Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

When to replace wiper blades

Replace wiper blades

Wiper blades don’t last forever and you don’t want to be driving with worn wiper blades in rainy weather or winter. So I’ll give you some tips on when to replace wiper blades and which types to buy.

When to replace wiper blades

Wiper blades last 6 months to one year, depending on how often you use them, the amount of dust and dirt in your area and the quality of the blade you install. Replace wiper blades in the Fall before winter arrives so you’ll have the best wiping action when the snow files. Or, replace wiper blades in early Spring before Spring rains.

Signs of worn wiper blades

Wiper blades are simply rubber squeegees mounted on a spring arm to maintain wiping tension. The spring arm doesn’t wear, but the sharp edge on the rubber squeegee does. When the sharp rubber edge wears, it smears the water instead of clearing it off your windshield. Those smears decrease your visual acuity and cause glare from oncoming headlights, decreasing your ability to see pedestrians and potential road hazards.

replace wiper blades

Worn wiper blades cause vision reducing streaking

How to check wiper blades

• Lift the wiper arm off the windshield and check the condition of the rubber blade. If the rubber is split or cracked or has pulled away from the frame, replace your wiper blades with new ones.

replace wiper blades

Rubber blade separated from mounting hardware

• Press the washer switch and watch how the blade remove the cleaning solution. If you see streaks or missed spots, it’s time to replace wiper blades.

• Check for a bent wiper blade frame or bent or broken spring arms. That will result in uneven wiping pressure and cause the wiper blade to skip areas of your windshield.

Wiper blade quality

Top quality wiper blades are built with metal spring arms, while economy blades are made from plastic. Natural rubber is the cheapest and the rubber cracks and hardens with age and UV exposure so they have the shortest lifespan. Premium wiper blades are made with more expensive “rubber” materials like EPDM, silicone, and Teflon coatings that resist deterioration from heat and UV exposure. Some premium blades incorporate several layers of different materials to provide a sturdy squeegee action with long life.

How to replace wiper blades

Wiper blades aren’t hard to replace. You don’t have to pay a shop to replace yours. Auto parts stores and WalMart are good places to buy replacement wiper blades. Consult the wiper blade fitment guide at the store to learn the right part numbers for the blades on your vehicle. It’s not uncommon for the driver’s and passenger sides to use different blades. I’ll cover the differences in the different styles and brands in this post.

Car makers use two wiper blade mounting styles: hook and pin.

hook arm wiper blade

Hook arm

pin style wiper arm

Pin Style wiper arm

Here’s how to install a hook style blade

replace wiper blades

Click on image to see installation video

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how to install a pin style blade

install pin type wiper blade

Click on image to see pin style installation video

©, 2017 Rick Muscoplat

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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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