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Comprehensive Guide to Windshield Wipers

Everyone can agree that safety on the road is of utter importance. Plenty of people take great measures to ensure their safety on the road. But, they tend to omit one important part of a vehicle – windshield wipers.

When windshield wipers don’t work properly, accidents are more likely to occur. According to statistics, 21% of vehicle accidents are related to weather.

Obviously, having high-quality windshield wipers should be important to you, but there are too many choices. We are here to help you learn everything there is to know about windshield wipers so that you can make an educated purchase.

Types of Windshield Wipers

There are plenty of different types of windshield wipers on the market. But, there are three commonly used types that you should know of.

Standard or Conventional Type

Majority of the vehicles utilize standard windshield wipers. You have seen them everywhere, they are shaped like coat hangers.

Conventional windshield wipers are mostly composed of steel and rubber. They are an excellent fit for older models of vehicles. Their design allows them to maintain good contact with the windshield.

The problem with standard windshield wipers is that the rubber degrades due to intensive use, and they are not the best choice for snowy weather. On the other hand, they are inexpensive and easily replaceable.

Beam or Flat Type

Beam blades don’t have an external frame like the standard ones. Instead, the spring steel is incorporated into the rubber.

Beam windshield wipers are quickly becoming the default in new vehicles. They are more aerodynamic, which greatly reduces wind noise. Due to their small size, they are less likely to obstruct your vision during driving.

Unfortunately, this type of windshield wipers tends to be on the more expensive side. But, they are a worthy investment because they are great against the snow.

Hybrid Type

Hybrid type blades combine the best of two worlds. They boast the aerodynamic design of the beam type and the sturdiness of the standard type.

The design of the hybrid type of windshield wipers allows them to conform to the shape of the windscreen. This helps them produce an efficient wiping action.

The hybrid type has awesome cleaning properties during any of the four seasons. It clears away the rain as good as snow and ice. When it comes to price, the hybrid type doesn’t stand out, so it is a good choice if you want all season windshield wipers.

Types of Windshield Blades

There are three types of windshield blades that are commonly used. While they may seem similar at a first glance, there are a couple of differences worth noting.

Rubber Blades

Rubber is the most common material used in windshield blades. Rubber is very common in nature, it is easy to exploit, and the end-product isn’t expensive.

The problem with rubber is wear and tear. Rubber windshield blades won’t last you a long time. You will have to replace them often, but at least you won’t be paying a lot.

Silicone Blades

The best fact about silicone blades is that they last longer than the rubber ones. Unfortunately, they are not easy to craft, which is expressed in their price.

While the price of silicone blades is higher than the price of rubber blades, it is offset by the durability. Simply put, silicone windshield blades will last you for a longer time.

Most of the time, silicone blades are used in off-road vehicles and other vehicles that are put through a lot of force. So, if you want a sturdy windshield blade that will last you a long time, then a silicone blade might be good for you.

Coated Blades

As the name implies, coated blades are rubber blades that have been coated in graphite or Teflon. You might think that they are a bad choice because they could damage your windshields, but that’s far from the truth.

The coating prevents the rubber from experiencing excess friction, which prolongs their life. The only problem is that their price can get steep. Fortunately, coated blades allow you to use them for a long time. You could be saving money in the long run with coated blades.

Which Size Should I Choose?

First, note down the size of the current windshield wipers you are using. If you want to avoid compatibility or installation issues, then you need a windshield wiper that’s the same size as your current one.

windshield wipers

You should know that the blades on the driver’s side are not the same size as the ones on the passenger side. While this may be strange, they are of different sizes because otherwise, they would collide. Learn more about the movement of windshield wipers.

After you have noted the size of your current windshield wipers, you can easily find a model that will fit your vehicle. But finding the perfect windshield wipers is a tedious task. To make your life easier, we’ve done the research and wrote the article on the best windshield wipers.

How Often Should I Replace Windshield Wipers?

You should inspect the state of your windshield wipers often. Lift them off the windshield, and run your finger along the edge. Does it seem rigid? Are there any chipped parts? If yes, then the time is right to replace them.

Since testing the windshield wipers with your fingers is not the most accurate measurement, it is recommended to replace them every six months. Make sure to replace your old windshield wipers as a pair! If you notice that one of them is worn out, the second one will be soon, if it isn’t already.

Don’t forget to check the rear windshield wiper! You might not use it as frequently as the ones in the front, but it is important to have clear rear visibility.

What about simply replacing the worn rubber? While it can be done, the problem is with finding the parts. Most of the manufacturers have stopped making replacement parts, so finding them could be hard. Another problem is the process of replacing the worn rubber. It is a time-consuming process that can be more hassle than it’s worth.

If you are not efficient at vehicle-repair, then our advice is to replace windshield wipers instead of trying to fix them.

Which Windshield Wipers are Right for Me?

The best windshield wipers are the ones that fit your needs and the model of your vehicle.

While plenty of windshield wipers are model-specific, there are plenty of other ones that are not. Note down the year, the make, and the model of your vehicle. Windshield wipers come in many shapes and sizes, so you need to make sure that they can fit your vehicle.

Another thing that you should check is how the wiper blade is attached to the windshield. Most of the time it will be a straight or hooked wiper arm, but it is important to know. Don’t worry, because there are plenty of models out there that come with attachments that suit different car makes.

Should I Use Different Wipers During Summer or Winter?

Plenty of windshield wipers can be used during all of the seasons. But, you need to make sure that the model that you are buying performs well during all seasons.

windshield wipers in winter

If you opt-in for a model that is fit only for one season, then you will need to replace it with another one when the time comes.

It is important to understand that summer wipers will not help you during the winter, and vice versa. So, if you don’t want the hassle of switching your wipers, then go for an all-season model.

At any rate, you should know a couple of things about winter wipers. A high-quality winter wiper will have a coated blade that repels water. The coating leaves an invisible layer that makes the water bead. The effect of the water turning into beads makes the wipers more effective.

Another thing worth noting is that most of the winter wipers have attachments that make it easy

All Season Wipers vs. Winter Wipers

All season wipers are created to handle different weather conditions. On the other hand, winter wipers, as the name implies, are created for harsh cold weather.

The first difference you will notice is that all season blades have open frameworks. Winter wipers have closed frameworks because they have to combat snow and ice build up.

Winter wipers have a sturdy and heavy frame, which makes the wiper motor exert more effort. Contrary, all season wipers are light and don’t force the wiper motor to work hard. But, they will struggle with snow and heavy rain.

When it comes to the blade, winter wipers have a thick blade that can clean the windshield successfully. Conversely, all season wipers have a thin blade. While the thin blade isn’t very good against snow, it handles hot weather better than winter wipers.

How Do I Install New Wipers?

Most of the wipers on the market are easy to install. Most of the time it will take you only a couple of minutes.

Follow the steps below, and you will be installing your new windshield wipers in no time.

  • Remove the old wiper: Lift up the wiper arm from the windshield, and look at the underside of the wiper. You will notice small tabs. Press the tabs, and slide the blade away from the arm.
  • Match with the new wiper: Unpack your new wipers and find the one that matches the size of the old wiper.
  • Attach the new blade: Pull the new blade onto the arm. You will know you’ve done a good job when you notice a clicking sound.
  • Repeat previous steps: Do the previous steps with the 2nd wiper.
  • Test the wipers: Turn on the wipers. If they are working properly, then you’ve done well.

If you want to be one hundred percent sure that you are doing a good job, then you can check out this video explaining how to install new wipers.

Final Words

Now you know why windshield wipers are important, and you can recognize different types. You can also discern between different blade types and plenty more.

You should congratulate yourself for taking the time to learn something new – not many people do it. We hope that we have managed to teach you how to be a smart shopper when it comes to windshield wipers.

The only thing left to do now is to go out and choose windshield wipers that fit your vehicle. Don’t forget to check them for wear and tear often, and they will serve you well.