Windshield Wiper Blade Safety & Performance
Extreme environmental situations (snowstorms, violent thunderstorms, excessive heat/cold) typically remind us that windshield wiper blades are a safety feature of your vehicle, not a luxury. Traditional rubber wiper blades will usually break down 6-12 months after installation and exposure to the harsh environmental elements. Elements that can have adverse effects on your windshield wiper blades include dirt, debris, ultraviolet rays that will eventually break down your rubber blades. Failure to take action on faulty wiper blades will lead to wiper blade chatter, skipping, streaking (unwiped areas of the windshield), and splitting of the damaged wiper blade squeegee.
Following is a list of tips to help ensure optimum reliability and performance of your windshield wipers throughout the year.
- Check the condition of the wiper blades a minimum of 2 times per year. Early in the fall and early spring. Do this by lifting the wiper arm off the windshield and use a finger to feel the wiper blades rubber or silicone edge. If the rubber or silicone is unyielding or fragmented, produces streaks while in use, then it is time to replace your vehicles wiper blades.
- Keep your wiper blades clean. Wipe off any excess debris, bug splats, dirt, tree sap, and tar from the lifted windshield wipers squeegee and windshield surface
- Replacing your windshield wipers. Consider replacing the wiper blade pair – if one windshield wiper blade is bad, the probability of the second failing is worth considering.
- When it is time to replace the tires on your vehicle due to wear, you usually replace all 4 tires. The same is true with your windshield wipers. This does not take into account acute damage to either the tire or wiper blade (in which case you may find yourself looking for a single replacement), but for general wear and tear use.
- Inspect your windshield for chips. Either repair the chips in your windshield or replace the damaged windshield as these flaws will cause a breakdown in your wiper blades and your overall wiper blade cleaning performance.
- Determine the correct wiper blade size for your specific vehicle. The driver side wiper blade, passenger side wiper blade, and if applicable, rear wiper blade are not always the same size, so be sure to check your owner’s manual, measure, or use a wiper blade size chart product selector to enter the make, model, and year of your vehicles correct wiper blade size.
- A wiper blade size chart or wiper blade product selector should take into account the proper adapter that will connect your replacement wiper blade to the wiper arm of your vehicle.
- Replace entire wiper blade instead of opting for a wiper refill (squeegee). While you may save money with a wiper insert, other factors need to be considered before taking this approach.
- Windshield wiper blades can break down due to use and non-use. If a wiper blade is left in the default position for an extended period of time, an arc or bent wiper blade frame can develop, causing skipping, wiper blade chatter (which will break down the wiper blades squeegee faster), and streaking of the blade while in use.
- You will achieve better windshield contact with your windshield wiper and more efficient wiper blade performance by replacing the entire unit.