How to Easily Check Your Wiper Blades


Your wiper blades are some of the most important, yet unnoticed elements of your car. However, make no mistake: if you have ever tried to drive in even a moderate amount of rain with non functioning wiper blades, you know what an effect they can have on your comfort and safety. And if you haven’t, it isn’t an experience you want to have. Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to perform a few basic checks a couple of times per year to ensure your wipers will be ready to do the job when next you need them. The following guide will give you an idea of what to look out for when next you want to easily check your wiper blades.

You can easily check your wiper blades by turning on your windshield washers. Your windshield washers will spray cleaning fluid onto your windshield, and the wipers will then attempt to clean the windshield. The process is usually automatic in most vehicles, but in some, you may have to activate the windshield washer, and then manually activate the windshield wiper. In either case, once the wipers are activated, they should quickly clean the windshield. If the blades on your wipers are in need of replacement, however, when they try to wash the cleaning fluid off the windshield, you will find streaking, or may hearing chattering from the blades. These may be signs of trouble and may indicate a need for new blades.

A growing number of vehicles in the United States also come with rear windshield wipers. In particular, hatchbacks, minivans, station wagons, and sport utility vehicles frequently come with one rear wiper in addition to the two front wipers. You can use the same method described above to test the quality of the rear wiper blades. Not all vehicles that come with a rear wiper will come with a rear windshield washer; you will have to check the specifics of your vehicle. However, if you do not have a rear windshield washer, or if you are simply out of fluid in your front or rear washer, you can perform a basic test by spraying water from a squeeze bottle onto your front or rear windshield and activating the windshield wiper. Again, look for streaking or chattering or other improper motions of the wiper blades.

Beyond testing the blades while in use, you should inspect them while the vehicle is completely turned off. Over time, the rubber in the blades will be worn down due to exposure to sunlight, wind, rain, dirt, and the repetitive friction of wiping against the windshield. Look for tears, cracks, or nicks in the rubber of the wiper blade. If you see significant tearing or signs of wear, it may be time to have the blades replaced. New blades should be straight and flexible and capable of wiping cleanly. As they age, the blades will become less flexible and may develop curvature (this is known as parked rubber) that keeps them from fully coming into contact with your windshield; this is typically due to the hot sun hardening the rubber, and is more of an issue when cars are parked outside and frequently exposed to direct sunlight.

Checking your wiper blades doesn’t have to involve a trip to the auto store. As you have seen, it’s more than possible to perform a basic check on your own. If it turns out that your wiper blades are in need of repair, the repair can be done in a few minutes once you have a replacement set of wipers, or you can your car in to an auto shop and have them do the job. Blades should be replaced every six months to a year. In either case, remember that it is much cheaper to buy new wiper blades than it will ever be to repair damage costs after an accident resulting from poor or non functioning wiper blades.

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