Talk to the Mechanic

‘Moms Know Best’ Car Maintenance Tips: Wiper Blades

This blog series consists of questions from a work-at-home mom Kimberly. She asked Master Mechanic’s Jamie Holmes questions how moms can save money, stay safe, and extend the life of their vehicles.

How often should my windshield wiper blades be replaced?

Jamie: Every driver knows that their vehicle’s windshield wipers keep their view clear. This allows them to see properly under all driving conditions. They operate in some harsh conditions, from the cold of winter to the high heat of summer. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun also hammers it all year long.

Wiper blades are made from a number of components that can cause the blade to be less than effective. The frame assembly can rust and/or seize over time, making the blade less flexible. Therefore being unable to follow the contour of the windshield. The part that is in contact with the windshield is called the squeegee. It is made of a rubber compound soft enough to clean the glass without scratching, but hard enough to push water & snow away.

What are the warning signs to replace my wiper blades?

Jamie: Over time cold, heat and ultraviolet radiation from the sun cause the rubber compound to break down. Other factors such as road salt, sand, mud, soap/wax from the carwash and ground-level ozone all contribute to your wiper blades losing their effectiveness. The rubber material becomes hard, brittle and loses flexibility. The squeegee can also crack, tear or lose parts of its wiping edge. This can leave streaks or portions of your windshield uncleaned blocking your vision.

Windshield wiper blades should be changed every 6 months or if you see a difference in their ability to effectively clear your windshield. I suggest changing them at the same time you service your vehicle in the spring and in the fall.

Remember that your windshield wipers are your only line of defence! They protect you from what Mother Nature throws at you while driving and being able to see and drive safely. If you are ever unsure about the effectiveness of your windshield wipers, have them checked when you come in for your scheduled preventative maintenance service.

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