Starting about 10 years ago I started noticing as I walked through parking lots in Portland, Maine to get to my car, that people were putting their windshield wipers up when there was snow on the way. The snowstorm we had in early January brought over a foot of snow to some places in New England and parking lots were full of dozens of cars with their wipers up as if they were giving a salute. But is that a good idea?

I get the motivation here. It's a lot easier to clean off your windshield when you don't have the wipers in the way and it also prevents them from freezing to the windshield, but according to Auto Zone, there are a couple of reasons why would shouldn't leave them in the upright position.

1. You Could Stretch the Springs

Ever notice how your wipers are always pressed flat and tight to the windshield? That's because there are springs in the wiper arm that keep them there so they can do their job efficiently. If they aren't pressed firmly to the glass, you're going to get streaks or worse yet, have parts of your vision through the windshield obscured.

Auto Zone says that leaving them up for a short time, like in the time it takes you to change your wiper blades, is okay. But over extended time, those springs can permanently stretch and that's a costly replacement.

Jeff Parsons - Townsquare Media
Jeff Parsons - Townsquare Media

2. You Could Break Your Windshield

What? Really? It may sound impossible, but if your wipers are up and a strong gust of wind comes along, like often does here in New England during a winter storm, those wipers could slam hard back into the windshield and crack the glass. Try explaining that one to your insurance company.

So do what you will, but you've been warned. You're probably better off to suck it up and leave the windshield wipers where they are and just use your defrost to free them from the windshield.

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