Wipers Up

While conducting a course the other week I showed ABC’s 20/20 video from 2002 that most of us have seen many times. I had the opportunity to be a technical advisor on that segment and I believe there are three main take away points from that video. They are that primers must be used if they are required; safe-drive-away times must be accurately communicated to the customer; and that installers must wear gloves when handling the glass.

Obviously, the technicians shown in the video were not adequately trained and/or supervised. However, I saw another mistake that all three installers made, the issue of which was not used in the finished video’s narrative. All of them used the “wipers up” installation method. Check it out the video by clicking here.

The wipers-up Installation method is the failure to pull or displace the cowl during the windshield installation. Installers can be tempted to do it because, by not removing the wipers and cowl panel, it saves time. However, those who employ this method must then tuck the glass under the cowl and into the adhesive bead. This is wrong. The cowl panel has to be removed or displaced adequately so that the windshield is placed onto the bead of adhesive and not into the bead of adhesive. There is no way a windshield can be bonded adequately to withstand an airbag deployment or a body thrown into it when the lower bead is not completely solid. And, there is no way that a lower bead can be solid to the glass when it is tucked under a firmly attached cowl panel.


I hope by now that most technicians understand the dangers of tucking a windshield versus removing the cowl. For the life of me, I do not understand why an installer would advertise the fact that they are shortcutting an installation and possibly endangering their customer. “Look everyone; I’m lifting the wipers so I can do this installation unsafely for my customer. Call me for all your automotive glass installation needs?” Yet, I drive up and down streets all over this continent and see automotive glass technicians giving the wiper-up salute. Is a few minutes saved worth the possible injury to your customers?

The other reason I thought of writing this post is a recall I saw on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects list. It concerns the wipers on a few models of the Newmar RVs. Here is the notice for that recall. If you are a shop that does a fair share of recreation vehicles, you may want to make note of this recall and inform your customers of the issue.

Report Receipt Date: MARCH 16, 2015

NHTSA Campaign Number: 15V149000

Component(s): VISIBILITY

Potential Number of Units Affected: 153

Vehicle Make, Model, Model Year(s)

  • NEWMAR ESSEX 2014-2015
  • NEWMAR KING AIRE 2014-2015
  • NEWMAR LONDON AIRE 2014-2015

Manufacturer: Newmar Corp.


Newmar Corporation (Newmar) is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 King Aire, Essex, London Aire, and Mountain Aire motor homes manufactured November 26, 2013, to November 11, 2014. The wiper blades may separate from the wiper arm connectors, especially when the wipers are used at the high speed setting.


If the wiper blades separate from the wiper arms, the driver may have reduced visibility, increasing the risk of a crash.


The remedy for this recall is still under development. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Newmar customer service at (800)731-8300.


Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.