We’ve all done it at some point, jumped into the car, started the engine and watched the windscreen wipers dragging across the screen as they were left on the last time the vehicle was used. Now that winter is looming and the drop in temperature is being felt, spare a moment to consider what your poor wiper motor and windscreen wipers will do when they have become frozen to the screen and are unable to move freely.
How windscreen wipers work
The majority of windscreen wiper linkages (the bit that makes them go back and forth) are held together by a simple plastic ball and cup technology. This is fine when the wipers they are propelling can swipe along without hindrance. However, when a wiper is stuck to the screen due to ice or snow, it will place the linkage and motor under increased stress and that can cause the weak point, the ball, and cup, to part company and when that happens there is no alternative to either replacing the parts or getting a temporary fix done. This, of course, is both costly and inconvenient as you will not be able to drive the vehicle without working wipers. Depending on your car, repairing the windscreen wiper linkage starts at £100 and goes up to costs of £300 or even higher. Faulty windscreen wipers can also land you with a hefty fine if you are stopped. But it doesn’t stop here as damaged wipers will also put passing the MOT the first time into jeopardy if they fail to clear your windscreen for visibility.
Taking care of your wipers
Whenever you end your journey, make sure your wipers are turned off before you stop the engine. This will not only allow them to park in their correct position but ensure that they do not try and move the moment you start the car the next time.
If you forget or cannot remember if you parked the wipers and there is a hard frost, lift the blades off the windscreen before you start the car. They will still judder across the frozen surface which doesn’t do the wiper blades any good, but at least it prevents the linkage being damaged.
PS – Don’t forget the rear wiper too if you have one!
Photo by Thibault Valjevac on Unsplash
Making sure that your windscreen wiper blades are in good condition is vital at any point of the year, but especially in winter. Sometimes that means you will need to replace your wiper blades. Remember, your wipers are the only parts that can help keep your windscreen clear of debris and water during bad weather conditions. They can help improve your vision of the road and help keep you safe.
Signs That The Windscreen Wiper Blades Are Worn
Over time the wiper blades will deteriorate as it copes with a variety of weather conditions and debris. From hot weather to freezing temperatures, all can have a different effect on the parts. There is a couple of things that will tell there is a problem with wipers.
1. Slow and erratic movement
If your wipers don’t move across your windscreen smoothly it’s likely that the rubber on the blades has worn away. It’s important to get this addressed as it may have a knock-on effect on, for example, the wiper motor. It will have to work much harder with the increased resistance and may wear out too.
If there is a squeaking noise coming from the wipers it is possible that they have worn. That said, wipers can also make a noise if there isn’t enough water on the windows for the wipers to process.
Wiper blades can sometimes get damaged due to debris. The rubber might wear away in places in the process. Often this will lead to the wipers not being able to remove water on the windscreen in a single sweep. In that case the wipers will leave behind streaks on the window.
4. Visual damage
Another good way to find out if the blades need changing is to simply look at them. Often it’s easy to find out that way if there is something wrong with the blades. Damaged edges or brittle rubber will mean that the wipers won’t be able to clean the windscreen effectively.
If the wiper blades are not replaced from time to time, they can eventually damage the windscreen glass as well. Keeping in mind that a set of wiper blades is way cheaper than a new window it makes sense to replace them timely. If you’re not sure whether yours are worn then get a mechanic to look at them and replace them if needed.