It's easy to feel helpless as a car owner in winter. Cold weather can make everything from your car locks to your windshields harder to use. Propping up your windshield wipers may feel like a small way to exercise control before a big storm, but this trick is less useful than you think it is. As The Drive reports, sticking out your car's wiper blades can actually do more harm than good.

Some motorists pull up their windshield wipers in the winter to prevent them from freezing to the glass in snowy or icy weather. It's true that reconfiguring your wipers in advance makes it easier to clear the windshield, but you may regret this so-called hack in the long-run.

Windshield wipers simply aren't built to point up and away from a car. The blades are designed to withstand pressure from one direction—the front. Without the support of the windshield behind them—and with the undersides vulnerable to wind—the wipers suddenly become a lot weaker. All it takes is one strong gust of wind to damage the plastic gearing that keeps the tools in place.

Sometimes the harm caused by propping up your windshield wipers is hard to notice. Even if the blades appear to be working properly, they may be loose and worn down. A wiper that hits the glass and "chatters" as you drive has likely been damaged.

Covering your entire windshield in the winter is a much more efficient way to protect it from bad weather. You don't even need to invest in a special windshield cover—throwing an old rug or tarp over it should do. Here are more hacks for protecting your vehicle in the winter.

[h/t The Drive]