Tesla Model S Wipers Not Working – Here’s Why!

You’re on the highway, on the way home from work, pouring with rain, and your wipers pack in. This is a real problem. I’ve been a mechanic for 25 years, and we’ll get those wipers fixed shortly.

The most common reasons Tesla S wipers won’t work include the following:

  • Wiper blades are frozen to the windshield
  • Blown fuse
  • Worn-out wiper blades
  • Disconnected wiper linkage

There are many other possible reasons, and we’ll cover them in more detail below. In this article, we’ll look at which action represents your issue.

Red Tesla Model S in car park
Infographic - Tesla Model S Wipers Not Working

Diagnosing Tesla S Wipers not Working

There are two categories of wiper faults: mechanical in nature or electrical. The fastest way to tell which type you have is to listen to what noise your wipers make when you turn them on. Two outcomes are possible.

When you turn on the wipers, you hear the sound of:

  1. The wiper motor or wiper arms attempting to move suggests a mechanical issue, and you can check out a more detailed diagnosis here.
  2. You hear no sound at all, suggesting you have an electrical issue, and you can check out a more detailed diagnosis here.

But just before we delve deeper into a full diagnosis process, it might be helpful to look at the most common Tesla wiper faults first.

Common Causes for Wipers Not Working

Wiper blades frozen

What’s the weather like where you are located?

If it’s below zero outside, the problem could be caused by the weather. Snow is sitting heavy on your blades and not allowing them to work, or your wipers are actually frozen to the windshield. Turn your wipers off and get out of your car and inspect.

If snow is on your windshield, reach for your snow brush and clear as much away as possible. Any weight at all will prevent your wipers from achieving full or any movement.

Is the windshield frozen? If it is, then it’s quite likely that the wipers are stuck to the windshield. Your best solution is to spray with a de-icer to dislodge the blades.

Don’t attempt to pull the wipers away from the windshield. Your Tesla S needs to be in Wiper Service Mode to do this. This is done through your Info Screen:

  • Controls
  • Service
  • Wiper Service Mode – On

It may take a few minutes for them to unfreeze completely. Get back into your car and try the wipers again. If this sorted the problem, fantastic. If not, the problem will likely be a dislocated wiper linkage.

Blown fuse

If your wiper motor is under some pressure, then to save the motor, the fuse will blow. This pressure is usually caused by snow or ice buildup. If the wipers don’t work initially, try not to keep forcing them to activate. Clear any ice, snow, or debris from your windshield.

If you feel comfortable checking and changing a fuse, then you can refer to the Tesla S owner’s manual. Locate the fuse for the wiper motor and lift it out. If the wire is broken, then the fuse has blown. You can replace it if you feel it blew because of excess weight. You must replace like with like. Fuses are widely available online and in the local parts store.

Worn-out wiper blades

The last common cause we’ll look at is your wiper blades. The blades might go back and forth, but they are not clearing the rain away. Wiper blades last anywhere from 6 -12 months. But as I say, if you live in a very wet State, then the time is reduced.

If only sections of your windshield are clearing or only one side, then it’s time to treat your Tesla S to a new set of blades. These can be purchased directly from Tesla or any online parts store. You must purchase the correct specification for your Tesla S.

Tesla only supplies Bosch wiper blades, and it’s advisable if you are going to purchase them elsewhere that you select Bosch also. The Tesla S has a 28″ Driver Side push button blade and a 17″ Passenger Side push-button blade. The most common selection is Bosch Aerotwin Twin Blades.

You must put the wipers into Wiper Service Mode to fit the blades.

This is done through your Info Screen:

  • Controls
  • Service
  • Wiper Service Mode – On

You will need your new blades at the ready and a soft cloth.

  • Gently lift the wiper away from the windshield
  • Press the locking fob
  • Slide the used blade out
  • Place the soft cloth under the wiper arm
  • Insert the new blade into the locking fob (ensuring you have the correct side)

Once both new blades are fitted, giving your windshield a good clean is a good idea. The best way to do this is with some alcohol wipes.

If you have looked at all the common faults and have had no success, then a mechanical or electrical fault may be the issue.

Mechanical Causes for Wipers Not Working

Disconnected Wiper Linkage

Disconnected wiper linkages are the first mechanical problem we will assess. If you can hear noise, ie, a motor running, but your wipers are not moving, then the fault is most likely a mechanical issue. Is this the first time this has happened, or have your wipers acted peculiarly for a while?

Your wipers work by a mechanical and electrical unit. The mechanical unit is made up of linkage arms that are connected to the motor. It lives under your hood, at the bottom of the windshield. If you can hear a noise, but nothing is happening, the most likely reason is that one of the linkages has popped off.

Why does this happen? The linkage arms are held together with bushings. Unfortunately, these bushings are made from plastic/rubber. As they age, they become brittle and start to break down.

Wiper linkages fail in regions that have a lot of rain or snow. The linkages are designed to last the car’s life, but unfortunately, as the saying goes, ‘They don’t build things like they used to. In overly wet regions, the wipers get more use than average, but the linkages work even harder in cold climates with a lot of snow.

The wipers are turned on, the blades try to move but can’t because of the weight of the snow, and all the excess pressure goes to the linkages, which then give way and disconnect. The bushings can be replaced, but unless you’re pretty handy with a wrench, I would go ahead and organize a Service Center Check. This can be booked through your Tesla App.

Electrical Causes for Wipers Not Working

If, on the other hand, there is no noise when you turn on your wipers, the fault is more likely an electrical issue. Several components make up the electrical setup of your wipers. These include a fault in one or more of the following:

  • Wiper Yoke
  • Controller
  • Motor
  • Relay
  • Wiring

All of the above are technical problems that may need specialized tools and know-how. It’s always a good idea to contact Tesla when a larger problem arises. Especially if your car is still under warranty. Your Tesla S is, after all, an EV, and it’s never a good idea to play around with high voltage.

I’ve written a ton on common Tesla issues, which hopefully you won’t ever experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:

Check out the Tesla troubleshooting page for problem Teslas.

Check out the Tesla charging page for common Tesla charging problems.

Check out the Tesla category page for a list of popular Tesla posts.

If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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