If the windshield serves as the eyes of your car, then windshield wipers function as the eyelids. Imagine going through life without being able to blink properly – all the dirt, grime, and dust of the world will cause permanent damage to your corneas.
The same thing goes for your windshield. Without a proper pair of stable and sturdy windshield wipers to act as a first line of defense against the elements, your vehicle’s laminated glass will be prone to damage, and may even put your life and the life of your passengers in jeopardy.
Thus, it’s important to regularly check and maintain your wipers. The functional state of these peripheral instruments can often spell the difference between safety and disaster, life and death.
Here are five signs that it’s time to replace your wipers.
1. Rubber lining defects
Inspect the black rubber underside of your wipers. Are they smooth and unbroken, or are they jagged and worm out? Often, your windshield wipers will suffer from daily wear and tear, especially during the winter months.
Road salt, mud, detritus, and small pieces of gravel stuck to your windshield can often damage the rubber lining of your wipers, which can then lead to messy streaks and scratches on the glass.
2. Wipers make annoying squeaks and noises
This means that the plastic gilding of the wipers is making contact with the windshield glass, and not the rubber lining itself.
The cause of all that annoying noise can often be traced to worn-down wiper blades. If these aren’t replaced quickly, they may cause poor road vision.
3. Wiper frames bent at angles
The framing of your wiper blades, though sturdy, can be bent or altered by a variety of reasons. Common ones include the daily tension caused by automatic drive-through car washes, or even by hacking away at ice particles on your windshield.
Unfortunately, there are no saving wiper blades that have started to curl up like withered metallic vines. Although they may seem to work properly, these will eventually degrade and become unusable.
4. Inadequate windshield contact
During the rainy season, it becomes very noticeable when your wipers stop making contact with certain parts of your windshield.
If they can’t swipe away water, dirt, or even melted snow from the middle of your windshield and its adjacent corners, that’s a clear sign to get replacements.
5. Seasonal changes
Not all windshield wipers are created equally, and not all of them will perform well during certain seasonal changes. Investing in two pairs of wiper blades – one for summer and another for winter – may be more cost-effective in the long run, especially since ice and snow will damage regular wiper blades.
6. Streaking and spots on your windshield
Ever notice a consistent layer of muck or grime on your windshield? The kind that never goes away, no matter how many times you replace your cleaner fluid? This may be caused by caked-up dirt on your wiper blades. Typically, a quick wipe with some paper towels will take care of these issues, but if problems remain, then it’s time to purchase a brand new pair of wipers.