While driving in a heavy rainstorm, a windshield wiper failed (apparently
at the hub). Fortunately, it was the passenger side or we would have been in
serious trouble. Two GM dealers did not have one in stock, but one had started to
remove it after removing the hex-nut, but it did not seem to come off easily so
we left it on. (a replacement wiper-arm would cost about $33). I was prepared to
purchase the first one available, as well as also replacing the driver side on
assumption that if one went bad, the other might not be far behind.
Fortunately, I dropped by a small town repair garage to at least learn how to
remove it. He SIMPLY put a socket wrench on the nut and tightened it down with a
substantial amount of torque (even thought it was not loose before). He also
torqued down the driver's side, which should prevent it failing in a similar
fashion. He didn't explain any theory of what had happened but he approached it
with a certainty that I believe he had experienced this before. His charge was so
low that I felt obligated to give him a substantial tip.
(Do any mechanics out there challenge this solution, or have an explanation of
whether some irreversible damage has been done to the hub? It has continued to
work fine during more rainy drives).
If this is a satisfactory solution, it occurs to me that it would be an extra-
ordinary opportunity to be dishonestly exploited in a rip-off.
The most common reason the spline on either the wiper arm and/or wiper
transmission strip is usually due to turning the wipers on when they are
frozen to the windshield, which causes the motor to over power the frozen
arm and strip the splines. Second reason is the arms where off for some
repair reason and improperly reinstalled
It's not a "rip-off" to install new wiper arms. The fellow that
fixed your wipers also did a legit repair too. It's the hub that
actually has the splines cast into it. The wiper arm does not
have splines, but you create them when you install the arm
and tighten the nut down. The wiper arm is made out of
a softer pot metal, and it simply forms itself to the splines
on the hub. You may be fine for a while, you may be
fine forever...who knows. But for a dealership (who has
to stand behind every repair), it's much simpler to install
a new wiper arm, and torque it down properly. Pretty
much guaranteed then that it will not fail any time soon.
If this fix that you just got fails, is that tech going to
refund you your money and the tip? Doubt it, and
he shouldn't, as the repair is one of those "hey, lets
give this a shot and if it works, you are on your way
for very little money" type of repairs.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.