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How often should you replace wiper blades- a data-centric guide

With time, whether you use them or not, wiper blades will crack and split because of the sun, rain, snow, and ice. This reduces visibility when you use them in bad weather. Auto mechanics recommend periodically changing the wiper blades with new ones so they can wipe efficiently to increase your visibility and safety when driving. Always remember that keeping your wiper blades in good working condition significantly contributes to your safety on the road.

How long should you wait before changing your wiper blades?

There are those who will go for years before replacing their blades, but this is risky. In bad weather conditions, wiper blades can wear out in as quick as three months. Even if you spend lots of money on those fancy sets of blades, they’re unlikely to last more than 12 months. The best way to manage your blades and catch them before they begin to disappoint you is to keep checking them periodically for clues of wear. This way, you can replace the blades before you face a storm with poor visibility due to inefficient blades.

According to Pep Boys, windshield blades should be replaced every 6-12 months. They also advise replacing the blades after the winter season as they take a lot of abuse.

In general, it is wise to replace the wiper blades at least every year. If you live in the north and experience a lot of snow, you can time replacing the blades with mounting your snow tyres. The heavy duty snowblades can handle the snow and as the temperatures rise in spring, you can switch back to the normal slimmer blades.

Lifespan of the blades

The average wiper blades have a useful lifespan of about six months to a maximum of one year. It may not seem like a long time but remember the rubber edge is exposed to harsh elements of the weather causing it to dry and crack. Dirt and small stones that meet the edge can nick the rubber.

It is, however, possible to extend the life of your wiper blades by washing your car regularly and removing any dirt that could damage the rubber edges of the blade. You can also make it a habit of washing the rubber with washer fluid-wetted rag. This ensures the rubber stays clean from dirt accumulation and keeps it from drying out.

What’s the best time to make the change?

The best time is in spring and again in autumn according to J & R Auto Repair.

Replacing the blades in the spring is recommended since they are used in the harsh winter to scrape snow. The summer heat also dries them up causing cracks hence the need to replace in the autumn. Many car repair shops examine wiper blades duri an g oil change to diagnose their condition and advise accordingly.

What to look for

It is not so difficult to determine if your wiper blades require replacement. Your eyes and common sense are enough to make a decision to replace or not to. However, these points can help you in the diagnosis:

  • When the blades smear, click, chatter or streak when wiping, you need to start thinking of changing them. These are the very first signs to look out for. If after cleaning them they still smear, get a new pair.
  • If the blades have uneven edges or some missing pieces, consider replacing them. When cleaning them, examine the edges all the way to the end to confirm they are even. When they clear sand or salt from the windshield, the blades can get damaged. This brings about streaking in the sections with missing pieces.
  • When you see visible cracks on the wiper blades, don’t hesitate, replace them with new ones. Constant assault from the elements causes cracks hence the need for timely replacement before they disappoint you.
  • Algae and moss can grow on the blades.

Your wiper blades may be performing poorly but this does not necessarily mean they are due for replacement. First clean them thoroughly with a paper towel wetted in wiper fluid or some mild detergent. This will help remove any built up dirt or grime that may be hindering the blades. However, if the problem persists, then you can replace them. It is paramount to have optimum visibility when driving.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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