Driving during a storm is hazardous enough without the added danger of diminished visibility due to worn out or damaged wiper blades. It’s not a good idea to wait until the worst storm of the season to discover that your wiper blades need to be replaced.
The hot, dry summer season causes even more damage to wiper blades than wet winter weather. The telltale signs are streaks on your windshield, or blades that skip during wiping.
Inspect windshield wiper blades whenever you clean your windshield. Do not wait until rubber is worn or brittle to replace them. Wiper blades should be replaced at least once per year, and more often if smearing or chattering occurs.
In addition to inspecting the blades, turn on your washer and wiper systems to find out how well the wipers clear liquid from your windshield. Even blades that look okay can be damaged and won’t clean your windshield well. Don’t forget to check your rear windshield wiper too.
Check their condition
Lift each wiper arm off the glass and run your finger along its rubber edge. If the rubber is rigid or chipped, or produces nonstop streaking, you need new wipers.
Keep them clean
Put windshield washer fluid or mild dish liquid on a damp sponge or rag and wipe debris off the rubber and the windshield where the wiper rests.
Keep them free
If wipers are frozen to the glass, use the defroster and hand-clear snow and ice from around them before turning them on. Use windshield washer fluid with antifreeze.
Replace them in pairs
If one is worn out, its mate will surely die soon.
Get the correct size and type
Look in your car’s owner’s manual, measure the blade, or ask at an auto-parts store. On some cars, one blade is longer than the other, so check both, as well as the rear wiper if your car has one.
Pull, and then push
Usually you just pull the old wiper off the metal arm and push the new one on until it’s tight. You might need a small screwdriver or hammer to tap the old blade off.
Replacing the rubber part of the wiper with a new insert saves money but requires deft use of needle-nose pliers. It’s often better to replace the whole blade.
Conventional blades are made from natural-rubber compounds that attract, rather that repel water, and the wiper simply spreads the liquid across the windshield surface. In addition, unlike traditional rubber blades, Hydro Clear blades will not tear or rot due to ozone or ultraviolet-induced wear, and will remain flexible under a vast range of temperatures.
These wipers won’t lift off the windshield in blustery conditions either — the aerodynamic design ensures tight and consistent contact with the windshield at high driving speed and wind conditions.
Take a minute to check your wiper blades when the sun is shining. You’ll be glad you did the next time you’re driving in a downpour.