This paper describes a test-based process used to identify structural characteristics of a vehicle windshield wiper system that contribute to customer impression of the sound. The method of paired comparisons determined which wiper system sounds customers preferred. Annoyance ratings of sound components then identified contributors to customer preference. Wiper motor noise was identified as the major annoyance factor affecting system sound quality. This information guided a study of the structures responsible for radiated motor noise. Laser based test methods were used to interrogate the structures clearly identifying transmission paths into the surrounding structure. Paths were then modified reducing structure-borne motor sound as measured with acoustic retests. Thus, a logical technique for hardware testing and modification guided by customer perceptions is presented allowing efforts to be focussed on the most critical aspects of vehicle sound quality.