You probably already know how important it is to change your engine oil regularly, check your tyres and periodically service your car.
But do you know how important it is to check and replace your windscreen wipers?
Perhaps you only think about it when it rains – don’t worry, you’re not alone. As car owners, it’s so easy to forget to routinely check the condition of our wiper blades because we only remember them when we flick the switch to use them.
Wipers serve the vital function of helping drivers see clearly in wet conditions, removing water efficiently off the windscreen to help maintain visibility on the road ahead.
So, if it’s been a while since you’ve changed or checked your windscreen wipers, here are a few essential reasons you should from now on.
How often should wiper blades be replaced?
There are many factors that can impact wiper replacement interval, such as average distance travelled per year, how often you use your wipers, external factors like heat, dirt, to name a few. But, as a general rule, it’s recommended that wiper blades should be replaced every twelve months or as soon as you notice a difference in driving visibility when you use them.
Wiper blades are designed to move over your windscreen surface in a smooth, simple motion over a thin water layer. When wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windscreen surface, they can begin to squeak, smear or streak – these are the most obvious signs that your wiper blades need replacement.
Other than the sound of the blades and wipe quality, here are a few ways to inspect your wiper blades for replacement:
- Check the wiper blade edges. If the edges become worn, this can prevent the wiper blade from making firm contact with the windscreen, reducing the wiping quality.
- Check for visible cracks, tears and missing pieces on the wiper’s rubber edge.
- Bend the wiper rubber blade back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Old wiper blades will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windscreen, creating streaks.
5 easy tips to extend the life of your wiper blades
While wiper blades are relatively inexpensive to replace compared to other parts of your car, it’s still important to take proper care of them.
So we asked our O'Brien® AutoGlass Technical Trainer team to give us the five top tips to extend the life of your wiper blades – and here they are:
1. Park your car in the shade
Sunlight is the great destroyer of vehicle paint, vinyl, plastic, rubber and upholstery. UVA/UVB rays and heat from the sun degrade the plastic and rubber in wiper blades, causing them to prematurely become brittle and prone to cracking. So, parking in the shade helps extend the life of your wiper blades.
2. Always ensure your wiper fluid reservoir is full
Check your washer system often, and never forget to refill it with water and windscreen wiper fluid (if you use this). This ensures you can clean your screen on the move and provide sufficient lubrication during the process. Never run your wipers when the windscreen doesn’t have any water on it.
3. Keep the blades clean
Clean your wiper blades regularly using a soft, clean cloth and water or glass cleaner to remove all the dirt and debris. Particles can cling to the blades and cause them to degrade whilst potentially scratching your windscreen’s surface. Washing your car also helps extend the life of your wipers by preventing dirt from building up in the first place.
4. Lift your wiper blades if it’s freezing
Remember this tip for next winter! If frost or snow is forecast, and your car is parked out in the elements, lift your wiper arms and place a cloth between the wiper and the screen. If your wiper blades are down against the windscreen in freezing conditions, they may freeze in position. Then, when you try to activate your wipers, the rubber edge on the wiper blade could tear, costing you a new set of wiper blades and risk damaging your wiper mechanism.
5. Use quality wiper blades
At O'Brien®, we recommend replacing windscreen wipers with a trusted brand, like Bosch, which offers a wide range of wipers that covers most makes and models of vehicles, with innovative technology such as aerodynamics and a patented rubber coating for optimum wiper performance.
By using quality wiper blades, like Bosch, and taking care to follow the steps above, will help extend the overall life of your blades. That way, your wipers will keep wiping for longer with no issues!
Need help with your wiper blade replacement?
Not only do our specialist technicians provide a complimentary wiper blade check on all vehicles we service, but we also provide free installation of any wipers purchased. We make it easy to get the best out of your new or repaired windscreen.
Click here for more information about our chip repairs and windscreen replacement services.