How Do I… Know when to change my Wiper Blades?
When did you last change your windshield wiper blades? If you can’t remember when it was, chances are its time to do so. In fact, manufacturers recommend you replace your wiper blades anywhere from every six months to a year, or as soon as you notice a difference in driving visibility – whichever comes first.
Rain‑X, one manufacturer of wiper blades, suggest on its website that you time the replacement of your blades to Ground Hog Day, as an easy way to remember to do it.
There are a number of reasons why your blades will deteriorate, both due to the environment and wear and tear from use. For example, it can be caused by ultraviolet light from the sun, exhaust or oil from your vehicle, salt water or acid rain, and debris like sand and mud. These factors can all have an impact on how the wiper blade makes contact with the windshield and can cause it to skip, smear, squeak and ultimately reduce your ability to see the roadway and surrounding traffic properly.
As well as taking into account how they are performing, manufacturer SilBlade recommends you also inspect your blades regularly for any signs of tears, cracking and discoloration, replacing them if the look worn. It suggests maintaining them by wiping them down every three months to remove any dirt and grime that might accumulate around the edge of the blade and where it meets the bracket. You can do this by simply running a clean cloth along the blade.
As you are doing this, Rain-X also suggest you check the blade frame for any broken or detached parts, any corrosion of the metal and that you flex the squeegee-like part to ensure it is flexible and can adjust to the shape of your windshield.
If your windshield wiper blade needs to be replaced, consult your owner manual to find out what type of blade is recommended for your vehicle. All are different, so its important you choose the correct version for your make and model of vehicle.
Finally, to ensure your wipers last as long as they are recommended to, clean your windshield when you stop for gas by using the squeegees provided at most stations to remove any dirt (check the squeegee to make sure it is clean first) , and try not to use your wipers when your windshield is dry. Wiper blades are designed to be used on wet windshields.