Windshield wipers are powered by a small electric motor, usually mounted on the firewall or under the cowl (the area under the windshield’s base). The motor activates linkage that moves the wiper arms back and forth. On vehicles with a rear window wiper, a separate motor powers the one in the rear. Signs that a wiper motor is about to fail include slow or intermittent operation, wipers that will operate at only one speed, or arms that stop in the middle of the windshield when turned off. If your wipers don’t work, the fault could also lie with other parts of the wiper system. In the winter, for example, trying to use the wipers when the blades are stuck to the windshield because of ice or snow can blow the fuse for the motor or trip a circuit breaker. Other possible causes are the interior switch that controls the wipers failing, wires in the system being damaged, or the linkage that pushes and pulls the wiper arms breaking. Moving parts in the linkage may also be stuck from corrosion and/or gunk and need lubrication.