Winter is coming, but we don’t need to tell you that. Chances are, you’ve already noticed the chill in the air, the changing leaves, and the return of pumpkin-flavored everything. You’ve probably already bought your bushel of candy bars for Trick-or-Treaters and pulled your winter coat out of hibernation … but what have you done to prepare your vehicle?
If your answer is that you unearthed the ice scraper from your trunk, but that’s about it, let’s take a few minutes to talk about the vital importance of windshield wipers.
In a state like Colorado, where the weather can change in an instant, it is especially important that your visibility is clear and unobstructed, allowing you to safely maneuver your vehicle. In addition, neglecting your old and worn-out blades is a good way to damage the windshield itself.
So how do you know when it’s time to replace your wiper blades?
Ask any expert and they will give you the same basic list:
1. The rubber is hanging off … time to replace.
2. The rubber is cracked or broken off in places … time to replace.
3. The blade itself is warped … stop using your wipers as a substitute for your ice scraper and
probably time to replace.
4. The blade doesn’t fit … hopefully you can get a refund. (Sometimes, it’s best to go to your car
dealer to get the exact blades you need.)
5. There is a portion of your windshield that is not being cleared … Is it because there is a
chunk out of the rubber? See number 2 - it’s time to replace.
6. They are loud and squeaky … try cleaning them, otherwise time to replace.
Luckily for you, replacing your wiper blades is pretty easy, as long as you’ve chosen the correct type for your particular vehicle. For tips about how to install different types of wiper blades, visit this handy page on DMV.org for helpful tips You will know right away if the blades are not the appropriate ones for your car because there will likely be a gap between blade and glass.
The length of time your vehicle can go without buying new wiper blades can vary, although every 6 months to a year seems to be the standard answer. Of course, regular maintenance and care can definitely help prolong the life of your wiper blades. For a quick overview of wiper maintenance, here’s a short video from the Allstate blog.
It’s pretty easy to tell if something is amiss, just by observing the blades in action. Keeping your wiper blades clean can be as easy as rubbing a little soap and water (or glass cleaner) on the rubber part of the blades to dislodge dust and other particles that could be causing unnecessary friction with your windshield. There are also ways to straighten out bent wiper blades and potentially fix other windshield clarity issues, as detailed in this article on The Art of Manliness website.
It is so important that you service and repair your wipers as needed so that they don’t cause damage to your windshield. More importantly, probably the worst time to deal with inefficient wiper blades is in a situation where you actually need them, such as rain, slush, snow, or hail. You and your loved ones are much more important than your windshield or your car, so make sure that your vision is unimpaired as winter weather approaches.