We all know how important regular maintenance is for our cars. We get the oil changed, we rotate the tires, and we make sure our coolant levels are where they need to be. One piece of maintenance often gets overlooked, though: changing the windshield wipers.
You don’t use them every day, so it’s easy to forget about updating your wiper blades-- that is, until it’s pouring rain and you can’t see out of your windshield. Have you ever been caught in a downpour with wipers that are past due for an upgrade? It’s more than annoying; it can be downright dangerous. Limited visibility is a leading cause of accidents in bad weather. Keeping up with this simple piece of maintenance can actually save your life and the lives of others by preventing you from getting into a wreck in the rain.
If it’s been awhile since you had your blades changed, that’s probably a good sign that they’re due for a replacement. If you aren’t sure, there are a couple of ways you can tell your blades are wearing out. Fresh blades should not smear, smudge, or scrape the windshield. Blades that make any sort of loud noise as they drag across a wet windshield are near the end of their lives as well, even if they’re still moving water pretty well. Wiper blades should be changed twice per year on average. It’s a good idea to switch them with the seasons (summer/winter) so you can remember when it was last done.
Finding the right blades for your car is easy. Many auto stores will have a reference book in the windshield wiper aisle, where you can look up your car’s make, model, and year. You’ll be able to find out what size that your car requires, and you can then pick from a variety of brands. Blades that use Rain-X are a particularly good choice because they’re more effective at moving and repelling water than ordinary blades. While it’s tempting to save some money by going with a cheaper blade, it’s best to invest in a high quality product. As we mentioned earlier, good wiper blades should last you about six months, so they aren’t a purchase you should be making often. If your cheap blades are wearing out more quickly than that, you’re actually costing yourself more money by not buying the good ones.