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I have a 2004 Mazda 3 with fully loaded. It's a higher

I have a 2004 Mazda...
I have a 2004 Mazda 3 with fully loaded. It's a higher mileage car, and I am having a problem with the wipers. Some days I can turn them on and they work. Other days (most days) they do not work. When they work all will work; high, low, auto, pulse, washer pump.When they don't work nothing will work; except for the washer pump.Has anyone seen this problem before and what was it from experience to fix it?
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Answered in 1 minute by:
10/10/2017
Jared D
Jared D, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mazda
Satisfied Customers: 1,975
Experience: Shop Supervisor at County Fleet
Verified

Good evening,

What you describe sounds like a bad multi-function switch. The switch can lose contacts, usually with the power circuit, and cause the wipers to work intermittently. This is fairly common. Do you plan to fix it yourself?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
if possible. Have you seen this before on a Mazda 3?

Do the wipers ever stop in the up position?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Perhaps once. But usually when they work they will continue to do so. Or if they don't work I will leave it in the 'on' position and ten minutes or whatever later all of a sudden they will start up. No they rarely stay in the up position.

Yes, a couple of times. Also on the Ford Fusion and Focus (same basic part design). Most of the time, however the headlights will act up at the same time. They stay on with the switch off, or don't work, or similar.

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If they ever stop in the up position then the problem could be in the wiper motor. This is a little more common than a bad multi-switch.

The wiper motor has a switch and a circuit inside of it that tells the wiper motor when to turn on and off based on the position of the wipers. This can cause intermittent wiper function also.

If the headlights never act up, but the wipers have occasionally stopped in the up position, then I would start by replacing the wiper motor rather than the multi-switch.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The headlight work normally outside of the car. But sometimes when I turn them on the inside the display doesn't dim and the climate control etc are not backlit. Usually after a few minutes the inside swithes on and the display is dimmed all of a sudden.

Well then that could be the multi-switch. To be sure which one is acting up you would need a scan tool that can monitor the switch data. You would need to see if the scan tool shows the wipers are on when they aren't working. If it does then the multi-switch is fine and the motor is bad.

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Without a scan tool you would need to turn the wipers on and check for the appropriate power signals at the motor. You will need a multi meter. If the power signals are fine but the wipers aren't working then the motor is bad.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok. Is there a relay or smart junction box involved somewhere as well?

There is a junction box in the passenger compartment. Mazda released a bulletin about loose connections causing intermittent electrical problems a few years ago, but they typically involved the AC not working, power windows and locks not working, etc. It could include intermittent wiper operation as well. Here is the bulletin and what to do:

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I'm going to call it a night. Please let me know if you need additional info.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you very much.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok, just let me know what wires to check at the motor and I will be glad to accept your answer.

So here are a couple of digrams to help:

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Jared D
Jared D
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Category: Mazda
Satisfied Customers: 1,975
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