Here is an interesting question: when was the last time you thought about your car’s windshield wipers and their blades?
Don’t worry if the answer escapes you, wipers and their blades are not terribly exciting. On an excitement scale, they are vying with transmissions for the most boring part of a car’s anatomy. However, while both are boring, the wipers and their blades hold a place central to your safety. If the wiper blades are worn and don’t function correctly you will have smeared or blurred vision as the wiper blades smear around the dirt and dust that have landed on your windshield.
Even the spray kicked up during wet weather adds to the wiper blade’s workload. Spray and rain work together to quickly coat your windshield with a stew of dirt, dust, motor oil and rubber dust from the road. Spray is often full of motor oil and tire rubber dust. Since it is oil-based, it reacts in the way water and rubber normall act when they hit the windshield. They remain apart as the oil lubricates the windshield and your wiper blade slides over the film causing smears and streaks.
It takes a good wiper blade edge to cut through this mess, however, most drivers don’t change their wiper blades often enough. The result is that most cars on the road have poorly performing wipers and half-blind drivers. Wipes and their blades have an important place in the life of your car and your live as well.
Safety advocates, car club officials and consumer advocates have all, at one time or another in the last few years, discussed wipers and the need to replace them regularly and their central place in the car safety hierarchy. Most of the comments were made during October, National Car Care Month, a time when safety is a hot topic in the media.
The central question that is usually addressed is quite simple: how often should wiper blades be replaced? It may seem like a no-brainer, but it isn’t. The average driver takes the windshield wiper and its blade for granted. They are often overlooked as most drivers seem to think they will last forever. However, wiper blades don’t last forever.
Replace blades every six months
On average, windshield wiper blades last about three to six months, depending on where and how you drive. A combination of sunlight, naturally occurring and man-made ozone, acid rain or snow, industrial and automotive pollution come together to attack the rubber at the blade’s contact point with the car, the surface of the windshield.
To many drivers, the actual longevity of wiper blades may be an eye-opener, but it is correct. Blades need replacement regularly. You need clear windows to see ahead and to remain safe during inclement weather.
The telltale is the result of the wiper blade’s operation. If the windshield is streaked or the blades are smearing, it’s time to change them. It will cost you from $18 to $30 to find the type of blade you need, however, you can save money if you change them yourself. Here is how find the part proper blade for your car or SUV:
1. Look at your owner’s manual and find the section about wipers and blade replacement. It is usually located in the maintenance section.
2. If part numbers are listed, be sure to write them down. The part numbers will help you find the correct part, either online or in your car parts outlet’s parts listing book. Blades are available from your dealer, a chain’s automotive department, a discount auto supply section or a traditional auto auto parts supply store.
3. Use the part number you found in the owner’s manual and find the blade or blades you need. With the advent of computers, it’s easy to find the proper wiper blade. To find the blade, just search for the part number. Using a parts guide, you to follow the index and you will find the part for your car.
Changing the blade
Once you have the blade, take these steps to replace it:
1. Raise the wiper assembly. This assembly includes the wiper arm and wiper blade assembly by pulling up on the wiper arm. The assembly is hinged and flexes near the base.
2. Notice the blades wiper lock release button at the end of the wiper lock clamp. Press the button down and, pushing toward the windshield, apply downward pressure until the wiper blade releases from the wiper blade attachment point.
3. Slide the wiper blade until it clears the attachment point clearly. It is the hook-shaped part of the wiper blade arm, located at the top.
4. Remove the old blade and prepare the replacement blade by removing it from the packaging.
5. Slide the blade under the wiper arm, positioning it so it is located at the bottom of the attachment hook.
6. Apply upward pressure on the new blade and pull it so that it mates with the wiper arm attachment point.
7. Test the installation by applying pressure to the wiper blade to ensure a solid fit. The wiper blade clamp lock works automatically, mating the wiper arm and the blade.
8. Lower the wiper assembly to its parked position on the windshield and you are finished.
It may seem like this is a tough procedure, but it isn’t. It is listed this way so you can be sure you have installed the wiper blade correctly. It takes more time to read about the procedure than actually replacing the blade. Normally, the procedure takes from five to 10 minutes.
When you have finished you will have clear vision in the rain, ice or snow. You are also all set for the next three to six months. Of course, there are those so-called auto experts who will tell you the blade can last up to a year or more. It’s not true. The truth is that the blade edge, where all the cleaning action happens, can wear very quickly in a hostile environment because it is made of rubber. As the wiper blade ages your vision becomes more and more smeared. It is more than just a nuisance when you can’t see, it becomes dangerous. Working wipers ensure clear vision and better safety.
If you want more information on car safety, visit www.safecar.info.
Wiper in parked position. Wiper arm is placed over wiper blade lock/clamp and blade slides home. Wiper arm attachment point is at the end of the wiper arm. It is a hook-shaped.
Wiper assembly is raised to working position so you can replace the wiper blade. The wiper arm assembly is hinged at the bottom so that it can be raised.
The wiper blade lock/clamp. When installed, the wiper blade lock/clamp faces down. The wiper arm is placed over this device so that it mates with the wiper blade. The wiper blade slides into the wiper blade attachment point and the wiper blade clamp/lock automatically closes, creating tight bond.
The wiper blade attachment point (a hook-shaped device at the end of the wiper arm) has been placed over and then inserted into the wiper blade. The wiper blade then slides toward the top of the wiper arm where it mates and locks to the wiper arm.