It’s that time of year again when car owners like yourself need to prep your vehicle for the winter by replacing worn-out windshield wipers and performing essential maintenance.
Windshield wipers perform a vital role in maintaining visibility and keeping you safe during harsh weather conditions. Failing to replace your wipers before the winter can be dangerous—around 20% of the crashes each year in the USA result from adverse weather conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, slick conditions, and fog, according to data from the NHTSA[i].
Our experts broke down the importance of replacing your windshield wipers before winter and how you can change them yourself at home. For more tips on preparing your vehicle for the cold weather, check out our myth-debunking guide to winter car maintenance.
How Long Do Windshield Wipers Last?
The rule of thumb when checking your windshield wipers is every six months, especially if you went for more affordable ones previously. Windshield wipers are made from rubber, which deteriorates with everyday use, UV rays, the type of washer fluid mixed with your water, and wear and tear.
More expensive wiper blades often last longer, but we’d suggest you at least check the blades every six months and each year when approaching winter.
When to Replace Your Windshield Wipers
You don’t want to risk leaving it too late to change your wipers. Not only can using worn-out wipers impede visibility, but it can also cause damage to your car’s windshield. This can occur when the rubber hardens or disappears, as well as when grit gets stuck between the blades and the glass.
When you should replace your wiper blades depends on a couple of things:
Have you noticed any of the following?
- Dirt or water left on the windshield
- Streaks left on the windshield
- Squeaking or juddering noises
- Gaps, cracks or rounded edges on the rubber blades
- Rusting or warping on the metal arms of the wipers
Has it been six months since you last got them changed?
Even if they aren’t showing signs of wear, you might want to consider replacing them every six months, especially coming into winter, when you need them working at their best.
Which Wipers Are the Best?
To see the recommended specification for your vehicle, check your owner’s manual or simply let the retailer know what make and model of the car you have for recommendations.
Most cars have conventional, bracket-type wipers—consisting of a metal frame and rubber blades. They’re best for those looking for an affordable option, but oftentimes need replacing often.
Beam-style wipers cost more, but they’re worth splashing out on. They’re sturdier and usually much more effective at keeping your windshield clean when driving. Rather than a frame and a rubber blade, they’re made of a single piece of silicone or reinforced rubber, shaped to your windshield and giving you more even coverage. For those living who live in areas that experience harsher weather conditions, like the Midwest, this might be a better option to keep you safe on the road. Hybrid which have rubber covers to make them more durable are also available.
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How to Replace Your Wipers at Home in 3 Easy Steps
Wiper blade replacement is a quick and easy job anyone can do at home. If you have regular bracket-type wipers, simply follow these three steps.
- Step 1: Remove your old wipers. Start on the driver’s side and pull the wiper arms up so they’re perpendicular to the windshield. Release the wiper blades from the hook or clip, pulling them off. With some clip frames, there’s a release catch you have to press.
- Step 2: Install your new wipers. Remove any blade protectors that are in place. Position your new wiper blades one at a time, attaching them to the hooks or sliding them into the clips. You’ll hear a click when they slot into place. Lower carefully to the windshield.
- Step 3: Test your new wipers. Make sure they’re cleaning the windshield thoroughly. Job done!
If you need any help, most places you buy replacement wiper blades from will be happy to fit them for you, or you can get in touch with a local mechanic.
Get Protection from Auto Repair Costs This Winter
Sooner or later, all cars experience a major failure. Breakdowns used to mean thousands in repair costs, credit card debt, and even keeping you from work—until now. With an extended car warranty from Endurance, we handle the costs of sudden breakdowns, so you aren’t financially burdened. We pay the mechanic directly, on top of providing coverage for benefits like rental car services and meal and lodging coverage if a breakdown occurs away from home.
Whichever plan you choose, you’ll get free one-year access to the Endurance Elite membership, which comes with key fob replacement, tire repair/replacement, $250 in discount vouchers, and much. Get all the details of our warranty protection plans and request a free, no-obligation quote below.
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