There’s no getting around the fact that wiper blades are built to wear out. It’s an unavoidable part of their life cycle, and even the most careful maintenance can’t dodge the fact that they are going to take damage during inclement weather that adds up until the blades no longer maintain structural integrity. There are ways to get more out of your blades, though, as well as choices for windshield wiper blades that are built to last longer and deal with harsher weather than their OEM counterparts. By learning how to maintain your wipers and when to pay extra for performance upgrades, you can maximize their lifespan without compromising on the quality of their performance.
Tips To Make Your Windshiled Wipers From Drying Out
Like many car parts that are built to wear out regularly, wiper blades break down for a variety of reasons, even when they don’t take damage. Most of them are made with rubber contact surfaces, which dries out over time, leading to material degradation. Preventing that degradation is the key to lengthening the life of your wiper blades. Here are some ideas that can help you do that:
- Park in the shade or in a garage as much as possible to avoid UV damage to the blades
- Clean the blades regularly with wiper fluid and water to keep them moist and flexible
- Avoid running the windshield wipers with a dry windshield
- Avoid running the wipers on a frozen windshield or de-icing with the wipers down
Wiper blades don’t just break down because the material dries out. They can also wear out from damage, but taking damage is more likely when they are operated dry because of the drag created on the windshield from the friction of rubber against glass. Running the blades across ice has the same problem, plus the risk that chunks of ice could tear up the blade or harm the control arm mechanism.
How Long Do Windshield Blades Last
OEM wiper blades are generally designed to last six months. If you have noticed no decrease in the effectiveness of the blades after six months, they may be good for a little while longer. If you notice a loss of effectiveness before six months have passed, it’s a good idea to replace the blades immediately. Six months is an estimate for how long it takes the average wiper blade to begin showing smears or blurred spots from inadequate water removal, but damage to the blades can make it necessary to replace them early. Some brands of performance wiper blade are built to last a year or even a little longer because they are constructed with superior materials. Often, the cost of this upgrade is saved by having fewer replacements over the life of the car, so it is worth considering the upgrade.
Make Changing Blades Easy
It’s not hard to find a place to buy replacement blades, but if you want to be sure you have access to everything you need while making a quick change, your choice of shopping locations can matter a lot. Not only does the right choice mean finding the best price, it can also mean working with people who are happy to help you figure out what wiper blade size you need or even to offer you a tool loan so you can deal with any issues that come up as you work on swapping blades out.