How often do you really think about windshield wipers? For most of us, we only think about them when they fail to perform as we expect them to. We may get annoyed when they squeak, leave streaks, or break so the rubber just flops arounds ineffectively.
The truth is, we typically don’t need to look at them or think of them often, so we forget them. However, the quality of them can drastically improve your ability to drive during certain weather conditions. I mean, think about it. Have you ever had to duck and dodge to try and see over a streak on your windshield that the wipers couldn’t remove? It is not fun.
Another issue is that many people are unsure of what they need to do to have “good” windshield wipers. Will upgrading really improve the performance? Therefore, we decided to ask and find out, What windshield wipers do we really need? In searching for our own vehicles, we hope that we can also help you.
Should I Replace My Wipers?
One of the first things you should ask is whether you SHOULD worry about your wipers. The truth is many mechanics do suggest that you replace your wipers every six months. However, this does not mean you have to do it every six months.
If you keep your vehicle sitting in direct sunlight all day long, then you may very well need new wipers after six months because they will get dried out faster than someone who keeps their vehicle in a garage 90% of the time.
The easiest way to know for sure whether you need to replace your wipers or not, we suggest you pay attention to their performance. If you use your windshield washer or happen to drive into a steady rain shower, listen for squeaks and chattering from your wipers. You can also watch it. Is it grabbing or skipping along the windshield? Are you seeing bands of water along their path being left behind? If so, you may want to change them out sooner rather than later.
Although squeaks and skips may not seem like big issues, it can be a big issue. It can damage your windshield and may mean that it loses part of the rubber eventually. You do not want to be caught in a flooding rain when it breaks.
What Wipers Should I Choose?
Once you have decided that new wipers may be something you need to consider getting, you will likely need to know which ones to choose. Wipers are available in a variety of price ranges and sizes. They also come in different types. Some of the types include:
Conventional: These bracket style wipers are the most used. They have metal frames and rubber squeegees, install easily, and remove all types of dirt, rain, and snow from your window. These should be replaced every six months or so because the rubber will tend to develop issues over time.
Hybrid: These wipers are similar to conventional wipers, but slightly upgraded. They have low-profile and can be more aerodynamic.
Beam Style: These wipers are much more durable. They are single-piece blades that are reinforced with silicon or dual rubber so that it applies pressure over the windshield evenly.
For the most part, the type that you will need for your vehicle will depend on your vehicle. Every vehicle has a different size wiper that it may need. To find out which ones your vehicle needs, you can check the owner’s manual. If you do not have access to that, most car parts stores have computers that can tell you which is going to work best for your vehicle using the year, make, and model of your car.
From there, you can sometimes decide between basic wipers or upgraded ones. If you drive often, you may want to upgrade. If you rarely drive, you can stick with budget-friendly options and change them as needed.
This will also be when you have to consider the right material. On this, you do have a few options including rubber, silicon, and coated blades. Each has pros and cons associated with them. Which is best for you, depends on your needs.
The rubber blades are used on most cars. They install easily and are the most affordable for people who closely monitor their wiper’s performance. The downside is that they do become damaged by snow, ice, and other environmental factors much faster.
Coated blades are a good middle of the road option for most people. They have rubber blades that are coated with Teflon or graphite to give them more durability when driving in snow, ice, and other weather situations. This means that they are slower to damage than pure rubber blades, but not as good as silicon for excessive ice or snow.
These blades are designed to be durable and meet your needs when you deal with extreme driving conditions occasionally. They are more resistant to weather damages meaning that you can use them in areas where snow and ice are common. The downside is that they do tend to be pricier.
When you buy new wipers, size does matter. Blades that are too short will leave more on the windshield than they should. Blades that are too long will likely hit one another. This will make them less effective and may even damage your windshield. Either way, it makes a mess for you. Luckily, this is easy enough to work around because you can always look up the “suggested” length for your vehicle’s wiper blades.
You may also have the option to skip buying new wipers and just replace the rubbers using a wiper refill or insert. When you do this, you keep them and only change the rubber that wipes your windshield. This can be an option if you are tight on money, but you should keep in mind that over time, your framework and connections may loosen causing damages as well.
Your view of the world from the driver’s seat will greatly depend on your wiper’s ability to keep the windshield free of rain, snow, and other stuff. If you can’t see clearly, you put yourself and other cars at risk for serious injuries. Our hope is that you will take our advice and find out what windshield wipers you need for your vehicle.