Windshield Wipers Won’t Turn Off? (6 Possible Causes)

Have you ever had an issue with your windshield wipers not turning off? It can be frustrating, especially if you’re driving in a light rain or mist and your wipers are constantly going. Even worse, they may be wiping back and forth on a sunny day.

But don’t worry, there are a few things you can check to figure out the cause of the problem. So, let’s dive in and get your wipers back to their normal state!

Reasons Your Windshield Wipers Are Not Turning Off

There are six possible causes for your windshield wipers not turning off. Let’s dive deeper into these possible causes and see how to address these problems.

1. Broken Controls

windshield wiper stalk

It is common for windshield wipers to not turn off due to a broken control/control panel. Windshield wipers are controlled by a stalk (which resembles the indicator switch), typically found on the side of your steering wheel.

The stalk component controls your wiper’s movements. The actual speed at which the stalk component moves is determined by you when you select the speed based on the amount of rain falling on your windshield. A possible cause of windshield wipers not turning off may be that the switch inside the stalk has broken, making it impossible to control the wiper system.

2. Bad Park Switch

The park switch is the mechanism responsible for ensuring the motor carries the message that the wiper blades must stop. This mechanism is generally located inside the motors controlling the wiper and controlling the flow of electricity through the wipers.

If the park switch is damaged or malfunctioning, there is no longer any mechanism controlling the flow of electricity. This lack of control causes the wipers to stay on, regardless of whether the vehicle is running or off.

This situation can be harmful as the wipers are running based on power drawn from your car’s battery. Given the importance of your battery for your car’s functionality, having a bad park switch causing the windshield wipers to remain on is a situation you should address immediately.

Dealing with a bad park switch can be somewhat of a sensitive issue due to its impact on your car’s motor. For this reason, if you suspect your windshield wipers won’t turn off because of a problematic park switch, it is best to consult an automotive electrician who can resolve the issue speedily.

3. Faulty Relay

fuse relay box

If you are unfamiliar with what a relay is, it is an electrically operated switch that is responsible for ensuring the other electrical components work effectively. If you have a bad relay, it might result in your wipers being unable to turn off.

If you’re familiar with relays, then you should be able to replace them yourself. Replacement relays, in most cases, are relatively inexpensive, with starting prices of around $15. If you’re uncertain whether you have a relay issue, it is best to contact a mechanic who can assist you in determining whether you have a relay issue and also ensure that you get a suitable replacement.

4. Wiring Issue

A prevalent cause of windshield wipers not turning off is bad wiring. Faulty wiring or shorts in the wiring can cause connectivity issues. If you suspect wiring might be the issue, it is best to consult an automotive electrician as they will be your best bet to properly diagnose the issue.

Messing around with the wiring may cause further harm and could potentially lead to you getting a shock. It is best to consult an automotive electrician because they have the required diagnostic tools to examine the wiring and will be able to tell you if you have a wiring problem.

5. Malfunctioning Wiper Motor

windshield wiper motor

You may think that a problem with the wiper motor would cause the wipers to not work. While this is true in most cases, a malfunctioning wiper motor can also cause the wipers to continue running even after you have turned them off.

See Also: Should You Put Wiper Blades Up When It Snows?

6. Rain-Sensing Wiper Sensor Malfunction

Rain-sensing wipers work by using a sensor located behind the windshield’s rearview mirror to detect the amount of water on the glass. The sensor emits infrared light onto the glass, which is reflected back to the sensor. The less infrared light reflected, the more water is on the glass, which triggers the electronic control unit (ECU) to turn on the wipers.

But if the sensor is faulty or the glass in front of it is dirty, it may not detect when the windshield is dry and may continue to signal the ECU to keep the wipers on.

The Importance of Turning Your Windshield Wipers Off

While windshield wipers play a pertinent role in wet weather conditions, it is crucial for them to be turned off when the weather is not impairing your driving to the point where you need your windshield wipers.

Not only will you have to listen to noisy wipers, leaving them on when it is not necessary can be distracting and can overwhelm you while you’re driving. This situation is dangerous because it increases the risk of an accident occurring as you are not entirely focused on driving and are likely to be more focused on how to get the wipers to turn off.

Additionally, your wiper system can be damaged as wipers require moisture to run on the glass. Therefore, in the absence of moisture on the car’s glass, friction is created, which can tear the wiper blades and if you let it go on long enough, the wiper blade frame may even scratch your windshield glass.

Before You Go

Unless your wipers won’t turn off because of wiring issue (which can be tough to troubleshoot), you’ll likely be able to fix the issue yourself with a little help from YouTube.

But, if you don’t feel confident in your DIY repair abilities or would much rather just pay someone to take care of it, you’ll want to take it in to a local repair shop (or dealership).

Once fixed, it’s a good idea to get a fresh set of wiper blades installed so you can reset the clock on when you have to think about replacing blades again.