A Guide to Windshield Wipers
Wiper blades play an important role in road safety—here’s how to care for them.
It’s challenging to drive safely when you can’t clearly see through your windshield. Dirt and grime buildup can reduce your visibility, so beaten-up wipers could be a driving hazard. Replace your worn wipers for a clear view of the road.
Spotting the Signs
Do you know when to replace your windshield wipers? The general guideline is every six months or 6,000 miles—sometimes more often if you live in an area that experiences harsh weather conditions. Regardless, it’s time to replace your wiper blades if you notice any of the following:
- Windshield streaking or smearing
- Screeching or squeaking noises
- Split or worn rubber blades
- Bent frames
Choosing a Blade
If one of your wipers gives you trouble, it’s best to replace both for peak performance. Some people might want to replace the refill—the rubber-wiping element—instead of the entire blade. But trying to maneuver the refill into the wiper assembly can be challenging. Buying an entire assembly is easier and only a bit more expensive than buying refills.
Before you purchase new blades, determine the right size for your car. To locate this information, look in your car’s owner’s manual, measure the blades yourself, or ask an automotive store to look up the size.
Once you find the right fit, you need to decide on a blade type. Here are your options:
- Traditional: Most cars use this affordable option.
- Beam: These higher-cost blades are known for their performance, durability and aerodynamic design.
- Winter: Designed to keep the wiper free of ice and snow.
Installing New Wipers
Replacing windshield wipers is fairly simple, but steps vary depending on your vehicle’s type of wiper. Your owner’s manual should walk you through the process. Once you’ve installed the blades, test them right away to ensure they work properly—that way you know they’ll function when you need them to.