digital multimeter that has been set to measure voltage.

  • Start by locating the motor. It’s usually mounted in the engine bay and on the firewall. If you cannot find it, consider consulting your manual
  • Next, remove the wiper motor connector and locate the ground and positive pins. The ground pin is usually in the upper left side and the ground lower middle
  • With the multimeter set to measure voltage, connect the ground probe to the ground pin on the connector and the positive probe the positive probe
  • The multimeter should give a 12V reading to indicate power is reaching the motor. If it does, the motor is defective.
  • If there’s no voltage, the problem is not the motor but a remote issue. It could be a blown fuse, bad wiper switch or damaged wiper system wiring.
  • Some wipers motors use relays. If a relay is bad, the motor will not receive power. For instructions on how to test wiper motor relay problems, check out this video.

Windshield Wiper Motor Maintenance Tips

Your car windshield wiper motor can last a long time before you need to change it, but only if you know how to maintain it. So here, we provide you with a list or the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to avoiding windshield wiper motor problems.

1. Avoid using the wipers if they are frozen or if the windshield is dry, covered in snow, or frozen with ice. It puts a strain on the motor and may cause it to burn out or the fuse to blow.

2. Always allow the wipers to park before switching off the engine

3. Do not use the motor to move wipers of a car that has been unused for a long time, instead, unstick them manually before engaging the motor

4. In the even thee grease in the wiper motor assembly has dried up, apply new grease to prevent damage to the moving parts and the motor

5. Maintain your windshield wiper system routinely to avoid instances where you overwork the motor. This includes replacing faulty parts such as a broken windshield wiper arm, tightening loose components, and greasing moving parts.

6. If there’s a lot of debris such as snow on the windscreen, manually scrape it off before using the wipers to avoid straining the motor


A clear windshield is crucial to safe driving. As such, windshield wiper motor problems can make your car unroadworthy. Always be on the lookout for signs that your wipers are failing, which in most cases, are caused by a damaged motor or motor transmission parts. Some problems are fixable which others call for a new motor. Find out how to fix a broken windshield wiper motor in the section coming next.

Chapter 4: Wiper Motor Repair: How to fix Windshield Wiper Motor

wiper motor repair

Wiper motor repair fixes minor issues for a longer lifespan of the motor. But before typing “windshield wiper motor repair near me” on your computer or heading to a mechanic’s, consider this: many motorists carry out wiper motor repairs themselves. You can do it too, using the procedure explained in this chapter. We will look at how to fix a windshield wiper motor easily so you can save both replacement and repair costs. You will also find out when to consider repair and when not to.

Before you can even look for information about how to repair wiper motor faults, it’s important that you know the problems that you can fix and those that you cannot. Also, why you may want to opt for repair instead of replacement. Here is what to do.

Start by confirming if indeed your wiper motor is faulty. That involves checking the wiper linkages such as transmission, arms, and wiper blades for damage. The parts could be loose, broken, or seized due to debris and wear.

You should also inspect the wiper fuse to see if it’s working or blown. The wiper relay, too, if your car or truck’s wiper system uses separate relays. Lastly, you need to test the wiper motor connectors for voltage using the method described in the preceding chapter.

Once you have confirmed a faulty motor, you need to be aware of the fixable problems and those that aren’t. Windshield wiper monitor despair is only possible for the following symptoms

  • Slow windshield wipers as a result of dirty or clogged wiper motor brushes, commutator, and stator
  • Windshield wipers not working due to worn wiper motor brushes
  • Bad wiper motor parking limit switch that causes the wipers to park in the wrong position
  • Broken wiper motor transmission gear that leads to improper working of the wipers such as loss of speed or intermittent wiper settings
  • Clogged wiper transmission assembly that slows down the wiper blades
  • Loose or broken wiper mother connectors that cause power problems and lead to the wipers not working
  • Dried up grease that causes the wiper motor part to bind and the wipers to stop working or work intermittently

Now that you know the problems that can be taken care of, let’s go straight to the wiper motor repair process.

wiper motor disassembled for repair

How to fix Windshield Wiper Motor

Things you will need

Wrench and ratchet set

Flat screwdrivers

High melting grease

Cleaner such as methylated spirit

A piece of lint-free cloth

Replacement parts such as gears and brushes

Here is the procedure to follow. It applies to booth front and rear wiper motor repair, with the steps only differ ring in bathe method to remove the motor assembly.

Step 1 Disconnecting Electrical Connections

Open the hood and disconnect the battery (negative cable). Locate the wiper motor and disconnect the electrical connections. Mark everything for easier refitting.

Step 2 Removing the Motor

The method to remove the wiper motor varies across different vehicles. Generally, you will find the motor inside the engine compartment. If your vehicle uses a pushrod wiper system, start by disconnecting the wiper arms. Then, remove the bolts that secure the motor to the firewall and lift it together with the linkages. For a rack system, start by separating the rack and motor before unbolting the motor housing. Again, mark the orientation and angles of the wiper linkage parts.

Step 3 Fixing the Wiper Motor

Start the wiper motor repair process by removing the end plate by tracking out the bolts that secure it to the housing. This will let you inspect the brushes and the motor’s internal components such as armature and commutator. Check the brushes for wear and replace them if necessary. Check the commutator surface for burning or corrosion and clean it. You may need a piece of emery cloth for that. Clean also, the commutator using methylated spirit.

Step 4 Fixing the Wiper Motor Gearbox

Next, open the gearbox assembly. Check the gears for wears or breakage. Replace them if necessary. If the motor has the parking limit switch inside the gearbox assembly, clean and inspect it for damage. Ensure everything else is intact. The grease will most probably have dried out. Clean all parts and repack the assembly with high-melting grease before reassembling it. Check also the connectors for corrosion or looseness.

Step 5 Assembling and Replacing the Motor

To finish the wiper motor repair task, refit everything back together ensuring everything is in its place. Mount the motor and replace the wiper transmission parts using the marking you made earlier to guider you. Finally, install the wiper arms. Replace the connectors to the motor and replace the battery cable. Test the working of the motor, and the wipers.

Wiper Linkage Repair

Alongside the wiper motor repair, you may need to fix other wiper system issues that may affect the motor’s usefulness. These include broke our loose transmission linkages, arms, and other parts. For wiper linkage repair, take these steps.

  • Check for loose parts. These include parts that are subjected to movements such as pivot nuts and the arms. Unless there is breakage, pivot nut and windshield arm repair only involves tightening them.
  • Inspect the wiper linkages for debris and clogging. There will most likely be dirt and debris that could lead to binding in addition to producing noise. Clean out the affected parts including the arms and blades. If there are worn or broken parts, consider replacing them.
  • Sometimes, problems still linger despite the good condition of the motor, wiper linkage, and fuse. In such cases, consider checking the entire wiper system wiring. The switch may also be faulty. For the windshield wiper switch repair process, check out this video.

fixing wiper motor transmission parts

Windshield Wiper Motor Repair Cost

If you opt for wiper motor repair service from a mechanic or repair shop, changes range around $100 on average. Wiper motor repair is not a common service, so rates will vary depending on your type of car and the particular repair facility. You may also be interested in the repair costs for other parts of the wiper system. Their figures are given below.

Windshield wiper repair cost (linkage) $150

Windshield wiper transmission repair cost $100

Again, the cost may vary depending on the specific part to be fixed. The cost of windscreen wiper arm repair, for example, would be different from that of the transmission. Generally, the cost to repair wiper linkage parts does not exceed $200.

To cut expenses, you may want to consider fixing the motor yourself instead of opting for a mechanic’s wiper motor repair service. If you go the DIY way, ensure that you have the right tools and knowledge about what to do throughout the process.


When you have a broken wiper motor, you are faced with two options; to repair or replace. Wiper motor repair saves you money, but only applies for specific problems as explained in this section. You can even repair the motor yourself and save on the costs of a mechanics service. In the next and last chapter, you will learn the replacement steps of a wiper motor if damage is too extends to be repaired.

Chapter 5: Windshield Wiper Motor Replacement: How to Replace a Wiper Motor

wiper motor removal

Windshield wiper replacement is a simple task that you can do yourself. Having said that, the process to replace wiper motor depends, to some degree, on the type and model of your vehicle. You may find the process easy or fairly difficult but generally, you do not need any skill to do it. Here, we will show you how to replace windshield wiper motor using a procedure that applies to most cars. You will also learn useful tips that will help to make the process easy as well as the costs if you involve a mechanic.

Let’s begin by looking at some of the reasons why car owners change windshield wiper motor assemblies of repairing them. It will help you to make a sound decision based on your specific situation. If any of the following has happened, you need a new motor.

  • Burnt out parts as a result of current overload and other electrical issues
  • Excessively worn motor parts from age
  • You want to upgrade to a different motor type or model

Now, onto the wiper motor replacement instructions. As already mentioned, wiper systems vary but the procedure explained here can be used on most vehicle types.

How to Replace a Windshield Wiper Motor

Things you will need

  • Wrench and ratchet set
  • A set of screwdrivers
  • Your new replacement wiper motor

For clarity, we will divide the wiper motor replacement process into two; removal and installation. Note that the procedure applies to both front and back wiper motor replacement.

Wiper Motor Removal

Here is how to remove wiper motor in a few simple steps.

Step 1 Open the hood and disconnect the battery’s negative cable.

Step 2 Locate the wiper motor and remove its electrical connections. It’s usually on the fender wall just below the wiper cowl.

Step 3 Next, remove the wiper arms by loosening the bolts that hold them in place, followed by the wiper trim and wiper cowl.

Step 4 Depending on the type of your car’s wiper system, remove the wiper motor together with the wiper linkage or transmission.

Step 5 Separate the old motor from the wiper transmission and set it aside.

Wiper Motor Installation

Here is how to install windshield wiper motor.

Step 6 Check to confirm that you have the right wiper motor model for the replacement. Check, too, that the mounting surface is clean and free from corrosion. You may have to clean it.

Step 7 Attach the new motor to the wiper transmission then replace the assembly in the right place.

Step 8 Replace the wiper cowl, trim, and wiper arms.

Step 9 Replace the electrical connectors of the wiper motor and reconnect the battery cable.

Step 10 Test the new wiper motor assembly.

wiper motor installation

Windshield Wiper Motor Replacement Cost

The wiper motor replacement cost ranges between $100 and $400. This amount includes labor and the wiper motor price, with labor charges ranging from $50 to $100. Rates could be higher depending on your region and local mechanic prices. It also depends on your type of car.

If you choose to replace the wiper motor yourself, you only need to pay four the amount which mostly goes for less than $100. The motors for high-end cars cost more, up to several hundred dollars. While still on the topic of the cost to replace windshield wiper motor, you may want to know how much it costs to replace other parts of the wiper system. Here is a breakdown of the costs.

Wiper transmission replacement cost $70-$120

Windshield wiper arm replacement cost $30-$50

Windshield wiper switch replacement cost $40-$70

Wiper motor gear replacement cost $50-100

Windshield wiper fuse replacement cost $25-50

Windshield wiper module replacement cost $25-50

Wiper relay replacement cost (if it’s a separate part) $30-$50

Windshield Wiper Motor Replacement Tips

Removing and installing windshield wiper motor assemblies is simple enough. However, these tips will help to make the process simpler and safer.

  • To avoid electrical accidents always disconnect the battery by removing the negative (black) cable
  • Wiper motor removal and installation steps vary slightly across different vehicle models and types. Always have your car’s manuals with you before starting the process
  • In some cases, wiper transmission replacement may be necessary besides changing the motor. Check everything for damage
  • Ensure you have the right type of motor and model for your type of car or truck
  • OEM and aftermarket wiper motors cost different amounts. Have that in mind when purchasing the replacement motor
  • If you are unsure about the process to replace wiper motor or any other part of the wiper system, it’s safer to seek the services of a mechanic


When you replace a failing wiper motor, your car becomes safer to drive. It means your windshield, whether front or rear, remains clear all that time, and that you can clearly see ahead or back. The windshield wiper motor replacement steps explained here should help you to install a new motor. The component requires no prior experience to replace but if in doubt, it’s always advisable to take your car to a repair shop.

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