Windshield wipers: More Complicated than You Think
Most drivers think their windshield wipers are foolproof and resistant to breaking. All they need to do is replace the blades regularly. It’s simple right?
Well, yes and no. Regular replacement of your windshield wipers is necessary and keeps your vehicle safe to drive in the rain. But that’s only part of it. Wipers connect to a set of motors and wires that run your wiper system. Every winter, we have to rebuild those systems because of poor windshield wiper use.
A windshield wiper may only cost $15 to replace. However, a broken wiper system could cost from $100 to well over $750 to replace, depending on the car. Much of the damage we see is avoidable.
How to Avoid Windshield Wiper Damage
First, make sure your wiper arms can move. Snow and ice can immobilize your windshield wipers and keep them from moving. Your wiper system can break if you run your wipers when they’re stuck. Instead of using its power to move rain off your windshield, it uses that same torque against itself. This weight can burn out a wiper motor or damage the small nylon pieces that hold your linkage arm together.
To cure this problem, clear any snow from your windshield before running your windshield wipers. Using windshield wipers to move heavy snow could easily break the system.
Watch out for ice and make sure it isn’t gluing your wiper blades to your windshield. Ice will keep your wipers stuck just like snow and create heavy stress to your wiper system. Ice can also lock up any moving parts exposed to the weather. To clear those, get a hot cup of water and pour it on your wipers until they become unstuck and move freely.
The Big Wiper Blade Controversy
Many people think they should position their wiper blades up away from the windshield in cold weather to keep their wiper blades from freezing to the windshield. However, a strong wind can knock your wiper blades back against your windshield and cause a crack.
A better solution is to put something between the wiper and the windshield. A balled up plastic bag or an old pair of socks placed between the glass and wiper blade works well without pressure on the wiper blade. If you use old socks, though, make sure they’re classy!
Another idea is to treat your windshield before it gets cold with something to repel water and ice. Consider a product like Rain-X. It keeps your windshield from attracting ice and dirt that is so common in winter driving.
Do You Need to Replace Your Wiper Blades?
It would be best if you replaced your windshield wipers every six to 12 months. Cracked or torn wiper blades no longer effectively grip the windshield and wipe off rain, mud, sleet, and snow. Your safety depends on quality wiper blades that work when you need them.
How do you know you need new wiper blades?
- They look dry or cracked
- They leave streaks of water or snow behind
- You routinely drive in extremely hot or cold temperatures
- You live in a storm-prone area
Do you need to replace your wiper blades? Call 208.888.7464 and schedule an appointment with Driven Automotive for a full checkup. We’ll also check your wiper motor and linkage to make sure they are working correctly.