Millions of drivers risk being fined for faulty windscreen wipers - here’s how to check them

Monday, 12th October 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 12th October 2020, 10:49 am
Millions of drivers risk being fined for faulty windscreen wipers - here’s how to check them (Photo: Shutterstock)
Millions of drivers risk being fined for faulty windscreen wipers - here’s how to check them (Photo: Shutterstock)

Millions of car owners are at risk of being fined after a new poll discovered that 17 per cent of motorists claim to have driven with faulty or broken windscreen wiper blades.

The poll, conducted by Halfords, found that 6.5 million cars across the UK are being driven with faulty wiper blades.

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Rebecca Davis, Halfords’ wet weather expert says, “Strong wind and torrential rain could cause trouble for those with dodgy wiper blades. Our research shows that there are likely to be many motorists out there struggling to see as their wiper blades fail to cope with the elements.”

Will I get a penalty for faulty wipers?

Having faulty wipers could see motorists hit with a fixed penalty notice for driving a vehicle with a part in a defective condition.

The driver’s actions could also be viewed by the police as careless driving, which carries a £100 on-the-spot fine but can lead to a maximum fine of £5,000 if the case is taken to court.

When do I need to change my wipers?

The new research also found that 20 per cent of drivers don’t know when their wiper blades need to be changed, while 15 per cent are worried about driving in the rain and cited it as a reason for not getting behind the wheel during the autumn and winter months.

You must change a wiper blade when it no longer properly clears the windscreen. If you don’t, this would cause a vehicle to fail its MOT.

Halfords’ research discovered that 16 per cent of drivers would wait for a garage to tell them a wiper blade should be replaced.

Your car can fail its MOT if:

  • The washers do not provide enough liquid to clear the windscreen in conjunction with the windscreen wipers
  • The windscreen wipers are missing, insecure or in poor condition so that they do not clear the windscreen to give the driver a clear view of the road ahead
  • The windscreen is chipped or cracked. The maximum damage size is 10mm in the drivers’ line of vision (a vertical strip 290mm wide centred on the steering wheel), 40mm elsewhere in the rest of the area swept by the wiper blades

How do I check my wipers?

You can easily check when to change your windscreen wipers by simply operating the wipers and the washers. If the blades don’t clear the water effectively from the screen and leave areas untouched or smears across the driver’s view then this may result in an MOT fail.

Wiper blades do wear over time and become damaged by grit and dirt, so they need replacing at regular intervals.