Windshield Wiper Repair: How to Replace the Windshield Wiper Motor

  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-90
What You'll Need
Replacement windshield wiper motor
Wrench or socket set
Needle nose pliers
Grease (grease gun optional but recommended)

If your car is in need of a windshield wiper repair, it is probably due to a defective wiper motor. Windshield wiper motors can fail over time and if they are used more than usual. Fortunately, replacing a windshield wiper motor is a relatively easy job and makes a great DIY project. This handy step-by-step guide will show you everything you need to know. Let's get started.

Step 1 - Make the Car Safe to Work On

First, you need to remove the negative battery cable from the terminal post on your car's battery. This will help you avoid shorting out the electrical system in your car where you're working on it, and also help you avoid injury or shock.

Step 2 - Remove Windshield Wiper Arms and Blades

Look at the base of the wiper arms on your car's windshield wipers. There, you will notice a rubber boot at the base of the arm. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry up the boots, and then remove the screw that keeps the windshield wiper arm in place. Do this for the other windshield wiper as well. Set the windshield wiper arms aside.

Step 3 - Remove Wiper Grating Tray

Next, you'll need to remove remove the windshield wiper grating tray. This is the grating tray beneath your windshield wipers that helps keep water out of your car's heating and air-conditioning system. Usually, there will be a couple of plastic cover caps at either end of the grating tray that must be removed in order to access the screws. Use a small flat head screwdriver to gently pry up the plastic cover caps, and then remove the screws. Remove the wiper grating tray.

Step 4 - Remove the Wiper Transmission

The wiper transmission is a bar or rod that is connected to the wiper arms via a ball joint and is used to rotate the wipers back and forth. Use the needle nose pliers to gently remove the rod from the ball joints, but do not remove the ball joint itself.

Step 5 - Remove the Windshield Wiper Motor

Use the wrench to remove the bolts that hold the wiper motor in place. Disconnect the wiring harness that provides power to the wiper motor.

Step 6 - Install New Wiper Motor

Insert and tighten the bolts into the new wiper motor. Then, connect the wiring harness exactly as it was on the old wiper motor.

Step 7 - Replace Wiper Transmission

Reattach the wiper transmission bar into the ball joint.

Step 8 - Re-Insert Wiper Grating Tray

Place the wiper grating tray back in place, and then reinsert the screws. Next, replace the plastic cap covers over the screws.

Step 9 - Re-Attach Wiper Arms

Reattach the wiper arms, and tighten down the screws. Then lower the rubber boots on the arms and make sure that they cover the mounting screws.

Step 10 - Reconnect Battery Cable

Reconnect the negative battery cable to the terminal post on the car's battery. Test to see if repair was successful.