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How to Take Care of Your Windshield Wipers

Visibility is the key to staying safe on the road. Keep your windshield free of streaks by taking care of your windshield wipers.

windshield wipers

Your windshield wipers are an essential part of staying safe on the road. No one wants to drive with a dirty windshield and poor visibility is downright dangerous. Don’t wait until something goes wrong to take care of your windshield wipers. Take care of your wipers now and you won’t find yourself squinting to see through a messy windshield.

Never run wipers over a dry windshield

It might be tempting to turn them on to knock off dust or pollen, but don’t let them run across the windshield dry. Always use the washer button if the windshield isn’t already wet. Your wipers are designed to work best when the glass is wet, so even if the material blocking your view is dry like pollen and not really stuck to the windshield, wet the glass first.

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Also, remember to turn off your wipers before you turn off your engine. If it’s raining and you simply turn off the car with the wipers still on, then they’ll finish their swipe across the glass when you turn the engine back on even if the rain has stopped. Turning the wipers off first ensures they’re tucked away and won’t end up swiping across dry glass.

Defrost and scrape ice and snow before using the windshield wipers

Sure, the wipers may move a layer of snow and even scrape off some ice, but it’s never a good idea to try. Heavy snow and ice can make your wipers stick. Instead of trying to use your wipers, brush the snow off the windshield and turn on the defroster to make sure the blades aren’t stuck.

Even if your wipers manage to break free, the blades may be damaged and leave streaks on your windshield. Trying to use wipers that are stuck can also damage the motor and the mechanism that moves the blades back and forth. This can be expensive to replace and it means you won’t be able to drive your car until the repair is done.

windshield wipers

How to clean windshield wiper blades

If your windshield wiper blades are caked with dirt and debris they’re not going to be very good at cleaning the glass. They’ll end up leaving streaks and making a mess instead of helping you see better. Make it a habit to clean your windshield with the squeegee whenever you stop to get gas and take a second to clean the wiper blades, too.

Run your finger along the blades to make sure any debris is knocked free or use a cloth to remove anything stuck to the wiper blades. This is also a good time to take a solid look at the blades. If you notice the rubber is torn or any chunks are missing, then it’s time to buy a new pair. If your rear window has a wiper, don’t forget to check that one, too.

Clean the bottom of the windshield

Every time the wipers cross your windshield they push dirt and debris to the sides and down to the bottom of your windshield. This leaves you with a clear view, but it also can leave a buildup at the bottom of the windshield right where the wipers rest.

If you see dirt, leaves, or snow caught at the bottom of the windshield, then take the time to clean this area. This keeps your wipers from dragging that debris right back up into your line of sight. Not only does this help avoid streaking, it also helps prevents scratching.

Replace your windshield wiper blades regularly

It’s recommended to replace your windshield wiper blades every six months. This is a good way to make sure that they’re always in top condition and ready to do their jobs. It does not mean that you can only replace them every six months.

If you notice any problems with your windshield wipers, then replace them right away. This includes streaking across the whole windshield, sections of streaking, wipers that skip across the glass, or wipers that are excessively squeaky. They aren’t an expensive purchase and are something you can install yourself in just a few minutes.

Get the right windshield wiper blades for the job

Wiper blades come in a range of sizes to fit different vehicles. When you measure them, be sure to check both blades since there may be two different lengths that work together to clean the whole windshield. A better bet is to look in the owner’s manual to see exactly what the manufacturer recommends and purchase that size.

There is a wide variety of windshield wiper blades available. Some are specially designed for winter weather with tougher rubber composites made to withstand the rigors of snow and ice. These are more expensive, but a good idea if you drive where there is significant snowfall each year. Replace your old wipers with the right new wipers as a part of regular car maintenance.

When was the last time you checked your windshield wipers? Let us know in the comments below.

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