It’s standard practice to check things like oil and tire pressure when you stop to fuel up. You should also check your windshield wipers. Many drivers neglect these during the dryer seasons, but windshield wipers need proper maintenance to function properly.
A damaged or broken wiper could hinder your ability to drive safely and even damage your windshield. Knowing how to care for your windshield wipers is the best way to avoid expensive repairs. Here are some common windshield wiper problems, as well as solutions for how to fix them.
If you see a lot of streaks across your windshield every time you use your wipers, this means they are not working correctly. Good wiper blades will evenly press against the glass, leaving as little water residue as possible. Streaking often happens when the squeegee is dried out, but it can also occur when dirt and grime build up on the windshield. If the squeegee is too dry, it can even break apart from the wiper frame and fall off.
If a dried-out squeegee is the only problem, it will be simple to fix. Give your windshield a good cleaning to ensure there’s no nasty buildup. Next, wipe down the squeegee with soapy water. You can also use rubbing alcohol for more stubborn debris. Make sure to clean the wiper blades, too. If this doesn’t fix the problem, it may indicate worn down wipers. You can also try using a stronger type of wiper fluid.
The frames of your wipers may get bent due to time or improper use. You should never use your them to clear away heavy snow or ice. The blades are made from a rubber material that works great for clearing off moisture, but they’re not strong enough to handle heavy substances.
A bent windshield wiper frame can cause streaking and skipping. This is when the wipers make shuddering or screeching noises across the glass. Too much skipping can cause annoying chattering sounds while you’re driving, and it can cause your windshield to crack. If the bend is over 15 degrees, the frames must be replaced. If the bend hasn’t gotten severe yet, you can fix it yourself.
Gently remove the wiper blade from your windshield. If the other arm is undamaged, you can use it as a visual reference for bending the arm back into the correct position. The metal used to make wiper blades is very soft, so it won’t take much effort. After you make the small adjustments, you can attach the wiper blade back to the windshield. There should be no gaps between the glass and the rubber blade.
If the edges of your wiper blades are rounded, this means they’re worn down. This can happen due to time, excessive oil residue from car waxings, oxidation from the sun, or too many harmful pollutants. Worn wiper blades can lead to skipping, streaking, and splitting. The only way to fix worn wiper blades is to replace them.
It’s recommended you replace your wipers once a year. If you live in an extreme climate, like an area with a lot of saltwater or intense heat, you may need to get them replaced sooner. To increase the lifespan of your wipers, you can store them during winter months or other times of the year where there’s not a lot of rainfall.