When we think about the safety equipment on our cars, we tend to think about seatbelts and airbags, but rarely do we consider our windshield wipers, that is, until we’re caught in a wild Florida storm and cannot see out of our windshield.
Unlike oil that we have been taught to change at set intervals or tires and light bulbs that are easy to tell when they need to be replaced, it’s often hard to tell when you need to change your windshield wipers.
When Should I Replace My Windshield Wipers?
The common rule of thumb is to replace your windshield wipers once a year, ideally at the start of the rainy season, which is around the middle of May here in Florida. While we completely understand that remembering to change your wipers is difficult, an easy trick is to ensure you always have a healthy set of wipers on your car is to make changing your wipers part of your vehicle’s regular maintenance.
In fact, a lot of luxury manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz have started replacing wipers as a service item, regardless of how many times a car has been serviced in the last 12 months. You should never wait for your annual service and replace your wipers immediately if you notice any damage to your wipers.
Signs Of A Damaged Windshield Wiper Blade
When we say windscreen wiper blade, we are talking about the rubber part of the wiper and backing metal that contact the windshield and can be replaced.
The most common signs of your wipers beginning to fail include:
Squeaking and Streaking
Squeaking wipers are one of the most annoying sounds your car can make, but it is also the most common sign your wipers have gone bad. Squeaking wipers are almost always accompanied by water streaks on your windshield that the wipers fail to clear. Sometimes this is caused by dirt getting trapped under the wiper blade and can be remedied by wiping the blade clean with a damp cloth or sponge. If that doesn’t solve it, it’s time for new wipers.
Skipping occurs when the rubber of the wiper begins to harden and can no longer bend and flex to the contours of your windshield. This leads to either large areas of the windshield going unwiped or multiple small areas leaving vertical streaks on your windshield. If left long enough, the hard rubber can crack, which leads to larger areas of the windshield going unwiped
Living in Florida means we experience some of the highest UV indexes in the country, and that harsh sunlight can lead to the rubber on your wipers hardening sooner
Give Your Windshield Wipers A Helping Hand
Maintaining the smoothness and hydrophobic properties of your windshield help make your wiper’s job much easier. Depending on the angle your windshield is slanted at, it may even let you get away without using your wipers at all in light drizzles.
The next time you change your wipers, consider taking your car for a car wash and asking them to clay bar your windshield. Clay barring your windshield will lift any impurities embedded in the glass that may be making your windshield’s surface rough. Not only will this give the water less to grip onto, and allow water to more easily bead off, a smoother windshield will extend the life of your wiper blades.
After your windshield has been clay barred, you can wipe it down with a degreaser or rubbing alcohol to further remove any sticky residue such as tar and tree sap. Lastly, you’ll want to treat the surface of the windshield with either a hydrophobic finishing wax or a ceramic coat. Both of these make the windshield repel water slightly and leads to water beading off much easier without the assistance of the wipers.
Staying Safe In The Rain
Your wipers are only one safety feature that keeps you safe in the rain. Checking all your car’s lights are working will help make sure other drivers can clearly see you and ensuring your car’s wheel alignment is correct makes sure all four tires are offering as much traction as possible are key to keeping safe in rainy conditions.
Your safety is our priority! Whether you’re preparing for a road trip or just want that extra peace of mind, feel free to visit us at our Pompano Beach shop and one of our professional technicians will be more than happy to give your car a full inspection and get you back on the road, as safely as possible. Your safety isn’t worth the risk, call us at (954) 746-0488 and book your car in today!