If you live in the Upstate New York you've most likely already taken a side in this age-old debate based in tradition, folklore and just plain 'ole common sense.

Take a look at any parking lot this week and you'll see two schools of thought at play; those who leave their windshield wipers up in the snow and those who leave them down.

Whenever there is significant snowfall predicted you'll likely see cars with their windshield wipers raised up in the air, saluting the oncoming storm. The reasoning behind this is that it will make snow removal easier. Critics of this practice say it's unnecessary and could even damage your car. So who's to believe?

After combing the websites of countless windshield wiper manufacturers, listening to car care experts and soliciting the advice of radio listeners throughout the Hudson Valley, I believe we've finally found the right answer.

But first, let's talk about the arguments for leaving your wipers up or down. Those who leave them up claim that it not only helps clear the windshield after a storm but also protects the wiper. By leaving the wipers up, the wiper blade won't freeze to the windshield. Also, those who mistakenly leave their wipers on won't burn out the motor when starting up the car and having the wiper try to move under a heavy pile of snow.

On the other hand, those who leave their wipers down say that leaving them up is actually more dangerous. The thought is that putting the wiper upright will stress out the spring and cause the wiper to loosen, no longer fitting snugly against the windshield. They also argue that leaving windshield wipers up can lead to vandalism, with people snapping them off while walking down the street.

So what's the right thing to do?

While leaving your windshield wipers up does make it easier to clear the snow off of your windshield, most experts agree that the convenience doesn't outweigh the risk. In fact, placing your wipers in the upright position is completely unnecessary if you follow the proper procedures for starting your car in the winter.

It's suggested that you clear off your windshield as much as possible before turning the car on. This will get all of the frozen snow off of the glass before it warms up and starts melting. As you clean off the rest of the car, the defrost will melt any ice that could be stuck to the wiper. Most new cars even have heated wipers or extra warming elements positioned on the lower windshield to quickly solve this issue.

In freezing temperatures, having your wipers spring-loaded and ready to crash back into your windshield can be another potential disaster. Car windows have been known to crack or chip as heavy ice-encrusted wipers snap back down on the glass.

All in all, it seems as though your best option is to just leave your wipers where they are. If you simply take the time to properly clear off your car and defrost the windshield you'll be just fine.

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