If you’ve ever been caught in a storm with poorly functioning windshield wipers, you know how difficult it is to spot obstacles and oncoming traffic.
Replacing your wiper blades is inexpensive, costing as little as $20 to do it yourself. It’s also a simple and quick fix that usually doesn’t need any special tools, making it one of the easier things to replace on your vehicle.
In this blog, we’ll look at the signs that indicate you need to replace your wiper blades. We’ll also show you how to replace and maintain your wiper blades.
Signs you need to replace windshield wipers
You should change your wipers every six months, or sooner if they’re causing visibility problems. If your windshield is streaking or smearing when you use your wipers, then you’re already at risk of low visibility in a storm. They should be operating smoothly with windshield washer fluid.
If your wiper blades are screeching, crumbling, loose, or frayed, they must be replaced immediately. These issues can cause other problems with your car, including a scratched or broken windshield. In addition, bad weather can come unannounced, leaving you in a spot of trouble if your wipers are malfunctioning.
Though you should keep up with your wiper blades year-round, it’s wise to replace them after the winter months. Frost, ice and snow build up can cause the wipers to deteriorate over time, and they may not be ready for spring showers. Never operate your wipers if there is build up, or if your wipers are frozen – the stress on the parts is strong enough to blow a fuse.
Replacing windshield wipers
Replacing your own windshield wipers is very simple and should only take a few minutes. What you’re looking for are windshield wiper refills that match your current wiper blades in size.
To prepare the wiper blades for replacement, some people switch their ignition to accessory mode, and then turn it off once the wipers are both facing up. This does not work well for every car, and some will find it easier to raise the wipers manually. Carefully lift each upright wiper from the windshield and place a towel down to protect the glass, just in case the wiper arms snap back once you remove the blade.
Though some wiper blades vary, disengaging them from the arm is usually as simple as pressing a button, or pulling down a latch. Pull the free wiper blade down from the wiper arm’s hook to remove the blade entirely. Attach the new wiper blade to the hook by sliding it upwards. You should hear or feel a click when it’s in place. Once your wiper is set in place, repeat this on the second one.
Remember, windshield wipers are delicate, mounted on thin metal and coated in rubber. Be careful when you replace them. If you’re unclear about how to remove the blade or attach the new one, check your driver’s manual. It should have specific instructions based on your car model.
Maintaining your windshield wipers
If you want your wiper blades to last as long as possible, you’ll want to keep them away from extreme temperatures. A freezing or cold climate is guaranteed to crack your windshield wipers, while extreme heat will warp the blades and wear them down quickly.
Be careful on road salt, traction sand and dirt from off-road travel. These substances can wear down the wipers unevenly, potentially causing scratches on the windshield. Road salt can also damage other parts of your car.
Regularly inspect your wiper blades for wear and deformations. To clean your windshield wipers, gently wash them with a glass cleaner solution, then dry them off with a clean cloth or towel. Avoid getting any washer fluid from the windshield on your hands. This dangerous fluid contains methanol – an extremely toxic alcohol – that can cause blindness or death if consumed.
If you watch for signs that your wipers must be replaced, you can prevent issues during inclement weather. Replacing your wipers is a simple job that can be done in a matter of minutes – and maintenance is as easy as regular inspection and avoiding rough terrain. As long as you keep up with your windshield wipers, you’ll always be prepared for rain – let alone a sneaking thunderstorm.