My wiper-wiper-wiper blades died!
November 9, 2006 2:42 PM   Subscribe

My wiper-wiper-wiper blades died!

Automotive filter: Out of the blue, yesterday I started my 2001 Taurus and the wipers won't work. Everything else is fine- just no wipers.

Is this fixable by me (give that I am NOT in any way mechanically inclined) or should I suck it up and take the car in?
posted by I_Love_Bananas to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
Just check the fuse, first.
posted by Liosliath at 2:54 PM on November 9, 2006

You could check your fuse box for a blown fuse, which is pretty easy and cheap to replace, and will sometimes cause that problem. You could look for broken or shorted wires to the wiper motor, if you know what those might look like. If you have variable speed wipers, you could try running the wipers on the fast fixed speed setting, in case the delay circuit has gone bad, and isn't ever firing the wiper motor.

Other than those kinds of basic things, you're probably going to have to take it to the shop, maybe even the dealership, for repair. But it might not cost you anything, if your car is covered in this wiper motor recall.
posted by paulsc at 2:57 PM on November 9, 2006

If your wipers fail completely, it could be a blown fuse, not a worn-out motor.

Check your manual for where the fusebox is. Could cost just a few bucks for a new fuse. If you choose to go to an auto repair shop, I would make sure they check the fuse box and make sure they know you know that's probably the problem. (No disrespect to auto mechanics meant!)
posted by davidinmanhattan at 3:00 PM on November 9, 2006

I have a Mercury Sable (twin to the Taurus). I had the same problem. It was a blown fuse. Look in your manual and locate which fuse is used for the windshield wiper, then remove it or check to see if it is blown. Mine was. Simple fix.
posted by JayRwv at 3:21 PM on November 9, 2006

Fords/Mercurys have horrible electrical systems. This is a fuse or at worst wiring problem.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:40 PM on November 9, 2006

Agreed that it's probably a fuse. However, if it's not, I would recommend getting somebody to do it. A buddy of mine did his own wiper motor (granted, on a Golf, not a Taurus) and he said it was a BITCH. Not only did he gouge his hand a couple times, he also had issues getting the wiper blades properly aligned.
posted by antifuse at 3:11 AM on November 10, 2006

Best answer: Sudden failure of electric devices = probably a fuse.
Has anything else suddenly stopped working? Chances are, there's probably another device on that circuit.

In your car, whatever model it is, there are at least two fuse boxes.
Under the hood, there'll be a black plastic box near the battery. On the inside of the lid, there'll be a diagram of the fuse panel and some very, very general descriptions of the circuits the fuses control.
Likewise, if you open your driver's or passenger's side door and look to the outboard panel of the dashboard that is made accessable upon opening the door. That panel should pop off with very little effort.

Take a look online for a detailed run down of which fuse controls which system. A few minutes of searching will likely turn up what you're looking for.
When you discover the fuse, it will pretty easy to tell that it's blown. Just look into the transparent plastic case to see that the metal strip is damaged.
And don't worry if the fuses are a bitch to remove. Some companies include a little plastic fuse puller in the box. Don't forget to look for it.
Every single automotive store like PepBoys will have the fuse you need.
And remember, only replace the fuse with one of the same amperage. If the fuse says "15" on it, ONLY put another "15" in.
Some people would also disconnect the negative battery cable before doing any electrical service on their car to prevent any harm to themselves or the components they're working on but I'm not sure that's totally necessary here.

Something to be aware of:
Fuses don't just blow for no reason. They don't wear out and get weak, either. So that means, something CAUSED this fuse to blow. If you install a new one and it blows again, that means that your wiper motor is encountering either some serious internal or external resistance and is drawing enough current to blow the fuse. Before installing your new fuse, visually check the area around the wipers for any obstructions (leaves, debris etc) and make sure that as much of the system as you can see and locate is in good condition.
Did the wipers make any noise before they stopped working? Did they work slower or with an apparant increased effort?
posted by Jon-o at 3:52 AM on November 10, 2006

Fords/Mercurys have horrible electrical systems. This is a fuse or at worst wiring problem.
Or a switch. FoMoCo hasn't figured out how to make a reliable switch yet.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:45 AM on November 10, 2006

I know I'm late to the discussion, but often auto parts stores like AutoZone will install fuses for you. Just ask!
posted by kc0dxh at 8:36 AM on November 10, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks all! I think I'll be able to take a stab at it.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:09 PM on November 10, 2006

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