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How Windshield Wipers Work

Road & Track logo Road & Track 2017-09-11 Travis Okulski
How Windshield Wipers Work © Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved How Windshield Wipers Work

There are a lot of parts on cars that we don't give a second thought to. We just know that they work, and that's good enough. We don't need to know the innerworkings. The windshield wipers are definitely one of those parts.

Video: Don't bother following these car maintenance myths (provided by Consumer Reports)

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Yes, you flip a switch and the wipers go on thanks to an electric motor. That's a very basic description, and if you don't actually care about how wipers work and want to complain about us writing this, please feel free to leave the post now and return to our Facebook page to be angry on the internet.

For those of you that are still here, we're glad you stayed. Windshield wipers are, somehow, actually interesting and are more than just an electric motor and a linkage. There's gearing to give you different wiper speeds, capacitors to determine intermittent wiper settings, and logic to turn a light on in the car to tell you your wiper fluid is low. This is actually far more interesting than we thought possible. Check out the video below for a full dissection of a windshield wiper system.

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