A Guide to Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers aren’t considered a safety feature, but they do play a big part in drivers’ safety.

It’s challenging to drive as safely as you want to when you can’t clearly see through your windshield. Dirt and grime buildup can reduce your visibility, so worn wipers could be a driving hazard. Replace your wipers for a clear view of the road.

Spotting the Signs

Do you know when to replace your windshield wipers? The general guideline is every six months or 6,000 miles—sometimes more often if you live in an area that experiences harsh weather conditions. Regardless, it’s time to replace your wiper blades if you notice any of the following:

  • Windshield streaking or smearing
  • Screeching or squeaking noises
  • Rubber blades that are split or worn
  • Bent frames

Choosing a Blade

If one of your wipers gives you trouble, it’s best to replace both for peak performance. Some people might want to replace the refill—the rubber-wiping element—instead of the entire blade. But trying to maneuver the refill into the wiper assembly can be challenging. Buying an entire assembly is easier and only a bit more expensive than buying refills.

You need to know the size your car needs. To locate this information look in your car’s owner’s manual, measure the blades yourself or ask an automotive store to look up the size.

Once you find the right fit, you need to decide on a blade type. Here are your options:

  • Traditional: Most cars use this affordable option.
  • Beam: These higher-cost blades are known for their performance, durability and aerodynamic design.
  • Winter: These are designed to keep the wiper free of ice and snow.

Installing New Wipers

Replacing windshield wipers is fairly simple, but steps vary depending on your vehicle’s type of wiper. Your owner’s manual should walk you through the process. Once you’ve installed the blades, test them right away to ensure they work properly—that way you know they’ll function when you need them to.