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How to Fix Your Volvo’s Headlight Wiper Motors

headlight wiper resize - How to Fix Your Volvo's Headlight Wiper Motors

If your Volvo headlight wiper seems to have a mind of it’s own or just doesn’t care to work, take a look at the headlight wiper motor, as electrical connections can become loose over time, gears can break, and the plastic motor casing is fairly weak.

Of course, as with any automotive DIY, before you dive too deep, take some time to educate yourself on the how the motor works and its parts (grabbing a Hayne’s Manual is a good start). Educating yourself beforehand helps you avoid unnecessary damage down the road.

If you’ve got a headlight wiper problem, you’re not alone. Our MVS users have discussed this problem in depth.

MVS Forum member mailee asks:

The nearside (UK market) headlight wiper on my 1997 850 T5 has stopped working and it looks like the motor. Can these things be taken apart and repaired or must I buy a new one? Would one of the 7 or 9 series ones fit? Looked on E-bay but they seem to be holding high prices!

MVS Forum member floryed answered, giving a step-by-step guide on how to fix a broken headlight motor by jerry-rigging the rotary switching, saving you $150 (if that’s the problem, of course):

I have a 1995 850 GLT, and I fixed my driver’s side motor. If it is the same, than it may be the same fix. It was actually a loose gear, and a loose main connection. I took it apart, and fixed the gears by just putting them back together. Part of the problem was that something had pushed the wiper in too far, and the back cover came loose, and the gears fell apart. Not the best of designs, but I think that my cover was broken, due to the pushing in of the wiper… after all, it’s only plastic.
Anyway, take the motor out, and check it with a 12 volt power supply. If it works, than it’s the connections. My motor has a rotary switch that disconnects the main piece of copper from the connection, hence disconnecting the relay from power, and shutting off the wiper, even though the rotary connector completes a rotary cycle and lets the copper piece reconnect. It is reconnected so that when you press the button in the car again, the relay is reenergized, and the circuit is complete. Okay, I’ve explained how it works, now I will tell you how to fix it, without buying a new one ($150).
Where the main connection is (the copper piece), the piece wears out, and becomes very bendable, and does not make connection after the rotary switch. I took, and drilled a hole in the side of the plastic motor housing, and put a plastic screw, so as that when the screw went in, it contacted the copper piece and put pressure on it so it would complete the circuit when needed. Put silicone all over the outside of the screw so it doesn’t create a short, and then plug the motor in. If you activate the motor, and it shuts off at the proper time, than the screw is in the correct place. If the motor keeps going, than the screw needs to be backed off a little bit, because the rotary switch never deactivates the switch because there is too much pressure on it. Try it after backing off the screw, and wait until it works properly. Put the silicone on after it is all checked. Let me know how it works out. It should only take about a 1 hour after you get the motor out.
To read the rest of the responses, head over to the forum – just click the blue link below. Other wipers on your Volvo giving you problems? Check out the Related Posts for some other info on DIY, repair, and maintenance!

1 Comment

My headlight wiper was not working. This writeup from a SAAB site worked well for me.

In my case, I just ran the motor (after removal) of of the battery until all the sparks went away (in both directions, without load (or resistor!!)).

After the first reassembly, it still did not want to work for some reason, so I did it again and cleaned off the quite excessive grease on the post used to turn off the wiper when in park position (activated by the “cog”). Now it works like a charm (without even disassembling the motor!).

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