Here at Collision Auto Glass and Calibration, we regularly deal with the windshield glass itself, fitting and calibrating this vital safety equipment to the car with the utmost care from our expert technicians. More than just glass goes into the entire windshield. Windshield wipers and windshield wiper fluid are just as important as the auto glass itself. Poorly made replacement blades, oversized blades and a lack of washer fluid makes the difference between keeping your windshield clean or having it damaged by a crucial safety device.
Weather-related causes accounted for roughly 22-percent of all vehicle crashes in a ten-year period from 2007 to 2016. Of those crashes rain accounted for 46-percent, outpacing nearly every other category besides wet pavement. However, where there is rain, there is usually wet pavement. Windshield wiper blades and fluid are crucial to ensuring your glass stays as streak- and debris-free as possible. Windshield washer fluid in particular has anti-freeze agents in order to prevent frost, sleet and ice to build up on the glass. We won’t cover fluid in this post, but NAPA has a blog post for more.
For the non-savvy or new driver this might all seem unclear, so we’ve taken the time to list out a few tips for choosing your next replacement wiper blades. Don’t forget! This all applies to the rear windshield wiper as well.
If your windshield wipers are leaving streaks, generating noise when wiping, moving at high speeds or aged more than a year, then the time to replace the wiper blades is now.
Before setting off to replace your windshield wipers, take an accurate measure of your wiper blade sizes. Having the correct sizes ensures wiper performance so they do not clash with each other while in use. Improperly sized wipers are ineffective wipers.
If you don’t have a measuring tape, your car manual should also have an entry on the sizes of the wiper blades. If you don’t have a car manual, however, any auto parts store should be able to search up the make and model of car and then identify the proper sizes of both front and rear wiper blades.
There are two different types of wiper blades: conventional blades and beam blades. Both models of wiper have crucial differences. Conventional wiper blades use hinges and brackets to conform the actual blade to the glass. This leaves space between the external frame that holds the brackets and the blade. Debris, ice and snow can catch in that small space preventing uniform pressure across the entire blade. Moreover, the brackets craft small pressure points that degrade the rubber material and cause streaking. Winterized versions of this traditional wiper blade cover the space to prevent ice buildup, however they still develop pressure points.
To assuage these issues, manufacturers came back from the drawing board with the beam blade wiper. It conforms naturally to the shape of curved windshields without the brackets of an average wiper. The entire wiper blade runs along the spring metal frame, coated in rubber. There are winterized versions of this wiper as well, usually employing stronger materials to withstand the inclement weather. However, the elimination of the brackets and curved design already makes this one of the more effective wipers you can buy.
As mentioned, winterized types of blades that use more durable materials exist, but there are other considerations when looking for a wiper blade replacement of quality.
A performance spoiler will make sure the actual wiper stays glued to the windshield. Not literally, but enough to prevent chattering and movement at high speeds. If you absolutely want the wiper to move during bad weather, than you probably don’t want it to move on a sunny day with warm weather. That movement usually leads to wear and tear and may require you replace your blade sooner than you would like.
Another way to lessen the strain on your wipers is to search for synthetic rubber blends. Most natural rubber degrades relatively quickly. A silicone wiper blade can withstand more extreme weather conditions while still lasting a solid six months to a year. These high quality windshield wipers will be marked on the packaging.
One of the things we only touched on at the end of Tip #3 was the cost of wipers. Generally, beam blades cost a little more for the convenience of lower maintenance and work exactly the same in the winter months as they would the summer months. You might wonder why blades that look effectively like rubber squeegees cost more, but beam blades keep a clean windshield for longer. They are such an effective option wiper manufacturers lose money in the long run while consumers save money.
Conventional wiper blades end up costing less in the short run because they already have the supply chain and the universal adapters to work with any car. They are proven to work, just less convenient and more expensive in the long run because of their lesser durability. So before choosing, ask yourself if you would like to save money in the short run or the long run. Depending on your answer, you will want to choose traditional wiper or beam blades respectively. Once again, this all applies to the rear windshield wiper as well.
All things considered, what these wipers clean also ranks as pretty important. Thus our whole post to finding the proper windshield wiper options. If you have a windshield in need of replacement and calibration in the Portland metro, then Collision Auto Glass and Calibration awaits, ready to help with our Lifetime No-Leak Guarantee. Contact us today for our mobile service.