As long as your windscreen wipers are working correctly, most people don’t consider maintenance or replacement schedules. However, regular maintenance can make a huge difference to the lifespan and performance of your windscreen wipers so that you have the best possible field of vision.
What maintenance do my windscreen wipers need?
Even the highest quality of wiper blades can deteriorate due to many environmental factors including sunlight, oil, airborne debris and moisture. This means that it’s important to regularly check your windscreen wipers.
Extend the lifespan of your wiper blades by following these steps:
- Wipe the rubber blade with a damp cloth to remove any loose dirt or oil, follow this by wiping the blades down with white vinegar then apply some rubber protectant.
- Clean your windscreen regularly.
- Move your wiper blades away from the windscreen during cold weather to prevent ice build-up on the rubber blade.
When do windscreen wipers need to be replaced?
Windscreen wipers should be replaced as soon as you notice a difference in visibility, probably every year or two, sooner if there has been a particularly cold winter. It is recommended that you replace both at the same time, so that you have a consistent field of visibility at all times.
If you are not sure if your windscreen wipers need to be replaced, check them for the following:
- Broken frame: is the frame arm detached at the joints or connection points?
- Metal corrosion: is any visible at the joints or claws?
- Wiper rubber: are there any visible cracks, tears or missing pieces? Can you still flex it back and forth? Is it securely installed in the wiper blade?
Even if you’re not scheduled to replace your windscreen wipers, it is recommended to inspect them every 6 to 12 months, depending on driving conditions and the quality of the wiper itself.
How to remove and replace windscreen wipers
Depending on your car model and the type of windscreen wipers that you have, it is usually extremely easy to remove and replace your old wipers and fit a new pair. However, this isn’t the case for all car models and windscreen wiper types, so it’s best to check your owners’ manual before starting this job.
Another helpful tip is to only remove one wiper blade at a time. That way you have a correctly installed example as a reference if you need it.
Before you start, check the length of your current wiper blades to ensure the replacement ones are the correct size, and have a soft cloth to hand.
To remove and replace windscreen wiper blades with a hook-style arm:
- Set the blades to mid sweep on the windscreen. Switch the ignition on and turn on the wipers, wait until they’re mid-swipe then turn the engine off.
- Lift the arm away the windscreen and pivot the blade.
- Release the connector, pull the wiper blade downward and slide the whole blade from the hook. It might stick slightly if there is dirt on the blade. Gently place the bare hook on the soft cloth on the windscreen. Be careful: the wiper arm is spring loaded, and could crack the windscreen if allowed to drop quickly.
- With the rubber pointing towards the windscreen, carefully lift the wiper arm and pull the new blade connector into the hook until you hear or feel a click.
- Lower the wiper blade gently to the windscreen and repeat for the other side.
- Activate the windscreen washer & check the wiper action/efficiency (preferably before it starts to rain).
Trouble shooting common windscreen wiper problems
Some common windscreen wiper problems can be solved quickly and easily.
Smearing in both directions
Wipers smearing water in both directions suggests that you have one of the following problems:
- Worn blades
- A dirty windscreen and/or wiper blade
- Sub-par windscreen wiper fluid
Try solving the easier potential problems first by using new wiper fluid and cleaning the windscreen and wiper blades before you consider replacing the wiper blades.
Smearing in only one direction
Water smearing in one direction is common in cold weather and is nothing to worry about. However, smearing in one direction when it’s not cold means your wiper blades need to be replaced as they’re either old and hard or the wrong size.
If you hear chattering from your windscreen wipers, it means that the water isn’t being wiped away efficiently. It could be due to a build-up of wax, oil or grease. Simply give your windscreen and wiper blades a thorough cleaning. If that doesn’t solve the problem, check to see if the wiper arm is bent. If so, use pliers to carefully twist it back into place.
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