When Your Wiper Blades Need Replacement

How Often Should Wiper Blades Be Replaced?

 Wiper blades should be replaced every six months to a year or as soon as you notice a difference in driving visibility. When wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface, they can begin to squeak, chatter, skip, smear or streak reducing driving visibility.

The life of the wiper blades depends on the materials from which they are made, how much exposure they get from the sun and outside temperatures (extreme heat or cold), how often they are used, and how much road splash and dirt ends up on the glass. Road splash can be very abrasive when it contains hard particles of dirt, sand or gravel dust. As the blades lose their sharp edges, they can’t wipe as cleanly and may streak or smear.

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Many blades are made of natural rubber because it provides one of the best wiping surfaces. But it doesn’t hold up to the environment as well as other synthetic materials. And regardless of what the blades are made of, eventually they wear out and must be replaced.

Changing a set of wiper blades is fairly simple on most vehicles — once you’ve had some experience with the various blade mounting systems. There are a number of different mounting systems, and if you have never replaced a set of blades or haven’t encountered a particular type of mounting system before, removing the blades can be a confusing and intimidating experience.

That’s why many motorists put off changing the blades even when they know the blades are bad and need to be replaced. If they put it off long enough, the rubber will eventually tear away. And if the vehicle has metal blade holders, the holders may end up carving permanent scratches in the windshield.

Wiper blades should never be allowed to deteriorate to the point where they are literally falling apart. It’s dangerous because it limits wet weather visibility, and it may result in expensive damage to the glass. A windshield typically costs about $400 to $500 to replace, but a set of wiper blades may cost $10 to $30 a pair to replace.

Source: Rain-x, Tomorrows Technician

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