Whenever we talk about car parts or their maintenance, we most likely focus on the complex mechanical systems that make a car work, such as the drivetrain, the brakes, and other major parts. What we tend to forget is that our vehicles are also made up of many other critical elements that are less technically sophisticated.
Some of these critical yet straightforward parts are the windscreen wipers. Have you ever considered your wiper blades to be one of your top ten most essential car parts? Well, you really should.
Wiper blades are not sophisticated at all, especially since they're just made of rubber and only move side to side. Their critical role, however, is to keep your windscreen clear regardless of the conditions outside your car. Whatever touches the windshield – be it rain, snow, dust or debris – functioning wipers will swish it aside without a problem.
The thing about those wiper blades, though, is that whether or not you use them often, you need to replace them periodically.
Why do my windscreen wipers need to be changed?
The wipers operate by making a side-to-side motion while pressed against the windscreen. This repetitive action generates a lot of friction and wears down the rubber material, leading to the wiper's normal wear and tear. That’s when you will start noticing lines of water or bits of rubber left on the windscreen, squeaky noises, and worse, scratches on the glass.
Even if you rarely use your wiper blades, the natural environment can wear them down. If you're in a cold climate, low temperatures could make your windscreen wipers hard and therefore brittle. If you're in the hot Australian weather, for example, the heat could deform and spoil the rubber of the wiper blades.
Though it might not sound like a big deal, it is. Wiper blades that are in bad shape can cause damage to your windscreen, which would lead to more expensive repairs. It's much safer, simpler, and cheaper to buy new wiper blades than invite worse scenarios.
How often should I change my windscreen wipers?
A good rule of thumb would be to change your windscreen wipers twice a year. Exactly how often depends on your personal situation. If the weather in your location is harsh, or if you use those wipers heavily, you may have to change them more often.
Unlike many other car parts, there is no warning light to tell you about problems in your car’s wiper blades. There are a few indicators that you can look out for, though.
If you use your windscreen wipers and they leave streaks across the glass, it's time to change them. If using them makes funny noises that it shouldn't make, or if their movement across your windscreen isn't smooth as silk, it's probably time to find a replacement.
Of course, if you see distortions or rubber falling apart, then it's most definitely time to get new ones.
How do I choose the right kind of windscreen wiper?
Not all windscreen wipers are created equal. Two things set them apart from each other. First, you'll need to make sure that the replacement you're buying is the correct length. Wiper blades can go anywhere from 18 inches to 26 inches, so choose one that’s compatible with your car.
Second, you'll need to be aware of the wiper blade clips that your car uses. Different vehicles use different kinds of clips for their windscreen wipers. For example, there's the hook type, the pinch tab, the side lock and many more.
The best way to figure out what kind of wiper blades you need for your car is to check your car's manual. You can also check the wiper's packaging before you buy it to see if it matches your car model.
If all else fails, ask the store's employees for help.
How do I change my windscreen wipers?
No matter what kind of windscreen wipers you have, the process to replace them is generally the same.
First, you'll start by taking the metal arm that holds the wiper blade and raising it away from the windshield. The metal arm will easily reposition if you're doing it right, so there's no need for you to apply much force at all.
Then, you'll have to make sure that the wiper is perpendicular to the metal arm. Doing this allows you to unhook the wiper blade from whatever clip is holding it in place.
Finally, you'll clip the brand new wiper blade into place. Straighten the wiper and slowly lower the metal arm back towards the windscreen.
That's all there is to it! Be sure also to test it out a few times to make sure everything's okay.
Should I also replace my rear windscreen wipers?
Yes, it would be best if you replaced your rear windscreen wipers as well. Even though you'll be using your front windscreen wipers most of the time, don't take the ones at the back for granted!
Your rear windscreen is also exposed to the same environmental conditions, and it can get foggy or dusty just as quickly. Good rear wiper blades help you to keep that windscreen clear so you can maintain excellent rear visibility.
Clear visibility of the car's rear is vital to ensure that you're fully aware of your surroundings and can drive safely. Even though modern cars have all sorts of systems to help you reverse without problems, like cameras and reverse sensors, nothing beats having a clear rear windscreen.
Can I buy new wiper blades online?
You can buy any car parts you need online, wiper blades included. Buying them online is more convenient since you won't need to take time out of your busy schedule to purchase new wiper blades!
More importantly, buying them online allows you to quickly compare different brands and sellers and find yourself the best deal possible. A smart way to shop online would be through Carpart.com.au. It’s a platform where sellers in Australia and other countries list the automotive products they’re selling. What it means to you is that it’s now easier to search for auto parts because there’s only one website to browse. So what are you waiting for? Try it today!
- Ray Hasbollah