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Windshield Wiper Transmission Linkages

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Windshield Wiper Transmission Linkages

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What is a windshield wiper transmission linkage and where is it located?

The windshield wiper transmission is an integral component of your vehicle’s windshield wiper system. It is a mechanical device made up of multiple linkages that connect the wiper motor to the two wiper arms, transferring the power generated from the rotational movement of the motor when it is activated by the wiper controls into the sweeping back and forth motion of the windshield wiper arms which the blades that clean the windshield are attached to. The wiper transmission helps the wiper motor and arms work together without having to hit each other. The multiple sections of linkage are joined and held together by rivets, while bushings are mounted to the wiper linkage arms and act similarly to bearings. Together, they make it possible for the different sections of the wiper linkage assembly to rotate and pivot.

On most vehicles, the wiper linkage assembly is located under the cowl at the base of the windshield and hidden out of view. This protects the mechanism from being exposed to outside elements and allows for it to operate quietly when being used.

How do I know if my windshield wiper transmission needs to be replaced?

Windshield wiper transmissions are the most common failed parts of the wiper system and can require replacement for multiple reasons. A windshield wiper linkage assembly will make an annoying clunking or squeaking sound when they wear out from prolonged use over time. Turning on frozen wiper blades without properly loosening them from an icy windshield during the cold winter season is a notorious and common cause of damage to wiper systems; this forces the wiper motor to put excess stress on the wiper linkages and arms. This stress can cause plastic connectors to break, pivot points to elongate, and knurled wiper studs to round off. Heavy snow and ice can also force the wiper motor to put excess stress on the linkages and wiper arms, as can large amounts of dirt, causing a similar outcome.

A broken or damaged windshield wiper linkage assembly can cause the wipers to not work or work incompletely, which can be quite hazardous for you and other drivers around you. Therefore, if your wiper transmission has failed, obtaining a replacement and installing it quickly is highly recommended.

Can I replace a windshield wiper linkage assembly myself?

Replacing the wiper transmission is a moderate task that may require a specialty tool (available at most auto parts stores) to remove the wiper arms from the transmission shafts. For the most part, the next step will usually require the removal of the cowl panel. From there, removal of the wiper motor and disconnection of the transmission from the vehicle should be all that’s left to get the old / broken parts out. This of course may vary on some applications.


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