Is it time to replace your windscreen wipers?

When we think about car maintenance, windscreen wipers are probably not the first thing to come to mind. As far as car safety is concerned, this is one of the most important tools to ensure an unobstructed view for the driver.

Windscreen wiper blades of your car are used to clear the water from the screen during rain, and also to clear snow, debris and dust when used with the vehicle’s washer fluid system.

Windscreen wiper

Signs your windscreen wipers might need replacing

  • Streaks and smears
    You may start to see streaking and smearing across the screen during their operation. Sometimes this can be caused by debris that can be cleaned easily, but take a closer look at the rubber to see if there are any signs of it being worn out.
  • Unusual noises
    Windscreen wipers are generally silent. You may sometimes hear a squeak or screech which could mean it’s improperly fitted or in some cases is an indication of worn-out blades.

  • Skipping
    This usually happens when the wipers are unused for a prolonged period of time which can cause improper contact of the rubber with the windscreen.
  • Other irregularities
    In this case, you may notice that the leading edge of the blade has started to come adrift from the main body of the blade.

The lifespan of wiper blades depends on the quality, weather and extent of usage but can get worn out in 6-12 months. Make sure you keep an eye on any signs of replacement mentioned above to avoid causing damage to the windscreen. These are a few tips and tricks on how to take care of your wipers.

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Windscreen wipers and how to take care of them

 

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!

Happy driving!

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Photo by Thibault Valjevac on Unsplash