This has been the coldest and snowiest winter in years for much of the U.S., which is perhaps why I’ve been subjected in recent days to various takes about whether it is OK to stand your windshield wipers up after parking when expecting snow or ice. Friends, it’s fine.
Now I thought this question had been settled some time ago. Many years ago in fact, when I first started seeing people do this where I grew up in northeastern Ohio. And in the past decade I’ve spent in New York City.
The idea is pretty simple: You’re going to have to pull your wipers up anyway to brush and scrape snow and ice off the windshield, so why not do it beforehand, before your wipers get buried.
This has a few advantages, namely that you will avoid damaging the rubber on your wiper as you pry it off your frozen windshield, as you may have noticed that wipers are important in the winter. You also don’t have to get your hands snowy and freezing while digging around looking for said wiper to pull up before you scrape; instead, you can get right to brushing and scraping.
This all might seem to you, well, obvious, but the takes in recent days have centered on a calamity that I do not doubt has happened before, but also one that should be among the least of your worries: the idea that wind will blow over your wiper blade, smack it onto your windshield, and put a crack in it.
Ask yourself: Have you ever heard of this happening? Again, I’m not saying that it has never happened, just that it has happened seldom enough for it not to be a worry. It seems to me more risk that your wiper will get damaged in this scenario more than your windshield.
Interestingly, little-known organizations like AAA seem to agree with wipers-up:
Robert Sinclair Jr., manager of media relations at AAA Northeast, believes leaving windshield wipers up is a safe option.
“I don’t see any harm in it, though you still have to clean the snow off the glass,” said Sinclair.
In case your wipers are accidentally left on, leaving them up also eliminates the chance of burning out the windshield wiper motor when you start your car and the blades try to push their way through the heavy snow.
One other argument used against leaving your wipers up: Doing so will somehow wear out the spring that presses the wiper against the windshield, which, let’s be serious. Perhaps me and everyone else I know have lucked into cars with springs that last forever, or perhaps this simply isn’t a real issue.
I will concede that putting your wipers up looks utterly ridiculous. And that’s fine if you’re the kind of person who prizes form over function; you do you. The rest of us will take the path of lesser resistance.