It’s easy to forget about your windshield wiper blades - until you need them. By the time it’s raining or snowing and you switch your wipers on, you may find the blades are old and worn and not doing their job properly.
Why Windshield Wipers Matter
Visibility through the windshield is vital for safe driving, so working wiper blades are essential for staying safe on the road during bad weather, dusty driving conditions, and even insect swarms. Changing wiper blades is usually straightforward and often does not require tools, and many auto parts stores can help with the installation of new wiper blades.
Installing New Wiper Blades
When replacing wiper blades on your car, it’s important to know that you can replace either the entire wiper blade or just the rubber insert. You do need a pair of needle-nose pliers to change only the rubber insert, and many people install a whole new blade each time for simplicity. Read the instructions on the new wiper blade package to see how to install the wipers on your vehicle.
Choosing the Right Wiper Blades
Every car has a manufacturer recommended size of wiper blade, specific to that make, model, and year. It is essential to select a replacement blade of the correct size for your particular vehicle. There are several ways to find out the right wiper size for your car:
Look in the owner’s manual
Go to any auto parts store and use their “wiper blade size finder”
Look up your correct wiper size online
Measure the wiper blades currently on your car
On some vehicles, the two blades are different sizes, and it is crucial to install the correct size on both the driver’s and passenger’s side of the car.
Why Size Matters
If you put longer than recommended wiper blades on your car, the wipers may bump into each other, damaging the wiper motor or leading to damage of the blades themselves. An oversized blade also may not conform to the shape of the window properly, leaving uncleared areas and reducing visibility. Or the blade may hit trim around the edge of the windshield.
Blades that are too small for the car do not get the entire windshield cleared, leading to loss of visibility. Always install wiper blades of the correct size for the make, model, and year of your vehicle.
Knowing When Windshield Wipers Need Replacement
Test your wipers at least once a season, and look for these signs of wear:
Streaking on the windshield
Wiper noise on glass
Blades leaving marks on the glass
Blades sticking to the glass
Replace the wiper blades as soon as you see signs of wear, before you need them in rain, snow, hail, or dust, to ensure your continued safety.