When driving, you usually need to be able to see. That is pretty obvious. When the weather starts getting rough, and Mother Nature throws rain, sleet, leaves, mist, and snow your way, you better hope your windshield wipers are in good condition and ready for action. In this article, we will review the importance of good wiper blades and some important tips to help you get the most out of these critical instruments.

Types of Windshield Wiper Blades

When replacing your windshield wiper blades, you usually have a large number of choices. At any given store, there are usually several different manufacturers offering an array of blades. So, which one should you choose? The answer is simple; any of them. That may seem like an oversimplified and smart alec answer, but it is actually true.

Keep in mind that cheaper wiper blades will likely need to be replaced more often. More expensive wiper blades are not necessarily better, but the actual rubber that makes up the blade could be higher quality than cheaper ones. However, they will all clean your windows pretty well for a certain amount of time.

I have seen “heavy-duty snow” blades. In fact, last winter I bought them and put them on my son’s car. They didn’t seem to work any better at removing heavy snow or rain than other, plain windshield wiper blades. In about six months, we replaced them with standard blades and saw no difference. Also, remember that the “blades” themselves do not push off the snow and ice. It is the windshield wiper motor that does the heavy lifting. By the way, it is important to point out here that you should NOT turn on your wipers when your windshield is completely covered with snow and/or ice; it could break the motor or the wiper arm. Always clear away the snow first.

Selecting Windshield Wipers

There is usually a guide or book attached to the shelf at the store that includes all makes and models of cars. Simply look up your year, make, and model. Be sure to get the windshield wiper replacement blades you purchase have the same connector as the one currently on your vehicle. Some wiper kits come with universal connectors that fit most cars.

Installing the blades

Replacing the windshield wiper blades is usually pretty easy. Most snap in place. Others are a little trickier and require some patience when installing them. The replacement windshield wiper blades usually come with instructions, either on the package itself or in a little booklet inside the package.

I find it is easiest to turn the wipers on and then turn off the car engine when the wiper arms are at a convenient spot in their path of travel. For instance, I turn off the engine when the windshield wiper blades are pointing straight up (vertical). Turning off the car is usually the only way to get the wipers to stay in a certain position.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for properly replacing the blades. If it seems too complicated (some are really confusing), you can sometimes get help from the automotive parts store. Some automotive parts stores will do the actual replacement of the wiper blades for you for free.

When to Replace Windshield Wiper Blades

For your own safety, replace your windshield wiper blades at intervals of every six to twelve months, or when you see any signs of deterioration. If the window is smeared or the blade no longer lays flat on the glass, replace the blades.

Conclusion

For your own safety, especially as seasons change, replace your windshield wiper blades when needed. You’ll be glad you did.

Written by Gary Pradel