Adjusting windscreen wipers correctly

If a wiper isn’t adjusted correctly, it won’t glide smoothly over the windscreen, but will jolt instead. This leads to unpleasant – and in the long run annoying – noises such as a loud squeaking or rattling and to a suboptimal wiping result that is full of streaks. In order to adjust the windshield wipers so the rubber lip glides evenly over the windscreen, the following conditions are required:

  • No unevenness on the windscreen (e.g. wax residues or dirt)
  • Intact rubber lip
  • Correctly adjusted wipers

While damaged or old  wipers often judder in both directions or rub across the windscreen, an incorrectly adjusted new wiper often only does so in one direction. So watch the wiping process and see if it only judders when moving up or down.

The same applies to streaks when wiping: if the wipe pattern is only smeared when wiping in one direction, this indicates that the wiper is incorrectly adjusted, especially if it’s new.

The reason why juddering or rubbing can usually only be observed in one direction is that the rubber lip isn’t at an exact 90° angle to the windscreen. This increases the gliding resistance, which causes the wiper to be pulled across the windscreen instead of gliding smoothly over it.

Adjusting the position of the windshield wipers correctly: this is how

First things first: you should only adjust the wipers when it’s raining or when you can keep the windscreen wet for the duration of the adjustment process. On a dry windscreen, the wipers are subjected to unusually high stress, which causes them to wear out more quickly.

Proceed with caution

When adjusting the windscreen wipers, you must twist the wiper blades over the wiper arm. Be very careful when doing this because the material is flexible and can easily break if too much force is applied or it's twisted too much. Therefore, always adjust the angle in small steps only.

It’s best if the wiper blade is positioned at an exact 90° angle on the windscreen. Finding this point requires trial and error, unless you have an appropriate protractor at hand. Proceed as follows:

  • Gently adjust the wiper blade in small steps.
  • Operate the ignition and activate the wipers.
  • Switch off the ignition when the wiper has completed half of one wiping process and is in the middle of the windscreen (vertical).
  • Look at the rubber lip. Is it trailing? Then all is well and the optimal angle is set. Is it pushed ahead and pointing in the opposite direction? Then you should turn the wiper blade further by a small step.

If in doubt, go to the workshop

If you’re unable to adjust the wiper blades optimally, you should visit a workshop. With the right tool, they can adjust your windshield wipers in a few minutes.

The same applies if you want to adjust the zero position on the wiper if it no longer finds its way back to the zero position. This often requires adjustments to the wiper motor , which are best carried out by a professional in the workshop, as the motor can easily become damaged if not handled properly.