Temperature extremes can take a toll on windshield wipers, cracking and splitting the rubber blades. After surviving the summer heat, now’s the time to replace worn wiper blades to ensure maximum performance and safety – before the wet, icy and snowy weather of the winter season sets in.
How Often Should I Change My Windshield Wipers?
Heat, rain, snow, ice and dirt crack, split and break down the rubber compound of blades, while components such as spring tensioners loosen and wear out over time. Because of the extreme abuse wipers endure, it is recommended to replace windshield wipers at least twice a year to ensure a clear view of the road in inclement weather to safeguard passengers and other drivers. Your windshield itself is also at risk of becoming scratched over time if continually exposed to dirty or damage wiper blades.
Finding a Convenient Time to Change Blades
If you’re the forgetful type, most shops examine and recommend wiper blade replacement during other maintenance, such as oil changes. Replacement typically ranges in the $10-30 range, with minimal to no labor charge when blades are installed as part of routine service. If you’re the DIY type, make sure to replace both driver and passenger blades and rear blades (if you have them) at the same time. Replacing the entire blade is far easier than swapping out the cheaper inserts. Though it can save a few dollars, identifying the correct rubber insert attachment and puzzling out how they work with your existing blades can be maddening.
Think Your Wipers Are Still Good? How to Tell if Wipers Need Replacing
It’s a good idea to inspect wiper blades regularly, such as when you wash your car. New and unworn blades should have a straight, clean edge that slides evenly across windshield glass without leaving streaks. If it’s been a few months since blade replacement, look for signs of worn wiper blades which include:
- Streaking during operation.
- A scraping noise as blades move across the windshield.
- Frayed, cracked, or split blades. (Rubbing your finger along the rubber can help you locate damage.)
- Easy peeling or dry rot of the rubber material.
- Blades that fold/lay flat against the windshield with the pressure of the arm.
Windshield Wiper Maintenance
Now that you have new wipers, keep them in tip-top condition and extend their lifespan by reducing excess wear-and-tear. Tips to keep your wiper blades in good shape include:
- Cleaning them with glass cleaner and a clean cloth from time to time, such as when you wash your car.
- Clearing tree, pollen and other debris from your windshield before driving and windshield wiper operation.
- Applying a water repelling windshield treatment every few months.
- Using a windshield washer fluid that is right for your climate, such as washer fluid with antifreeze in the winter.
- Pulling the wiper arms up when your vehicle is parked outside in cold weather to prevent wipers from becoming frozen and stuck to the windshield.
- Using the defroster to dislodge stuck blades, snow and ice. (Prying or knocking the blades free can result in a broken windshield!)
Worn out wiper blades left you with a poor view of the road? The specialists at Glass Doctor can help. Contact us to learn more about our fast and affordable windshield repair and replacement services today.
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