How Often Should You Replace Wiper Blades?

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by Rick Popely, Cars.com

If your windshield wiper blades leave streaks and smears, or if they scrape and chatter even when there is plenty of moisture on the glass, you could need new wiper blades. If in bad weather you find yourself ducking and dodging your head like a boxer to see out your windshield, you could need new wiper blades.

Let your eyes and common sense dictate when to change wiper blades. Wiper blades should be able to easily clear water, snow and slush. This is especially true if you live in an area where salt is used on the roads because dried salt can practically make a windshield opaque. If you pull a wiper arm away from the windshield, you might find tears or cracks in the wiper blade — other signs they need replacement.

Before you replace the wiper blades, though, try wiping them clean with a damp cloth and make sure the wiper arm isn't bent or broken and that the blade sits snugly on the glass. Sometimes just lifting the arm off the glass and letting it snap back into place will make the blades seat more snugly on the glass and work better.

Wiper blades are inexpensive (typically less than $20 for a pair on most vehicles), and some auto parts stores will install them at no charge, so when in doubt, do it now — before you need new ones. If you own an SUV, minivan or hatchback, check the rear-window wiper blade as well.

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By David Thomas | February 19, 2013 | Comments (13)

Comments 

Skankzilla

Also keep in mind that most newer cars are coming installed with "Euro Blades." Rather than a metal frame the blade is a single molded piece and seem to be more effective at cleaning the windshield. They are more expensive than regular style wiper blades.

RT

Sorry Rick, but was this written to meet a monthly article quota? This article provides no insight besides very obvious knowledge. How about some tips about how to prolong the life of the wipers? You didn't even write about the recommended time frame that you should replace wipers. Very Weak, please keep this garbage off this website, send it you Yahoo, they publish them frequently!

2RT

@RT

Rough day at the office? Troubles at home?

AL.G

Good Article Dave. Thanks! We all aren't trashing you for writing it.

Contemplating wiper blades

I agree that a bit more info would of been nice for the article. For example here's a question. On the driver's side wiper blade on my cruze and on a friends GTI there is a metal shield/spoiler looking thing running the length of it? What the hell is that for? Aerodynamics? If so why only on the driver side? I tend to replace the entire blade not just the rubber insert cause it is easier and I am lazy so knowing what that extra metal thing is would be nice.

Brian

Not even really a matter of 'time' but we all know the symptoms. While back I bought a little restorer from www.wiper-wizard.com and if blades even think of squeaking, juddering or leaving tracks, they get a 30 second rub and all fixed. It cuts new edge.
Also, in winter I place old tennis balls below arms to keep blade off screen..anti stick and anti distort. And 30% vinegar/water wiped on all glass will stop snow and ice sticking too. Good luck all.

Anonymous Coward

I think the spoilers are to reduce wind noise. I assume they are only needed on the driver's side because that is the larger wiper blade.

Consumer Reports says that wipers begin to deteriorate after about six months. I have a garage, and they seem to last longer than that for me, but I try to replace them about once a year as a preventative.

Ken

@Contemplating wiper blades,
I believe the shield you're referring to is designed to add pressure as you drive (i.e., the blade presses harder against the glass). I could be wrong, but that's always been my assumption. I've also wondered why it is typically only on the driver's side.
My guess is that the manufacturer wanted to ensure the driver's side had as much clarity as possible.
Again, I could be wrong, but I hope that helps.

Scott

Yes Rick pretty lame article !

Contemplating Wiper Blades

Thanks to the responses to my question.

Card13

My car is equipped with rain sensing wipers and I suspect that causes the blades to wear out faster. The system generally wipes the windshield more frequently than I would like during light showers. Unfortunately, the auto wipers delete the manual intermittent feature and the sensitivity settings make almost no difference.

Such a great and informative post. Thanks for sharing this to us and keep posting. This will really help car owners.

J

In other news, the sky is blue.

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