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As I was driving my car I had my windshield wipers on the lowest setting, which after they return to their resting position there's about a one-second break before they start up again. I had them on as it was a light rain and I needed to keep my windshield clear because it was dark and other drivers had their headlights on.

I can't stand the sound of windshield wipers squeaking; it's almost as bad as scratching a chalkboard, so at times I find myself turning them off, because they make this noise only to have to put them back about 5-10 of seconds later to clear by screen. I know that if my windshield is bone dry or there is a fairly consistent amount of water on the screen it wont make this noise.

So I am wondering how can I reduce/stop this awful squeaking without having to contently flick my windshield wipers on and off while still being able to keep my windshield clear?

12 Answers 12

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Wiper squeaking is usually caused by bad wiper blades. Check and replace them.

  • 9
    Welcome to Lifehacks! Buying new wipers is not much of a hack. – Mooseman May 13 '15 at 11:24
  • It also happens to be one of the best solutions - especially considering that they are one of the most important safety features of the car. – virolino Oct 22 at 12:36
  • Extreme hack: remove the wipers entirely. There will be no squeaking from the wiping rubbers ever again. Good luck remaining alive and healthy, though. – virolino Oct 22 at 12:39
  • I've owned three cars with squeaky wipers over a period of 18 years. What has never helped with any of them is new blades. At best it just changed the tone of the squeak. On one car I had new blades and a new windscreen - still squeaked. I've tried expensive blades, Oem blades, cheap blades, old fashioned blades, those newer type blades .. all the same - still squeaks! – Chris Nevill Nov 27 at 22:59
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The squeaking is caused by two major factors:

  1. Hardening of the silicone, graphite, or rubber wiper blade.
  2. Dirt on the blade, or less commonly on the windshield.

If cleaning the windshield and wiper blade does not resolve the squeaking, then buy new blades. The hardened rubber will be ineffective at removing mud and leaves from the windshield, and in severe instances may become brittle and crack. When the rubber cracks it may expose the end of the wiper arm to the windshield, which leaves a characteristic bow-shaped scratch in the windshield.

Windshield wipers are an inexpensive safety feature of the vehicle. Maintain them properly.

  • I don't agree with this assessment. I bought the cheapest wipers I could find on Amazon a couple of years ago and they squeaked horribly right out of the box. I bought some more, paying about an extra 30% and they were fine and still are. – Lefty May 13 '15 at 20:40
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    @Lefty: It sounds like the wipers that you bought were either of very low quality, and thus slightly hard right out of the factory, or they were NOS (new-old stock) that has gone bad (hardened). The squeaking sound is actually the rubber itself vibrating and resonating. As you probably know, only a rigid (hardened) body can resonate. – dotancohen May 13 '15 at 20:55
  • Yes. They were incredibly cheap. Having said that, I've bought cheaper in the past that were OK. I need to think about the idea that only hardened rubber will squeak...What about when good ones get old, why don't they squeak? – Lefty May 13 '15 at 21:17
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    many blades will squeak out of the box, but it should go away after a few uses. nothing unusual about that. – Apologize and reinstate Monica May 13 '15 at 22:08
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    @Lefty then i agree with the others that you just bought crappy blades. buy better ones next time. decent blades don't squeak unless they're brand new or worn out. no lifehacks are needed. – Apologize and reinstate Monica May 13 '15 at 22:25
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There are aftermarket products, like Rain-X, that you apply to the windshield which are meant to improve visibility, but also have a great side effect - they eliminate squeaking wiper blades. This is not their intended or designed use, but they should solve the problem you are having in two ways:

  • by making the water bead up, you won't have to run the wipers at all in light rain
  • by coating the windshield with, essentially, a wax the wipers will glide across it without squeaking regardless of the wiper's condition

You will have to re-apply them according to your level of usage and their instructions occasionally, but they are easy and quick to apply, and cost less than new wipers.

Beyond that, you're looking at typical solutions - replacing the wipers, cleaning your windshield more thoroughly, using the washer fluid to add liquid to reduce squeaking, changing to a different washer fluid that suits your wipers better, and conditioning your wipers (the rubber breaks down in sunlight over time, leading to harder windshield wipers that are more likely to create noise).

6

Squeaky wipers (also an annoyance for me) result from:

  1. Dry surface
  2. Dry wiper blades
  3. Wiper motor issues

So for each one of the above, try these:

  1. A simple trick (if the problem is not #3), is to use the sprinkler to moisten the windscreen before turning on the wipers (yes, even in rain). This way the glass is completely wet before the cycle starts.

  2. Replace the blades with performance aftermarket blades (like the ones from rain-x) these tend to last longer, are quieter as well.

  3. Unfortunately here you'd have to replace the motor head or simply have it serviced as dust/dirt/leaves can gum up the mechanism, leading to squeaks simply from running the motor.

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For squeaking, you can generally get away with cleaning the wiper blade itself:

Gently wipe the rubber squeegee with a damp paper towel to remove any loose dirt or oil. Source

Keeping your windshield as clean as possible will help as well. However, you will eventually need to buy new wiper blades.

  • 5
    Welcome to Lifehacks! Cleaning your wiper blades and buying new ones is not much of a hack. – Captain Obvious May 13 '15 at 18:47
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    @JasonC Buying new ones? No. Cleaning them is a valid solution, even if considered 'obvious' to some. – Mooseman May 13 '15 at 19:20
  • Actually, you don't have to be that gentle. Basically, you have to clean the blade rather aggressively, still without causing damage. Use a Kleenex wet with some windshield cleaning fluid and pinch the blade between your fingernails and clean it rather hard. Certainly not "wipe", you have to scrape off the dirt. Dirt gets stuck to the blade with quite some force, so a gentle cleaning might do nothing. But always go horizontally across the blade, tearing it perpendically would harm it, of course. Many blades that are thrown away as completely worn actually return to life with real cleaning. – Gábor May 14 '15 at 15:12
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    @Mooseman I didn't realize that cleaning your wiper blades was an "outside the box" solution to a "seemingly intractable problem" (to quote the close reason). Sorry!! – Captain Obvious May 14 '15 at 16:45
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    @JasonC An answer doesn't necessarily have to be "outside the box". But the question should be looking for "outside the box" answers. From the manifesto: "If an answer isn't creative or clever enough for your liking, just don't up-vote it. [...] It may not be a lifehacky answer, but it is a solution to their problem." – Mooseman May 14 '15 at 21:07
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There are electronics kits that allow you to build an adjustable interval timer. Wire that into the wiper controls.
I thought there were aftermarket parts specifically for this, but it looks like you'll have to adapt a general interval timer kit.

  • This isn't really a hack. It's also unreliable because an interval that works now may not, say, next week. – Mooseman May 13 '15 at 11:25
  • @Mooseman: as it turns out, the only parts I could find were general-purpose timers which would have to be adapted to be used in a car, so I think that qualifies as a hack. – Hobbes May 13 '15 at 11:35
  • That's a good improvement. +1. – Mooseman May 13 '15 at 11:37
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    @Hobbes, there are different ones. I've used one I bought from Conrad for a decade. It's a drop-in replacement for many cars on the market that use the so called Bosch wiper circuit. Not all of them but quite a lot. The relay has no extra controls, just the standard size relay. The interval adjustment is rather clever: it measures the time between your two manual single wipes and maintains it until further notice. So, basically, you swipe once, let it get wet again, swipe once more when necessary, and leave it on intermittent. Actually even smarter than the factory-fitted solution with a knob. – Gábor May 14 '15 at 15:04
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    You don't need to replace the timing circuit completely. Just dig up the wiring diagrams / service manual for your car for details and make decisions based on that. For example, in my car the timing relay circuit interval is controlled by a simple variable resistor (the adjustable ring on the wiper controls) ranging from 0-36k Ohms. It is reasonable to conclude that wiring in some additional resistance there will allow for slower intervals; an easy job to do. Always read the service manual and look for ways to solve the problem. Hopefully RTFM isn't a "life hack" though! :) – Captain Obvious May 14 '15 at 18:40
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You can also wax your windshield, this normally stops squeaks. Replace your windshield wipers.

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You can try to calibrate the wiper spring tension. It's not uncommon for these springs to weaken in time, causing squeaking if the blade is allowed too much freedom to vibrate.

Cable ties can be used to pull together some turns of the spring, making it exert more force.

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    Do normal maintenance that windshield wipers are designed to receive = mundane how-to. Do it with cable ties = boom! Life hack! Brilliant... (btw, a more reliable solution is to go to the local dealer's parts department and pick up a new set of wipers or springs - if you get there by secretly stowing away in a passing vehicle instead of driving yourself you can call it a life hack). – Captain Obvious May 14 '15 at 16:46
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This might sound bizarre, but in the past 8 years I've only replace wipers twice, I stick with the OEM ones and when they start to squeek I remove and wash with a sponge, and warm soapy water then put them back on the car. I also regularly fully clean the windscreen with car glass cleaner.

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To add to the good answers to the question: You can extend the lifetime of the wipers' rubber by wiping it down with that "magical restorer" stuff you can buy in any auto-parts store. ArmorAll is one trade name. And the stuff you use to restore rubber rollers (like on printers) would also work. Do a search for "rubber restorer." Anyway, whenever you wash your car, wipe down the rubber of the wipers with that stuff. You should be using something like that regularly anyway, on the sidewalls of your tires (to prevent dry rot), and on your dashboard plastic and interior vinyl (to prevent cracking). So you should make sure you have some on hand if you don't already. After you have it, this is a lifehack. ;-)

If the rubber is already dried out and cracking, then: new wiper blades. No lifehack restores "dead" rubber, AFAIK.

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    Welcome to Lifehacks! The main site is for posts on Lifehacks, while the Meta is for discussions on the site itself. If you have a complaint about someone's posts flag them or/and discuss it Meta. I hope this helps you, have a nice day! – Pobrecita May 14 '15 at 20:05
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    I removed content not pertinent to the post. We do not promote such content here. Good luck :) – Pobrecita May 14 '15 at 20:10
  • It's a shame this answer's all the way down here. It's the best 'hack' to extend the life of your blades. – Mazura Jul 24 '15 at 8:05
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Occasionally power washing the car. Road grime will make your wipers squeak as well as embedding gunk on the wipers themselves. Clean the wipers with vinegar or rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. You will notice will squeak if it hasn't rained for a while.

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I had purchased a car which had squeaking problem,changed the blades varied touching angle,all did not work till someone said it is due to long parking under sun heat which reduced the glazing of the windshield glass.Once I changed the glass the sound gone,it could be a reason for some cars.

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    Changing your windscreen doesn't sound like much of a hack. It sounds too expensive to qualify. – Chenmunka May 17 '17 at 7:56

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