Windscreen wiper woes

I recently had to get new wiper blades for my car, a 2002 Ford Ikon 1.6i LX. A friend helped me to fit a well-known after market brand of blades that are claimed to be made of high-grade rubber and to provide a very long service life. But soon thereafter the wipers started juddering.

The old ones, which were the original ones fitted by Ford, never did that. What causes the juddering? I find it irritating and can't believe it's healthy for the wiper linkages and the motor.

- Liz


Liz, juddering wipers are one of those irritating problems for which there is no single, sure-fire answer. Each "expert" will have his own theory about the causes and will vouch that this is what he did and it worked like a charm.

I think there are several possible causes, sometimes operating in combination. I suggest you try the following steps, starting with the simplest remedies:

  • Clean the windscreen and wiper blades thoroughly. Methylated spirits on a paper towel works well. You will be surprised at what comes off on the towel even from a windscreen that seemed clean.
  • Always give a quick squirt of diluted washer fluid (from the reservoir) on the windscreen before activating the wipers. The soapiness in the washer fluid will provide lubrication for the blades, at least initially. If juddering returns after a while, it's time to move on to the next step.
  • Bite the bullet and buy a set of genuine Ford-branded wiper blades.
  • If the judder persists, you have at least eliminated the blades as a cause. The attention then shifts to the angle at which the wiper arms hold the blades, the pressure exerted by the spring-loaded arms, binding or wear in the linkages, or problems inside the wiper motor. The latter is unlikely, wiper motors are normally very reliable. If it comes to this stage, I suggest you seek advice from an experienced Ford workshop.