The Car Coach: Wiper replacement
Eighty percent of your driving decisions are based on visibility, so wiper blades are critical to your driving decisions. Lauren Fix, the Car Coach, has some tips to make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition.
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Wiper blades are something many people take for granted...until they stop working. Checking them for wear and tear every six months will ensure that you will be able to see clearly if you get stuck in a rainstorm.
Listen for slapping, screeching, or vibrating. Slapping means that the rubber has torn from the arm. Screeching indicates that there is friction between the glass and the blade. Vibrating means that the blade is worn or not mounted on the arm correctly.
Look at the wipe pattern. If you see a lace pattern, that means the rubber has bent too far. If you see a filmy haze after wiping, there most likely is oil or road debris on the rubber. Cracked or hardened rubber will result in streaks when the blades attempt to remove water.
Examine the blades. Look for splits or gouges in the rubber, discoloration, or ragged edges.
During warmer weather more grime tends to accumulate on wipers, which gets in the way when the rubber tries to clear the glass.
Replace the whole blade or replace the rubber with a refill if any of these visibility issues are present. Each is a sign of wiper blade damage.
Replace both blades, even if only one is damaged, so that they will wear out evenly.
When replacing blades, you should know that the shape and design of your wiper blade plays a large part in visibility. The shape is designed not only to hold the blade in place, but also to make sure that the blade maintains full, even contact with the curve of your windshield.
Most windshield wipers are made from natural rubber, which is only designed to last for a few months under optimal conditions. Thankfully there are new materials and designs that will last for many years. With several different styles to choose from, you should look for the best blade that fits your vehicle.
A high-performance engineered beam blade is the best choice. Some of the newer blades even offer a swept-wing spoiler that slices through cross winds, buffeting truck winds and general traffic turbulence to deliver a flawless wipe and excellent visibility in all driving situations.