How to Replace the Windshield Wiper Motor in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Designed as a safety feature Vehicles the automobile, the windshield-wiper motor of your Vehicles is a combination of an electric motor and a worm drive. A unique linkage system takes the rotation of the windshield-wiper motor and connects with a gear that changes the motion into the back-and-forth movement of the windshield wipers by means of a worm drive. Occasionally, your windshield-wiper motor may wear out. You can replace the motor yourself fairly easily and save some money in the process.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Windshield Wiper Motor in a 2002 Dodge Caravan

Removal

Open the hood. Disconnect the van's negative battery cable by loosening the black cable's clamp nut with a wrench and pulling the cable free.

Detach the washer hoses from the wipers, then lift up the covers for the wiper arms. Mark the relationship between the wiper arm and shaft with a marker, for re-installation.

Unscrew the pivot nuts on each wiper arm using a wrench, and remove the wiper arms.

Remove the lower screws on the cowl cover with a small screwdriver and disengage the quarter-turn fasteners connecting the cover to the wiper module. Close the hood without latching it, remove the cowl's outer screws and then lift the cover toward the windshield to remove it.

Open the hood back up and disconnect the electrical connector for the motor. Disconnect the washer hose and the drain tubes from the wiper motor.

Remove the mounting bolts for the motor and wiper assembly using an Allen wrench, and remove the motor.

Unbolt and separate the motor from the wiper linkage using your wrench.

Installation

Connect the replacement motor to the wiper link arm with its bolts.

Install the wiper assembly in place in the engine compartment using its Allen bolts. Connect the hoses to the motor and connect the electrical connector.

Reconnect the cowl cover, starting with the outer screws, the quarter-turn fasteners and then the lower screws.

Connect the wiper arms using the pivot nuts. The lower wiper's blade needs to be 1-1/2 inches from the cowl cover, and the upper arm should be 2-1/2 inches from the lower arm.

Reconnect the negative battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Wrenches

  • Screwdriver

  • Allen wrench

 How to Replace the Windshield Wiper Motor on a 2007 Honda CRV

Front Wiper Motor Replacement

Trace the lower side of the wipers on the windshield for a reference, using a white crayon. If the wiper arms are in an upward position, attempt to gently push them down to their resting position by hand. If they do not move easily, proceed to Step 2. Do not try to force the wipers down aggressively; they can be rotated later in the project.

Open the hood and set the hood prop. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery using a ratchet and socket. Remove the tow caps from the base of the wiper arms, where they attach to the wiper pivots. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the caps.

Remove the wiper arm mounting nuts with a ratchet and socket. Pull the wiper arms up and off of the wiper pivots, making sure you do not hit the hood with the wiper arms. Rotate the wiper arms to their resting positions, if the wipers were stuck and would not move by hand. There are small darkened lines in the lower windshield area, near the cowl. Align the wipers with these lines, then push them onto the pivots temporarily. Trace your line below the wipers for easier alignment during installation. Remove the wiper arms from the CRV.

Remove the rubberized hood seal from the wiper cowl covers. Remove the small plastic push tabs from all four wiper cowl covers using a flathead screwdriver to pry the center post up. Pull the tabs up and out of the cowl covers, using pliers if needed. Remove the two side cowl covers, then remove the two large wiper cowl covers from the base of the windshield. This process will allow you direct access to the windshield wiper motor.

Disconnect the five-pin connector from the wiper motor by hand. Remove the under cowl metal panel mounting bolts using a ratchet and socket. There are four mounting bolts across the front of the panel. Remove the three mounting nuts from each side of the under-cowl cover, on top of the right and left strut towers. Use a ratchet and socket to remove the nuts. Remove the four wiper linkage bolts at the corners of the wiper linkage.

Remove the wiper under-cowl completely from the engine compartment. Pull the wiper linkage out of the cowl area. Remove nut and washer from the wiper motor link, on the center shaft of the motor. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the link from the ball socket end of the wiper linkage. Remove the three wiper motor mounting screws with a ratchet and socket. Remove the wiper motor sub-harness from the motor by hand. Hold the wiper motor from below the linkage as you remove the screws. Do not let the motor fall out of the linkage. Remove the wiper motor.

Connect the negative battery cable to the battery and tighten it snug with your ratchet and socket. Plug the wiper motor sub-harness into the motor by hand. Set the new motor into the wiper cowl area temporarily. Move to the driver's seat of the CRV. Turn the ignition key to the accessories position. Turn the wiper motor switch to "Hi," "Low," then "Off" to place the wiper motor in the park position. Turn the ignition key off and go back to the front of the CRV. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery again.

Install the wiper motor onto the underside of the wiper linkage, by lining up the motor studs with the three holes in the linkage. Install the motor mounting nuts and tighten them to 5 foot-pounds using a 1/2-inch-drive torque wrench and a socket. Install the wiper link onto the center shaft of the motor. Align the small triangular mark on the link with the dash mark on the linkage. Install the washer and hold down nut and tighten the nut to 23 foot-pounds with your torque wrench and a socket.

Install the wiper linkage onto the link. Use pliers to compress the linkage ball socket onto the ball of the link. Make sure the link and linkage alignment marks are still in line with one another. Loosen the link nut to make adjustments if needed, then torque the link nut again. Install the wiper linkage into the wiper cowl area on the CRV. Tighten the linkage mounting bolts to 7 foot-pounds. Install the under-cowl onto the strut towers, and tighten the mounting nuts snug with a ratchet and socket. Install the five-pin electrical connector onto the wiper motor.

Install the four plastic wiper cowl covers. Install all of the push pins into their mounting holes, and depress the center pins to lock the cowl covers in place. Install the four wiper cowl mounting bolts into the front of the cowl, and tighten them snug with a ratchet and socket. Do not over-tighten these bolts, or you will crack the plastic cowl covers. Install the rubber hood seal onto the cowl cover by hand, and push down on each mounting clip with your thumb to ensure that the seal is locked down.

Install the wiper arms, using the markings you made on the windshield for an alignment guide. Push the arms down onto the wiper pivots. Install the mounting nuts onto the wiper pivots inside the base of the arms. Thread the nuts with your fingers to start them to ensure proper threading. Tighten the nuts to 22 foot-pounds with your torque wrench and a socket. Install the caps onto the bases of both wiper arms by hand.

Install the negative battery cable onto the battery, and tighten it snug with a ratchet and socket.

Rear Wiper Motor Replacement

Open the rear tailgate of the CRV. Pry the two caps off of the end of the pull-down handle using a flathead screwdriver. Remove the two handle mounting screws using a ratchet and socket, or Phillips head screwdriver. Remove the 12 body clips from the lower panel, using an appropriate Honda body panel removal tool. Pull the lower panel off of the tailgate by hand.

Lower the tailgate. Remove the cap from the base of the wiper arm, where it is attached to the wiper motor. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the cap loose. Remove the wiper mounting nut with a ratchet and socket, then remove the wiper arm from the motor completely. Pull the circular grommet off the motor stem to access the second nut. Remove the nut from the center of the wiper motor using a ratchet and socket. Remove the second grommet from beneath the nut, using your flathead screwdriver to pry it loose of needed. Raise the tailgate upward again.

Remove the four-pin connector from the wiper motor by hand. Remove the three wiper motor mounting bolts using a ratchet and socket. Hold the motor upward with one hand while you remove the bolts so the motor does not fall down and hit you. Remove the wiper motor from the tailgate.

Install the new motor onto the tailgate, aligning the center stem of the motor through the mounting hole in the tailgate. Install the three wiper motor mounting bolts and tighten them to 7 foot-pounds with your torque wrench and a socket. Move to the front of the CRV.

Turn the ignition key to the accessories position. Turn on the rear wiper motor, then turn the motor back off. This will set the motor to the park position to ensure proper alignment of the wiper blade on the rear glass. Shut the ignition key off, then move back to the rear of the CRV.

Lower the tailgate. Install the first circular grommet onto the center stem of the motor. Install the larger mounting nut onto the motor stem, and tighten it to 7 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and a socket. Install the second grommet over the larger nut. Align the wiper arm horizontally across the rear glass, then install the arm onto the wiper motor. Install the wiper mounting nut, and tighten it to 7 foot-pounds. Install the plastic cap cover by hand, onto the mounting base of the wiper arm.

Raise the tailgate back up. Install the tailgate lower panel onto the tailgate. Insert all 12 body clips into their mounting holes and secure them by pushing them inward with the tip of your screwdriver. Install the pull-down handle onto the lower panel. Install the two mounting screws and tighten them snug with a ratchet and socket or a Phillips screwdriver. Install the two end caps onto the pull-down handle and push them onto the handle by hand.

Items you will need

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • 3/8-inch-drive ratchet

  • 3/8-inch-drive socket set

  • Pliers

  • New wiper motor

  • 1/2-inch-drive torque wrench

  • 1/2-inch-drive socket set

  • Honda specific body panel removal tool kit (rear wiper motor only)

 How to Replace a Windshield Wiper Motor on an Oldsmobile Bravada

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery of your Oldsmobile Bravada with a crescent wrench. Move the cable out of the way, but be careful not to place it where it will come into contact with any metal and cause sparks or short out the wiring.

Remove the windshield-wiper blades by sliding a screwdriver under the clip and releasing the spring mechanism that holds the blade on the motor arm. Slide the wiper arms off of the motor arms and set the wiper blades aside.

Locate the Oldsmobile Bravada windshield-wiper motor that is mounted on the firewall behind the engine. Disconnect the windshield-wiper hoses and electrical connectors that are attached to the wiper motor. These should all slide off without any tools necessary.

Undo the bolts that are holding the windshield-wiper motor onto the firewall with a socket wrench and detach the motor from the firewall. Take the wiper motor out of the engine compartment and attach the new wiper motor to the firewall with the bolts.

Reattach the windshield-wiper hoses and electrical connectors to the wiper motor and then slide the blades back onto the wiper arms using a screwdriver to slide the pins back and moving the blades into place until you hear the spring click and lock into position.

Connect the negative battery cable onto the battery with a crescent wrench and then verify that the wiper motor is working by turning the ignition switch on. Set your windshield-wiper switch to on and let the motor run through a few cycles to confirm that it is operating properly. When you are satisfied it is working, turn the wiper switch off and then shut off the ignition switch.

Items you will need

  • Crescent wrench

  • Open-end wrench

  • Screwdriver

  • Socket-wrench set

 How to Replace the Windshield Wiper Motor on a Jetta

Pull off the rubber stoppers covering the nuts that hold the wiper arms to the vehicle. Wedge the flat end of a flat-head screwdriver under the stopper and pry it off. Do this for both arms.

Use the socket wrench to remove the nuts holding the arms to the vehicle.

Pull the arm upward and jiggle it back and forth until the arm comes off the bolt. Repeat this process for the other arm.

Pry off the plastic pins on the intake grating that cover the screws holding the intake grating to the bulkhead. Wedge the sharp end of a pick under the plastic pin and pry the pin off. Cover the pin with your free hand as you do this to prevent the pin flying off and becoming lost.

Unscrew the screws holding the intake grating to the bulkhead using the Phillips-head screwdriver.

Pull the intake grating off the bulkhead and lay it on the windshield for easy reassembly.

Locate the wiper motor, which looks like a large black cylinder bolted horizontally to the bulkhead, either on the passenger or driver's side of the engine compartment, depending on the year and model of the Jetta you're working on.

Unplug the power cable from the motor by depressing the sides of the plug and pulling the cable off. Detach any accessories hooked onto the wiper motor, such as a solenoid pack.

Use the socket wrench to remove the bolts holding the wiper motor to the bulkhead. Most models have between two and three bolts. Use the long extension with the socket wrench to reach the lower mounting bolts.

Grab the wiper motor with two hands and jiggle it loose from the bulkhead, as use may have glued it to the bulkhead-mating surface.

Insert the bolts from the old motor into the rubber sleeves of the new motor. The rubber sleeves dampen the motor's vibrations while in use.

Line up the bolt holes on the bulkhead with the bolts from the motor, and hand tighten each of the bolts. Finish tightening the bolts with the socket wrench.

Reattach the power cable to the wiper motor. Attach any other accessories that were draped on the wiper motor before you removed it.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set with long extension

  • Pick

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Replacement motor

About the Author

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