Windshield wipers are obviously essential safety features. Without them, it would be difficult or even impossible to see out the windshield during a rainstorm. People have a tendency to misuse these components and to ignore basic preventive maintenance techniques. Follow simple steps to keep your windshield wipers in good working order for a long time.
Clean the Wipers Occasionally
If the wipers don’t work as well as they used to, you might not need to replace them yet. They may simply be dirty. The next time you stop at a gas station, grab a paper towel and dip it in the windshield washing fluid provided, then clean off the blades. You’ll probably be surprised at how much dirt comes off. Many times, the wipers work like new after this bit of TLC. Doing this every time you fuel up will lengthen the lifespan of the blades.
Wash Your Windshield Regularly
Spend a couple of minutes washing your windshield each time you buy fuel and whenever you notice a decrease in visibility. All the dirt and oily residue that would normally wind up on the windshield wipers instead goes on a paper towel and in the trash.
Avoid Using Wipers on Ice and Frozen Snow
You’ll shorten the life of the wiper blades if you try to clear away solid icy material on the window with them. It’s OK to use the wipers, along with your defroster, to prevent sleet from building up while you’re driving. But don’t use them on frost and frozen sleet after the car has been sitting out in the cold. Be patient and use your defroster and an ice scraper instead.
Use Windshield Washing Fluid
Trying to clear away dead bugs and other grime from a windshield with dry wipers can damage the blades. Windshield washing fluid is very cheap and topping off the container is easy. Some vehicle owners have all fluids topped off whenever they get the oil changed, but the washer fluid can run out long before the next appointment. It’s best to keep a jug on hand and add some occasionally.
If you live in a region with freezing temperatures during the winter, choose a product that contains an antifreeze ingredient. The label will mention this. The products contain a certain amount of alcohol to prevent the solution from icing up in cold weather. This is a different formula than radiator antifreeze.
When It’s Time for Replacement
Eventually, the blades will need to be replaced. You can buy blades or the full windshield wiper devices at auto parts stores, or have yours replaced at a repair garage. Some car parts stores allow employees to do the free installation of components that only take a few minutes to replace right there in the parking lot. Online videos also demonstrate how to complete this easy project if you want to do it yourself at home.
With these strategies, you can keep your windshield wipers in excellent condition for as long as possible and delay the need for replacement. Taking a little time to routinely clean the blades and the windshield is important. Avoiding usage during certain types of conditions also helps. When you do finally need to replace these essential safety components, you can buy the wipers at a store selling car parts or have them installed at an auto repair shop.