Chris Porter twice headed Motherwell in front in the crucial SPL clash but the hosts were pegged back late in each half.
The first blow was self-inflicted when Stephen Craigan headed into his own net seconds before the break and Wilkie scored from yet another header four minutes from time.
Motherwell looked comfortably set to move four points clear in third place but the draw leaves the three-way race for Europe wide open with Hibernian boosted by the result.
With so much at stake, and an uneven pitch and high wind to contend with, there was little flowing football and the fact that the four goals came from headers was significant.
Dundee United striker Jon Daly replaced Mark de Vries in the visitors' line-up to make his first start since November as he continued his comeback from knee and ankle injuries.
The tall frontman put Motherwell under early pressure while United midfielder Willo Flood came close several times in the opening 15 minutes.
Graeme Smith tipped over his 25-yard strike and the Irishman saw another shot deflected wide from the edge of the box.
Flood's best chance came when Steven Hammell failed to control a square pass from fellow full-back Paul Quinn, but the midfielder blasted over from 18 yards.
Motherwell, with David Clarkson and Bob Malcolm back from suspension, took the lead with their first decent attack when Porter scored in the 17th minute.
Stephen Hughes hooked a cross from the left and Clarkson headed the ball into the path of Porter to nod home from six yards.
Porter was almost played in on two more occasions but failed to get his shot away on the bumpy pitch.
Motherwell survived a scare between those chances when Smith fumbled Danny Grainger's near-post cross, but the goalkeeper's handling was more assured moments later when he held Flood's 20-yard free-kick.
Malcolm drove a 20-yard free-kick into the sidenetting before Wilkie headed just beyond the far post at the other end after Smith stopped coming out for a Flood corner.
United's chances were drying up but Craigan gifted them an equaliser seconds before the break when he headed into his own net after Hunt had nodded a Morgaro Gomis cross into the danger zone.
Marc Fitzpatrick came into Motherwell's four-man midfield for Hughes and the home side took the game to United.
Zaluska fumbled a high ball amid a series of corners and Mark McGhee's men regained the lead in the 50th minute from another set-piece.
McCormack whipped in a wicked free-kick from the left byline and Porter nodded home from a yard out at the far post.
McCormack's free-kick from the other side caused more problems as Quinn and Porter diverted the ball safely into the hands of Zaluska.
Wilkie volleyed over at the other end after winning Flood's free-kick in the air, but United were struggling to create chances.
Motherwell were looking the more dangerous side with Clarkson and Simon Lappin dealing better than most with the difficult surface, although United almost carved out an opening when Sean Dillon's cross was just too far in front of Hunt.
Lappin curled a free-kick a yard over the bar as 'Well looked like seeing out the final stages, but United levelled from another high ball into the box in the 86th minute.
Daly put Malcolm under pressure from Grainger's long throw, delivered from the right, and Wilkie reached the second ball to head home at the far post.
Motherwell had a glorious chance for a winning goal in stoppage-time when Clarkson dispossessed Sean Dillon.
But substitute Keith Lasley sliced wide with the last kick of the game after being played in down the right channel.