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Changing Wiper Blades is a Driving Safety Issue

Wiper Blade

Having great wipers and changing wiper blades on your vehicle is more important than most people realize. The most important aspect of driving is being aware of your surroundings. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, a driver's best friend is changing windshield wipers to ones that leave your window with a consistent, clean, clear wipe.

Not only is a clean windshield a necessity when driving during rain, snow and sleet, but how many times have you experienced a windshield that is smeared with insects, bird droppings, road tar or other messy deposits? Removing such dirt with worn wipers is nearly impossible. Usually, you wind up smearing the mess and obscuring your vision even more. If you begin switching out your wipers regularly, you can avoid these problems and keep your eyes clearly on the road.

Knowing when to change your blades

So when should you change your windshield wipers? When a blade is past its physical prime, it will show wear signs like cracking or discoloration. Another indicator that it's time to be changing your wipers is by the quality of the wipe. Streaking or unwiped areas are a dead giveaway. If the blades make noise or chattering sounds, then they need to be replaced. On some newer wipers, such as PEAK Valeo SmartBlade, there is a built-in wear indicator which recognizes diminished blade performance. By taking one glance at the indicator, you will know when they need replacing.

How often should you be changing wiper blades?

If your wipers don't have a special indicator, the National Highway Transportation Board recommends that drivers change their windshield wipers, at minimum, every year (every six months is ideal). However, the average vehicle owner replaces his/her wipers only once every 2.5 years.

"Most people wait until they are in a downpour and nearly drive off the road before they are convinced it's time to change the blades," says Jenifer Maddox, product manager for PEAK Automotive Products. Some wipers, such as the SmartBlade, even come with simple connector systems that make installing new ones on any vehicle a snap, so there is no excuse for not replacing worn out blades.

If you've been procrastinating about changing wiper blades, take a few minutes today to change them. You'll be glad you did when you need them most.

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