Windshield wipers: More Complicated than You Think
Most drivers thinks that 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 driving safe, but that’s only part of it. Wipers are connected to a serious set of motors and mechanics that run your wiper system. Every winter, we have to replace those systems because a driver burned out a motor or broke a wiper linkage because of poor windshield wiper use.
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’s using that same torque against itself. This can burn out a wiper motor or damage the small nylon pieces that holds your linkage arm together.
In that vein, clear any snow from your windshield before running your windshield wipers. Wipers are made to remove smaller, lighter loads off your windshield. Using them to move heavy snow could easily break the system even though they might be moving.
Watch out for ice and make sure your wiper blades are not iced 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 the moving parts of your wipers that are exposed to weather. To clear those, get a hot cup of water and pour it on your wipers until they become unstuck or until your moving parts move freely. Trying to cut your wipers off with a scraper will only damage the wiper blade and won’t release any frozen moving parts.
The Big Wiper Blade Controversy
Whatever you do, however, don’t lift your wiper blades up when it freezes. Many people think it’s common knowledge to keep your wiper blades up in cold weather to keep your 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 wiper and the windshield. A balled up plastic bag or an old pair of socks placed between the glass and wiper blade works great as it doesn’t put pressure on the blade itself. 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 buildup and dirt that is so common in winter driving.
Do Need to Replace Your Wiper Blades?
Driven Automotive can help you find the right windshield wipers for your vehicle. Replace your windshield wipers every 6 to 12 months. Cracked or torn wiper blades no longer grip the windshield and wipe off rain, mud, sleet, and snow effectively. 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 an bring your car to Driven Automotive for a full checkup. We’ll also check your wiper motor and linkage to make sure it’s working correctly.