How often should you change your windshield wiper blades? Well where do you live, what kind of conditions is your car enduring, is your car house broken or forced to stay outside?
Don’t always go by what the manufacturer says because your environment is the biggest factor on the life of your blades.
Wiper blades are a must but something we often forget about keeping a regular maintenance schedule on. I have been asked how often should wiper blades be changed and if you look on the internet or look it up in a tech book, you will get every 6 months.
OK, if you live in a nice area with moderate temperatures and mild weather extremes and regular environment conditions then yes that would be true. Now if you live in an area that it rains or snows more out of the year than not, guess what, you will be changing them more frequently.
Living in Texas or Arizona in a more desert type area or maybe in Florida at the beach? Well there is a lot of sand and wind carrying dirt in the air, so wiper blade changes again will be more frequent.
I would suggest inspecting your wipers every quarter of the year and it wouldn’t hurt to make it part of your regular preventive maintenance check but always look for the following:
- Broken wiper frame.
- Metal Corrosion.
- Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge.
- Flex rubber squeegee back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Aged squeegees will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and create streaks.
- Check squeegee wiping edge for rounded edges which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduces wipe quality.
- Tug to ensure wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm.
- Check that squeegee is secure in the wiper frame.
- Also look at the big spring close to where the actual arm bolts and look for rust or corrosion there as these springs can rust through or break from wear.
- A squeegee that is in good shape will try and stand up and down, they will bend over from the wiper returning to park and stay that way when they become weak.
- Do you have squeaks, chatters, skips, smears or streaks reducing driving visibility?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, if you are experiencing any the following issues with your wipers, it is time to change them:
Is There a Way To Make Wiper Blades Last Longer?
To help your wipers last longer, clean your windshield often like when you are filling up with gas. Most stations always have a cleaner solution, a hand held sponge/squeegee and towels.
When you are done cleaning the windshield, use the wet towel to wipe the squeegee edges of your wiper blades. Keeping your car clean with regular washes will help everything last longer including the wipers.
This is a tip that is something hard to get in the habit of but after a rain or using your wipers for whatever reason. Once you have parked, pick the wiper blade up of the windshield and set it back down. This will allow the blade to set more at rest and keep its designed shape longer.
Never use your wipers as an ice scraper during the winter, properly scrape the ice of with a real ice scraper. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Use the right tools for the right job?”. It is amazing how that can apply for the simplest of things.
Installing Wiper Blades
One would think that this should be an easy job but even with 40 years of automotive experience, I get those blades that I just can’t get free. They all have release tabs and most are the same, but ever once in a while I get one that has fused into the metal arm or the tab will not flex to release.
As a safety precaution, most newer cars allow the wiper arms to flip straight out to make servicing them easier. The issue is that if that arm were to flip back down without a wiper blade on it, you may be looking at a broken windshield.
I always take the package the new wiper blade comes in and I place it on the windshield to catch that arm just in case it does slip out of my hands while trying to put the new wiper on. Of course a towel or anything soft will work but just be conscious of it.
The basic instructions to removing the wiper blades are as follows:
Park your windshield wiper blades in the middle of your windshield by turning off your car when the wiper blades are in the middle of the wipe cycle
To remove the old wiper blades from a J-hook arm, turn the blade perpendicular to the arm. On the underside of the blade, depress the button tab on the connection adapter clip and pull the wiper blade out of the open end of the “J” on the end of the wiper arm until free
There are a lot of different types of wiper blades and the way they mount but the ones above are the most common and in use today. The year of your car and possibly the manufacturer is the reason for the variety of types. Here is a chart of the many different types.
Recap – How often should you change your windshield wiper blades?
It would be the best practice to routinely change your wipers at least every 4 months provided your environment isn’t a harsh one.
Inspect your wipers at least every quarter for splits or nicks in the rubber edge of the blade.
Look for twisting or warping in the rubber if the blade is no longer holding a straight in line shape, the blade is bad.
Look at the wiper blade framing, most are plastic today but some are still metal. Ensure that all the connected points haven’t popped apart and that the rubber blade is flat and fully contacting the glass.
Remember, your environment can determine the life of your wipers, so in normal and moderate weather conditions, wiper can last up to 6 months.
If the edge if the rubber blade is no longer trying to stand up and down, that it is bent and laid over. If this has happened, replace them regardless of how long they have been on the car.
Visual or listening to your wipers in operation is your best indicator. If they are squeaking, streaking, chattering, leaving lines or smearing the water instead of clearing the windshield, it is time to replace them.