Windshield Wipers: A Part That’s Often Overlooked
Sometimes we forget that cars are much more than just four wheels, an engine, and a steering wheel. Cars have many parts that make the ride more enjoyable or that can even save our lives! Windshield wipers are one of these parts. When they work, we hardly give them a second thought, but when they’re broken, we’re quick to give them a piece of our mind!
Whether they’re scraping the windshield or leaving streaks on the glass, windshield wipers in poor condition can be extremely unpleasant or even dangerous during heavy rain or snowfall. So why wait until they’re in substandard condition to replace them? They deserve to be regularly maintained and replaced, just like any other part on your car. A defective blade can leave permanent grooves in the windshield that will require more costly repairs down the road.
Different types of windshield wipers
Traditional blades: They’re designed for all weather, but they don’t perform exceptionally well in extreme conditions, such as wet snow or ice.
Winter blades: These blades are best in cold weather. They have a rubber cover that prevents ice from building up on the arm, and a more flexible rubber blade that ensures optimal adhesion to the windshield.
Flexible blades: The aerodynamic, single-blade design makes these wipers more reliable in all conditions (wind, ice, heavy rain, etc.). They’re a good purchase for year-round use.
Hybrid blades: These windshield wipers offer the best of both worlds, applying uniform pressure and clearing the windshield better. They also work well for winter driving.
Water-repellent blades: These wipers are coated with a water repellent that repels water, ice, and snow, making them a worthwhile option for drivers in areas that get lots of precipitation. Some are also equipped with silicone blades for increased durability.
When should windshield wipers be replaced?
Windshield wipers are exposed to the worst possible conditions and the elements, up to +50°C in the summer and -50°C in the winter. They become less effective and can leave streaks that prevent proper visibility. Not to mention when another car sprays your windshield with slush! So when’s the best time to replace them?
Make sure the rubber is still flexible and free of cracks, and that the arms are intact. Generally, a good quality windshield wiper should have a minimum life of at least a year, and a maximum of 18 to 24 months.
Some brands have a usage indicator that changes colour over time. If the entire wiper blade no longer touches the windshield, it’s time to replace it.
Your technician has an eye for this type of detail and can let you know when it’s time to replace your windshield wipers.