House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Why Do My Windshield Wipers Skip? 6 Expert Tips

close up windshield wipers

No one likes the squeaky sound of windshield wipers scraping across the glass. Typically, wipers that are squeaking or skipping are old and need to be replaced. It’s generally recommended that you should swap your windshield wipers every six months, or sooner if they’re cracked or weathered due to exposure to sun or ice. If you’ve got a new pair, however, they might be skipping for another reason. Read on to figure out how to repair your windshield wipers for a more peaceful drive.

car and road divider

The 6 Tips to Prevent Your Windshield Wipers from Skipping

The process of fixing and preventing your windshield wipers from skipping follows similar steps. Here are a few things to keep in mind if your wipers are not performing properly.

1. Don’t Turn Them On If It’s Not Raining

This probably goes without saying but running the blades when the windshield is dry can damage the glass and the wipers. Don’t turn on your windshield wipers if your windshield is dry and try to refrain from running them if it’s only sprinkling.

Hybrid Blade Windshield Wipers
Image Credit: Stason4ik, Shutterstock

2. Make Sure Your Windshield Wipers Are the Right Size

Did you know that wipers aren’t one-size-fits-all? Your car’s owner’s manual will specify what size to buy. If you don’t have access to the book, you can use the database at an automotive shop or look it up online. Buying the incorrect size results in limited visibility, and even possible damage to the wiper’s motor.

3. Replace Them Every Six Months

Windshield wipers typically have a six-month lifespan, but it could be shorter depending on where you live. You might have to replace them sooner if they have severe damage due to ice or sun. Inspect your wipers for cracks to see if they might need to be thrown away.

man checking wiper blade
Image Credit: blade_My Photo by me, Shutterstock

4. Keep Your Windshield Clean

Debris can create an uneven surface, resulting in your wiper blades skipping and scraping your window. Taking your car through the car wash can fix this problem, along with applying a thin coat of Rain-X afterwards.

5. Apply Windshield Lubricant

Rain-X is a water repellent that helps your windshield wipers last longer and not work so hard. In a light rain, you’ll not even need to turn your wipers on because the formula binds the water droplets together and they simply roll off the windshield. Rain-X also acts as a lubricant, allowing the wipers to glide across the glass.

To apply Rain-X, clean your windshield first to make sure the application is smooth. Once your windshield is prepped, squirt a little Rain-X onto a soft, folded cloth and rub it onto your windshield in small, circular motions like you’re cleaning a window. Wipe any streaks and let dry. Although the solution will be effective for months, some users prefer to re-apply every time it rains.

man cleaning windshield wiper with microfiber cloth
Image Credit: admin_design, Shutterstock

6. Check the Angle

Your wiper blades should be positioned at a 90° angle against your windshield. If they’re not, simply take a pair of needle-nosed pliers and twist them back into place.

car and road divider

How to Replace Your Windshield Wipers

Thankfully, swapping out a pair of windshield wipers is a quick fix once you select the proper blades. Remember you’re only replacing the rubber piece, not the entire wiper blade. Also, it’s very common for the left windshield blade to require a different size than the one on the right. Replacing your windshield wipers should take you about ten minutes following five simple steps:

  • Raise the metal arm at a 90º angle against your windshield. Be careful not to snap it back and break the glass! You can squeeze a towel in between the blade and the glass to give it an extra buffer if it helps.
  • Remove the old wiper blade. You might want to refer to your car manual for this part because some wiper blades attach with hooks, but others use pins.
  • Install the new wiper. Once again, the specifics of this step will depend on whether your car uses pins or hooks.
  • Repeat with the second blade. Repeat the previous steps to replace the other blade and then you’re done!
  • Optional: Apply Rain-X or other wiper lubricant. If you want your blades to last a long time, you might want to coat your windshield with Rainx.

car and road divider


While it’s annoying to have squeaky wipers as you’re driving down the road, luckily, it’s a quick fix that won’t cost you much money. However, it’s vitally important to maintain the health of your windshield wipers. Damaged wipers lower your visibility during the rain and can even tear up the wiper motor and scrape your windshield. It’s definitely worth fixing the problem immediately since it’ll only cost you about ten minutes and a trip to the automotive shop for $50 or less.

Featured Image Credit: Dibjo, Pixabay


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools