Dear Car Talk:
Is it OK to raise up my windshield wipers in the winter? I see people doing that sometimes, to prevent the wipers from freezing to the windshield. Will it weaken the springs over time? -- Fred
This is a trick that people use in the Great Frozen North, Fred.
When there's a snow, sleet or ice storm coming, some people will raise their wiper arms away from the windshield the night before. That way, if the windshield ices up, the blades will be out of the way, making it easier to get to the windshield with your pick axe the next morning. It also saves you the trouble of having to separate the iced-over wiper blades from the frozen windshield.
I suppose it's one of those small pleasures we Northerners take. "Hey, I may have to dig my car out of 4 feet of wet snow and chip ice off my windshield an eighth of a centimeter at a time until I can't feel my fingers, but at least I don't have to clean my windshield wipers!"
Most people do this a handful of times per winter. And that's not going to harm the springs, which are pretty robust. If you're doing this every night, Fred, then forget about your wiper springs, relocate to Honolulu.
Those springs are responsible for keeping the wipers pushed up against the windshield, so they're being worked all the time anyway. And if, for some reason, the springs on your wiper arms do weaken over time, and you get chattering or poor wiper to windshield contact, you can always replace the arms. On the average car, replacements will cost you 25 or 30 bucks a piece. So it's not a big deal.
There are also other ways to reduce the amount of work you have to do on snowy mornings. There's the heated garage, of course. But if you don't have one of those, you can put a tarp over the windshield, and just pull it (and the snow covering it) off before you drive away. Or get one big enough to cover the roof and hang down over all your windows.
In fact, that'd make it nice and dark in the car, so you might want to consider sleeping in there, too.