Windshield wipers are a no-brainer, right? Until they wear out, that is. When there’s a huge clump of snow and ice blocking your vision and you can’t clear it from your windshield, you’re in trouble. Windshield wiper replacement is inexpensive auto maintenance that usually takes only a few minutes. When you shop for your replacement wipers, you’ll want to keep a few important things in mind.
How To Check Your Windshield Wipers
You probably recognize the typical signs that your wiper blades are going bad: squeaking, vibrating or chattering noises plus streaks and wet spots on your windshield. Before your wipers get to that point, it’s wise to inspect them on a regular basis. Simply start your vehicle, turn on your wipers and observe how they clear your windshield. If they’re quiet, work smoothly and easily clear away water, you’re in good shape. Anything else, and you need to take a second look at your wiper blades.
An up-close inspection of each blade can give you a better idea of its condition. Look for dirt or debris stuck on the blade and wipe it off using a simple glass cleaner. Also, keep an eye out for cracks, missing chunks or ripped pieces in the rubber blade itself. If you spot these issues, replace the blades right away. And if your blades physically look fine but make strange noises or don’t clean your windshield, you should still replace them as soon as possible.
Choosing the Best Windshield Wiper Replacements
Shopping for wiper blades is a relatively simple task. With so many choices on the market, it’s easy to feel confused. Fortunately, this simple breakdown of windshield wiper types can help you pick the best ones for your vehicle:
- Conventional wipers consist of rubber blades attached to metal frames. You may still spot them on older vehicles, but they’re slowly being replaced by newer styles.
- Beam wipers are manufactured from solid pieces of rubber and feature curved frames that fit your windshield’s contours. Since they lack metal frames, they can’t get clogged with ice and snow.
- Hybrid wipers have aerodynamic rubber shells attached to metal frames. With pivoting suspension points, the frames ensure the blades’ consistency and even contact with the windshield.
Conventional wipers are still available from many parts dealers and price out between $12 and $17. Beam wipers are more expensive, ranging between $27 and $32, but they excel in colder climates since they last longer and clear debris more efficiently. Hybrid wipers are solid all-around performers, with most models pricing out at around $20.
A Few Last Words About Wiper Blades
Arming yourself with good information is helpful when you’re shopping for wiper blades. Before you browse, make sure you know the correct windshield wipers size. Check your owner’s manual for this information or use your online parts retailer’s make/model/year search feature to find models with the right size. A reputable auto parts store can advise you about wiper blades, answer common questions such as “Why is my engine light on?” or provide other assistance to help you get back on the road.