They may not seem like a critical part of your vehicle, but good windshield wipers are a key safety feature. Wiper blades deteriorate over time due to many environmental factors such as sun, moisture, oil from cleaners and waxes, airborne dirt, and other debris. Poor wiper blades cause poor visibility in already precarious weather conditions, which can be especially dangerous during a New England winter storm. Here are a few things you can do to keep your wipers in good shape:
1) Clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank. You can also apply a windshield treatment every few months to help repel water, if you want.
2) When you do clean the wipers themselves, just gently wipe the rubber squeegee with a damp paper towel to remove any loose dirt or oil. From time to time, you should also give them a good wash and dry with a gentle cleaner and towel.
3) While cleaning, visually inspect them for wear and run your finger along the rubber to find any damage. You should look for:
- Broken frames (detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points_
- Metal corrosion, especially at joints and claws
- Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge
- Flexibility. You can gently bend rubber squeegee back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Aged squeegees will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and create streaks.
- Rounding on the wiping edge which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduces wipe quality.
- Secure installment. Tug to ensure wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm. You should also check that squeegee is secure in the wiper frame.
3) Never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield. Instead, either use an ice scraper or use your defroster to melt snow and ice.
4) Top off your washer fluid with the right mix for your climate. In extreme cold, washer fluid with antifreeze is recommended.
5) Pull your wiper blades away from the windshield during winter months to prevent ice build up on the rubber squeegee and to prevent them from sticking to the windshield.
6) Change your wiper blades at least once a year.
At V&F we know that efficient wiper blades are as important to a vehicle’s safe operation as clean oil and good tires. From regular maintenance to unexpected repairs, we’re proud to be the best local auto repair shop in Agawam, MA. Call us at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published in 2018 and has been updated.