Windshield Wiper Blades – Things you Must Know!
There is nothing worse than having your windshield wiper shred while you’re trying to drive through a torrential downpour. Windshield wiper blades are among the most important safety features on a vehicle, second only to the brakes. So you must care for them and replace them regularly, so you don’t end up in a situation where the wiper fails during the worst rainstorm of the year.
Patrick James of First Brands Group, a manufacturer of premium auto parts, answers common questions about the use, care and replacement of windshield wipers.
When Do I Need New Wiper Blades?
It’s not hard to figure out when it’s time to replace your wiper blades. They practically tell you by squeaking or flapping against the windshield when you use them. Or they aren’t clearing all the water. As they are exposed to the elements over time, the blades start to get hard and brittle and aren’t as flexible. This can cause the blades to crack and allow water to get through and leave streaks on your windshield. Worn out blades may also make unusual sounds, like chattering, which could mean it doesn’t have the right contact with your windshield.
How Often Should I Replace Windshield Wipers?
Automotive experts recommend replacing your windshield wipers at least twice a year, in the spring and fall. The wiper blades are a part of your vehicle’s safety system and, if they fail, it could present a hazard when driving. So better be safe than sorry and replace them if they start to fray.
How to Make Windshield Wipers Last Longer?
By cleaning your windshield regularly, you can help to extend the life of the wiper blades. Get in the habit of cleaning your windshield of dead bugs and other debris whenever you stop at the gas station to fill up your tank.
If you live in a colder climate, make sure to clear ice off your wipers and snow off your windshield before you drive off. Snow and ice can damage the rubber on the blades and you’ll have to replace them sooner than you planned. Today, wiper blades on most vehicles have an arm that lifts off the surface of the windshield, so the blades don’t get caked with snow and ice. You can also use rubbing alcohol to prevent the blades from refreezing and sticking to the windshield.
What Should I Look for in New Wiper Blades?
Beam blades are a better option than traditional wiper blades because they are curved and designed to conform to your windshield to clear it of water and debris without streaks.
Blades made of synthetic rubber are more resistant to extreme temperatures and less likely to deteriorate due to the sun. The rubber should be attached directly to the wiper blade frame, creating an unbreakable seam.
When in doubt, ask employees at your local auto parts store what they recommend. They can usually steer you in the right direction of higher quality, durable wiper blades that will stand up to the elements and daily wear and tear.