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Windshield Wiper Transmission

Working windshield wipers are vital for driver visibility. The vehicle is considered unsafe if the wipers don't work. The front wiper motor and the wiper transmission mechanism (linkage) are installed below the windshield, under the cowl panel cover.

How the wiper system works: when you turn the wiper on, the wiper switch sends the signal to the control module. The control module operates the wiper relay. The relay sends 12-volt power to the wiper motor.

Why wipers don't work: troubleshooting tips

The first thing your mechanic would want to know is if it is a mechanical problem with a wiper transmission (linkage) or an electrical problem with a wiper motor circuit. How can you tell? Does the wiper motor run or at least make any noise when the wiper switch is on? If the motor runs or tries running, but the wipers don't work, it's a mechanical problem with the linkage, see common problems below. If the motor doesn't react when the switch is operated, it's an electrical problem.

The wiper arm shaft seizes up inside the linkage. The wiper linkage, also known as wiper transmission or wiper link assembly, has two shafts that hold the wiper arms. Often, one of the shafts seizes up, it's a common problem in many cars. First, wipers start moving slower, then seize up completely.

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