Changing Your Wipers and Wiper Blades Can Save Your Life

Most of us only think about changing our wiper blades when they start to make a terrible noise or a piece of rubber begins to dangle off one of them. In fact, you should be much more vigilant about your windshield wipers. They are one of the most important pieces of safety equipment on your car, yet one of the most neglected. Contact Suburb Service now if your wipers are not wiping as they should. Here's what you need to know about when to change your wipers and wiper blades, wiper blade options and what can happen if you neglect your wipers.

How often do wiper blades need changed?

First, there are two options when it comes to your wipers. You can replace just the rubber portion, the wiping part, which is cheaper but may not offer the best results. Alternately, you can replace the entire blade which is the metal arm and the rubber wiping part. This is a little more costly, but will provide much better results.

Wipers and/or blades should be changed every six months depending on weather conditions, usage and the quality of replacement wipers you choose. The National Highway Transportation Board recommends you change your wipers twice yearly or every 6,000 miles, but most drivers only replace them every two to three years.

Here are some signs you're due for a change:

  • If the rubber of the blade is cracked or discolored
  • If the wiper leaves a section of the window unwiped
  • If the wiper smears or skips rather than wiping clean
  • If the blades make noise when in operation
  • If there are any strips of rubber dangling or a loose piece

Quick Cleaning Tips!

  • Use alcohol wipes to clean your wiper blades. Wipe the edges of the blades monthly to remove any grime, debris and bits of loose rubber.
  • Preserve the life of your blades by keeping your windshield clean. Wash your windshields with alcohol to get all of the oil residue from the road off your windshield. A chipped and pitted windshield will cut wiper blades causing premature wiper failure.

Your blades are life-saving vehicle equipment

Most of your driving decisions are based on your view of the road. You need a clear view and fresh wiper blades are critical for this. In rain, sleet and snow, blades must be in good condition to keep your view unobstructed. It's not just heavy usage (like in Seattle's often-rainy weather) that can wear out your blades.

Here are some of the factors that cause wiper blade wear and tear:

  • Ozone and airborne contaminants
  • Sunlight
  • Road dirt and oil
  • Freezing temperatures
  • Inevitable breakdown of materials

What affects a wiper blade's ability to clean your windshield?

You may think wiper blades are wiper blades and car windows are car windows but, in fact, both have evolved rapidly in the last few years and you should put some thought into which blades you choose to be sure they are best for your car.

Here are some considerations:

  • Size and shape of windshield - Many of today's vehicles have larger windshield areas sloped for aerodynamics. This pushes more wind against the wipers when driving at high speed and can lift blades off the glass if they're not designed to resist.
  • Spring tension - The wiper arm's spring tension determines the contact the wiper blade has on the window. The more tension, the more thorough squeegee action you'll get and clearer visibility. Certain blades offer fuller contact and a clearer view.
  • Pressure points on the blade - The more pressure points or "claws" on a blade, the wider spread of pressure you'll have and a more effective wiping action. This is particularly important with larger windshields and sloping windshields for fuller contact.
  • Blade materials - Most blades are made of standard rubber, but some newer blades have a composite structure that has a more pliable surface on the side that touches the window for superior wiping and a firmer rubber on the upper blade for durability.

What type of wiper blades do you need?

Wiper blades come in three main styles - traditional, beam and winter. Here's what you need to know to choose between these:

  • Traditional - This is the most common type and likely what's on your car now. These have a flat metal framework and a metal strip with a rubber surface that wipes your window. These are the most affordable option.
  • Winter - If you deal with a lot of inclement weather (ice and snow), these are a better choice. The traditional blade is inside a protective rubber shell. These are less aerodynamic looking, but allow for less wear and tear on the bad weather.
  • Beam - This is the premium option and, while they cost more, have a longer life and have a streamlined look. Instead of the two part design of traditional, these are one part with an encased steel band, silicone and double-rubber materials that keep the wiper more closely conformed to the windshield.

To find out which wiper is best for your vehicle, check your owner's manual or come in to Suburb Service and let us help you make the best decision to keep your windshield clear, your view unobstructed and you driving safe. Call us in Seattle at (206) 705-8695 or Marysville at (360) 659-6208 to get your wipers checked and replaced before the bad weather rolls in. Call now!

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