Windshield Wipers Only Work At High Speed: Solution!

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The wipers are powered by a motor that receives 12-volt power through a switched cord. Complete failure of the wipers to work can be a tricky fix, but working with a motor that is still running at speed is less difficult. Diagnosis can be time consuming, but it is not complex and only requires one tool. Read on and find out why your windshield wipers only work at high speed.

Windshield wipers only work at high speed

Windshield wipers only work at high speed
Windshield wipers only work at high speed

There are several reasons that cause the windshield wiper to operate at a high speed. Here we will tell you what the causes are:

1. switch

The fact that the motor runs at one speed confirms that the switch power is good, but the switch itself could have failed. Use a multimeter bridged between the power supply and each of the contacts while operating the switch. If there is a reading greater than 10 volts on each contact, the switch is good and the problem is downstream.

If the reading is done only on the high-speed terminal, the switch has failed.. Inside the switch are a series of terminals that move to make contact as the control is turned or slid like a lever; these contacts may lose their “elasticity” and not make contact. In addition, they can become clogged with atmospheric contaminants that act as insulators.

The fact that the high speed selector, the least used, is still working, suggests that the voltage has disappeared from the low and medium speed contacts. If you can access them and bend them to create more tension, this is a temporary fix at best; replace the switch.

2. Wiring harness

Once you have verified that the switch is in good condition, check the wiring harness. If the wire harness is connected at one or both ends to a multi-block, check your shop manual (many manufacturers and enthusiast websites post schematics online) to find out which wires and terminals carry which wiper speed signals; Draw a blueprint on a piece of paper showing the colors of the wires, the positions of the terminals, and their functions.

Use a multimeter to make a jumper between the low speed terminals of the switch and the wiper motor; with the switch moved to “Low“You should get at least one reading from 10 volts. If it does, the wiring is fine; if it doesn’t, the wiring has failed. Repeat the exercise with medium speed. If both circuits are solid, the problem is with the motor; if they are not, replace the harness.

3. Wiper motor

Another reason for the windshield wipers only working at high speed is that the wiper motor might have failed; it could be receiving the correct signals from the switch through the wires, but be unable to act on it. The circuits and windings inside the wiper motor housings are rarely user-serviceable; get a replacement from a dealer or a junkyard.

4. Alternative solutions

Faulty connections are known to cause a multitude of seemingly unrelated problems. Most wiper motors have a dedicated ground wire in their harness, however some use the bolts that secure them to the body as ground.

Trace the ground wire from the motor to its mounting point, then clean the bottom of the connector and the mounting point on the chassis with 60-grit or heavier sandpaper, then replace, making sure the fastener is ok tight.

Following the instructions on the packaging, use dielectric grease on the contact points for a better repair. If you’re working on a vehicle that lands through its fasteners, remove the bolts and lift the engine from its mount, then match the procedure outlined above to the contact surfaces.

Some modern vehicles use a relay or control module between the switch and the motor. These components are rarely user serviceable, and even diagnosis can be difficult for the untrained technician. If all other tests show good operation, and the windshield wipers only work at high speed, take the vehicle to a certified electrician for final diagnosis.

The wipers are powered by a motor that receives 12-volt power through a switched cord. Complete failure of the wipers to work can be a tricky fix, but working with a motor that is still running at speed is less difficult. Diagnosis can be time consuming, but it is not complex and only requires one tool. Read on and find out why your windshield wipers only work at high speed.

Windshield wipers only work at high speed

Windshield wipers only work at high speed
Windshield wipers only work at high speed

There are several reasons that cause the windshield wiper to operate at a high speed. Here we will tell you what the causes are:

1. switch

The fact that the motor runs at one speed confirms that the switch power is good, but the switch itself could have failed. Use a multimeter bridged between the power supply and each of the contacts while operating the switch. If there is a reading greater than 10 volts on each contact, the switch is good and the problem is downstream.

If the reading is done only on the high-speed terminal, the switch has failed.. Inside the switch are a series of terminals that move to make contact as the control is turned or slid like a lever; these contacts may lose their “elasticity” and not make contact. In addition, they can become clogged with atmospheric contaminants that act as insulators.

The fact that the high speed selector, the least used, is still working, suggests that the voltage has disappeared from the low and medium speed contacts. If you can access them and bend them to create more tension, this is a temporary fix at best; replace the switch.

2. Wiring harness

Once you have verified that the switch is in good condition, check the wiring harness. If the wire harness is connected at one or both ends to a multi-block, check your shop manual (many manufacturers and enthusiast websites post schematics online) to find out which wires and terminals carry which wiper speed signals; Draw a blueprint on a piece of paper showing the colors of the wires, the positions of the terminals, and their functions.

Use a multimeter to make a jumper between the low speed terminals of the switch and the wiper motor; with the switch moved to “Low“You should get at least one reading from 10 volts. If it does, the wiring is fine; if it doesn’t, the wiring has failed. Repeat the exercise with medium speed. If both circuits are solid, the problem is with the motor; if they are not, replace the harness.

3. Wiper motor

Another reason for the windshield wipers only working at high speed is that the wiper motor might have failed; it could be receiving the correct signals from the switch through the wires, but be unable to act on it. The circuits and windings inside the wiper motor housings are rarely user-serviceable; get a replacement from a dealer or a junkyard.

4. Alternative solutions

Faulty connections are known to cause a multitude of seemingly unrelated problems. Most wiper motors have a dedicated ground wire in their harness, however some use the bolts that secure them to the body as ground.

Trace the ground wire from the motor to its mounting point, then clean the bottom of the connector and the mounting point on the chassis with 60-grit or heavier sandpaper, then replace, making sure the fastener is ok tight.

Following the instructions on the packaging, use dielectric grease on the contact points for a better repair. If you’re working on a vehicle that lands through its fasteners, remove the bolts and lift the engine from its mount, then match the procedure outlined above to the contact surfaces.

Some modern vehicles use a relay or control module between the switch and the motor. These components are rarely user serviceable, and even diagnosis can be difficult for the untrained technician. If all other tests show good operation, and the windshield wipers only work at high speed, take the vehicle to a certified electrician for final diagnosis.

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