Windscreen wiper blades are a very important part of your vehicle. They provide the driver with a clear view of the road. As such they become a major safety item.
Just imagine not having properly functioning wiper blades in weather conditions like sleet, snow, rain and even hail? No thanks!
Your wiper blades, like many other car parts, are prone to wear and tear and need replacement after a certain period of time. How often you need to replace your windscreen wiper blades all depends on their condition and usage.
Obviously you would not change something that still works. However failing to change when you need to can actually cause damage to your windscreen glass if the metal of the wipers comes into contact with your windscreen.
Signs Your Windscreen Wiper Blades Need Replacement
Wipers are typically made from thin rubber and are designed to operate smoothly on the windscreen without creating damage to the surface of the glass.
Due to their constant usage in different weather conditions, and even when not in use, they age and breakdown. They therefore require regular replacement.
Car owners should constantly be on the look-out for the common signs that will show they need to replace their windscreen wipers. These signs include:
- Unusual Noises: Windscreen wipers should operate with minimal if not zero noise at all. If you start hearing squeaks or screeches, this may possibly be a sign that your wiper blades need replacement. Investigate further to find the cause to the noise.
- Irregular Movement: Wiper blades normally move smoothly across the windscreen. When they start to wear out, they will stagger in movement thus being ineffective. If you notice a juddering action you may need replacement.
- Streaking: Windscreen blades that are in good condition should effectively clear rainwater from the windscreen without much effort. This implies that there should not be any streaks of water where the blade has failed to make contact with the glass. Streaking is usually the first sign you will see when your wiper blades are due for replacement.
Note that with all of these signs, it may just be that the windscreen or the wiper blades are dirty. If these signs are still present after a thorough car wash and wiping of the blades, then a new set is due.
Also, severely worn out wiper blades can damage your windscreen if not handled in good time. This will eventually lead to greater costs which can be avoided at an early stage.
Replacement of the entire windscreen definitely costs more than a pair of wiper blades, so make sure you make the right call before it is too late.
Who Long Do Wiper Blades Last
The lifespan of windscreen wiper blades is dependent on the manufacturer or brand, weather conditions, usage and overall quality.
If the brand is well-known and of high quality, then the wiper blades are likely to last for quite a long period compared to less-known and poorer quality brands.
Also, if the weather condition is constantly harsh, then the wiper blades would last a shorter time as compared to more friendly weather conditions.
Generally, a decent wiper blade will last from around 6 to 12 months. However higher quality blades can last up to 24 months, but this all depends on their usage and how well they are cared for.
On the other hand if you use your vehicle heavily and there is constant need to have the wipers working, you may not even get 6 months from a high quality set.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Wiper Blades
While not always in your control, there are certain things you can do to extend the life of your wiper blades. By taking these preventative stops you will not have to replace your wipers as frequently.
- Garage Whenever Possible: Try to garage your car as opposed to parking on the street. Street parking exposes your car to harsh weather conditions which can cause damage to all parts of your vehicle. Sun can damage your paintwork and the rubber seals all over your car, including your rubber wipers. Also things are more likely to fall on your windscreen such as leaves, branches, bird droppings, etc. which can all cause faster deterioration of your wiper blades.
- Regular Cleaning: Make sure you regularly clean your vehicle. You should be giving your car a regular clean to ensure dirt, oil and grime does not damage the exposed parts of your car. Paintwork and rubbers, once again can break down when they are covered in dirt, grime and grease. When cleaning your car ensure you wipe the blades of your wipers to remove any clumps of dirt or other foreign matter. This will ensure they glide smoothly over your nicely cleaned glass.
- Glass Cleaner: As part of your regular cleaning process make sure you also clean your glass with an automotive glass cleaner. This will ensure your wiper blades glide even more smoothly and effortlessly across your cleaned glass. Once again this will ensure they last longer.
- Limit Excessive Usage: Don’t use your wipers unnecessarily. Of course when it is raining, put your wipers on so you can see in front of you. However you don’t need to leave them on full blast when it is only raining lightly. Likewise when it stops raining ensure they are turned off. So many people continue to leave their wipers on when the rain has stopped and this excessive use will only shorten the lifespan of their wiper blades.
By now you should know the answer to your question of – how often should I replace my windscreen wiper blades?
Don’t forget to also look out for your rear windscreen wiper periodically too if your vehicle has one.
Although it is used less often as compared to the front wiper blades, it is also prone to wear and tear over time. Once again you do not want to damage your rear windscreen from having the metal of the wiper scratch across the surface of the glass.