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They may not seem like a critical part of your vehicle, but good windshield wipers are a vital safety feature. The wipers clear the view in front of the driver and front passenger and clean the rear window?s center when equipped with a rear wiper. Driving with faulty windshield wipers can seriously affect your view of the road, putting you and other motorists in peril. As soon as you notice that your wipers are under-performing, have them replaced or repaired.

There are several factors to consider when selecting the correct windshield wipers for your car. Always keep your location?s weather conditions in mind when choosing the right blade for the job. In this article, we?ll share our tips, answer common questions, and offer suggestions to help you buy the right windshield wiper for your needs.

How Often Should I Change My Wiper Blades?

Change your wiper blades every 6-12 months. Windshield wipers are manufactured from degradable rubber that deteriorates, becoming less effective over time. Develop the habit of checking your wipers regularly and know the danger signs of wiper blade wear and tear. What do you do if your blades need to be replaced?

How Do I Know if I Need New Windshield Wipers?

Here are five warning signs your wipers have become worn and need replacement.

  • Streaking: When your wiper?s rubber blade becomes hardened and cracked, it will leave watery gaps on your windshield. Cracked and hardened blades create streaks, lines, or bands across the windshield.
  • Vibrating: Wear and tear on the links and rubber blade can cause the wiper to make jerking, noisy movements across the windshield.
  • Lifting: When the wiper misses sections on the windshield, it?s due to lifting. Either the blade or the arm should be replaced.
  • Squeaking: Worn wiper elements can become hardened or misshapen, causing them to squeak and make noise.
  • Skipping: a deformed wiper blade lip will ?skip? across the windshield, causing a veil effect.

Are All Windshield Wipers the Same Size?

No, all windshield wipers are not the same. Wiper blades are available in many styles, sizes, and variations, and they?re also vehicle specific. It?s important to know which ones to buy when replacing them. On some cars, passenger and driver?s side wiper blades are the same, while others differ vastly. The best blade size for each of your wipers should be selected for proper fit and windshield clearance.

What Do I Need to Know Before I Buy Windshield Wipers?

There are several questions to consider before choosing replacement windshield wipers. Here are the most important.

  • Which blades do you need to replace? Driver-side, passenger-side, or rear wiper blades? On some cars, the driver?s side wiper blade is larger than the passenger?s-side. Driver-side and passenger-side wiper blades can be purchased in pairs or individually. Rear wiper blades are sold singularly.
  • Do you need to replace the blade or the entire wiper arm? Frequently, you can keep the arm and only replace the wiper blade that connects into place.
  • How do the blades connect to the wiper arms? Some blades employ hook mechanisms. Others use side-pin, top-lock, pinch-tab, bayonet, and slim-top mechanisms. Don?t worry, every wiper blade set comes with a picture diagram showing how to slot the new blades onto the wiper arms.

Are There Different Kinds of Wiper Blades?

Yes, there are different types of windshield wiper blades, but they all have the same feature, a rubber-edged squeegee that makes contact with windshield glass. A wiper blade?s rubber edge is soft, flexible, and likely to degrade, wear and tear. Vehicle makers have developed several styles of wiper blades for use in different situations.

Standard Hinged Wiper Blades

  • Most vehicles are equipped with hinged wiper blades.
  • Popular for decades, hinged blades are economical and a great all-around blade.
  • Hinged wiper blade arms are lightweight stamped metal with pivots holding the rubber wiper edge against the windshield. The hinges allow the rubber squeegee to conform to the contours of the glass.
  • Ice collects on the metal frame during winter, making them less effective. Regular cleaning is a must to keep the blades useful.

Winter Wiper Blades

  • Essentially the same as standard hinged wiper blades.
  • The entire metal frame is encased in a thin rubber boot with a rubber edge.
  • The windshield wiper keeps its hinged abilities, but snow and ice cannot be collected on the wiper.
  • Excellent for cold weather use, but the rubber boot deteriorates, cracks and tears during hot weather.