One Windshield Wiper Not Working? (6 Reasons Why)

Windshield wipers are two sets of wipers that help keep your windshield clean. Generally, both of these wipers work in unison, but it is possible for one windshield wiper to stop functioning.

You may be wondering why one windshield wiper is not working. I looked up the facts, and here is what I learned!

One Windshield Wiper Not Working?

One windshield wiper is not working often because a loose pivot nut on the wiper blade needs to be tightened or replaced. Additionally, the buildup of snow, ice, and other debris can keep one windshield wiper from moving. Moreover, there could be a faulty part, such as the wiper motor or fuse.

Do you want to learn about more reasons why only one windshield wiper works? I made a list of reasons below, so read on!

1. Damaged Wiper Blade Edges

Firstly, the most common cause of why one windshield wiper works is that there are damaged rubber edges.

Generally, most wiper blades will have rubber or silicone edges on them because they will slide across the windshield to clean it.

However, rubber and silicone will only stay durable for so long, and the rubber edges will eventually wear out and get damaged.

Additionally, other factors, such as heavy snow and ice, can damage the wiper blades faster.

When this occurs, the damaged rubber or silicone edges can get stuck in the hood of your car.

As such, one wiper blade may not leave your car’s hood, whereas the other will sweep across the windshield.

2. Blown Fuse

For most cars, windshield wipers will use electricity to run, and the windshield wipers will be powered through the wiper motor.

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Since the wiper motor is the main electrical part, there will be fuses in the wiper motor to protect the wiper motor from damage.

If the wiper motor is about to be overloaded, the fuse will “blow” or break to protect the wiper motor from serious damage.

However, a blown fuse may keep one wiper from moving because there is no way to bring power to the windshield wiper.

Similarly, if something is blocking the fuse, the connection to your windshield wiper can get blocked since no electricity will reach it.

3. Ice On A Wiper Blade

Ice On A Wiper Blade

If the temperatures are very low where you are, there is a chance that one windshield wiper does not work because of ice.

Ice can easily build up on your car, especially in the more exposed areas like where your windshield wipers are.

When you leave your car parked and exposed to the elements, snow, water, etc., can freeze on your wiper blades.

If enough ice freezes on one of your windshield wipers, it can weigh the windshield wiper down and keep it from working.

4. Loose Wiper Pivot Nuts

One of the more common reasons why your windshield wiper would not work is that you have one or multiple loose wiper pivot nuts.

A pivot nut is a nut (that you would normally see on a bolt), but it is specifically meant to keep a pivot in place.

Generally, a pivot nut can be found at the base of the windshield wipers, which keeps them in place or moving depending on how you control the windshield wipers.

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Since a wiper pivot nut would eventually move the more you use your windshield wipers, the nuts can get a bit loose.

If the pivot nut gets loose enough, one of your windshield wipers will not move because the windshield wiper is not in the right place.

Occasionally, you may see the wiper arm move a bit when the wipers change direction, but the wiper will not actually swipe through the windshield.

Generally, you have to retighten the pivot nut to fix your problem, making sure it is securely in place.

If your pivot nut keeps getting loose, the pivot nut has likely been worn out, and you need to replace it.

5. Failing Wiper Motor

If one of your windshield wipers does not work and you notice the other one is starting to fail, you may have a failing wiper motor.

For most cars, the wiper motors they have are considered electrical components that rely on the battery and alternator for power.

When your front wiper motor is failing, it may have likely shorted out (and the blown fuse was not able to save it).

Moreover, your front wiper motor could fail due to physical damage, overuse, or it is simply an old part.

Ideally, it is best to have a failing wiper motor replaced instead of trying to repair it.

6. Debris And Blockages

Similar to getting ice on your windshield wiper, there may be something blocking your windshield wiper and keeping it from moving.

Windshield wipers are in a fairly exposed area of your car, and this part of your car can gather a lot of debris over time.

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For instance, old and dried leaves, small rocks, and dirt can eventually fill up the space where your windshield wipers are.

When there are a lot of foreign objects on one of your windshield wipers, it can be enough to weigh the wiper blade down so it will not move.

If this is the case, you need to clean out the debris to take the weight off of the windshield wiper.

You may also want to check the condition of the wiper blades afterward since the debris could have damaged the wiper blades.


While it may be odd that only one of your windshield wipers works, there are several plausible reasons for it.

Normally, most people have a loose pivot nut or a damaged wiper blade edge that keeps one windshield wiper from working.

However, other issues like excess buildup on the wiper blades, a blown fuse, or a damaged wiper motor could be the cause.

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