(ARA) – Clear vision and changing wiper blades are essential to safe driving, especially during icy or snowy driving conditions. Neglect your windshield wipers and you may find yourself in hazardous weather situations with limited vision.
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 that 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.
How to Pick New Wiper Blades?
You might be already aware, but know that there are two kinds of wiper blades: the beam and the conventional.
Which one should you choose?
The answer is simple, choose the same kind of wiper blades that originally came with your car.
To give you an idea of how each one looks (in case you aren’t familiar), the conventional wipers’ blades have a thin metal frame. This holds the actual blade of the wiper in place. Conventional wiper blades have three different connectors: a hook, a side pin, and a bayonet.
Meanwhile, beam wiper blades come in just one piece, along with a protected cover for each of their structures. Since it’s in one piece, the parts are less moveable and less likely to break – their frame is also protected from harsh weather. Connectors for beam wiper blades include a pin and hook, a pinch tab, and a balance bayonet.
Replacing Your Wiper Blades
So you have a new wiper blade, it’s time to replace the old one.
Replacing the wiper blade can be as easy as ABC to some, but can be confusing to others. Here, I’ll share a simple guide on how to properly change your wiper blades.
First, place a towel over your windshield. This is so that you are prepared just in case something breaks or drops while you’re replacing your wiper blade. Also, this is to avoid any scratches to your glass.
Next, lift the arm of the wiper and turn it away from the windshield, then remove the old wiper blade- check where the connector meets.
Now, slide the new wiper blade into the correct arm and secure the connector, then you’re done. You just have to do the steps again to replace the other wiper blade.
So, 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.