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windshield wipers

Are Your Windshield Wipers in Desperate Need of Replacement?

Windshield wipers are a crucial and underrated element of vehicle safety, and just like the other external moving parts of your car, they require maintenance too. Ensuring your windshield wipers work properly sometimes means spending a bit of time and money to replace them when they aren't working to the best of their ability.

The rainy season is in full swing, and that could mean it is time for new windshield wipers on your vehicle. Windshield wipers are an easy thing to disregard when it comes time to standard maintenance and replacements, and we oftentimes don’t even realize they’ve gone bad and need to be replaced until we actually need to use them. If you can help it, it’s always better to replace your windshield wipers when you start to notice signs of aging so you can ensure they work when you really need them, and it can be a critical yet underlooked aspect of vehicle maintenance.

Signs your windshield wipers are worn out

Behind a windshield wiper
Behind a windshield wiper | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand, picture alliance, Getty Images

Sometimes it can be easy to ignore the signs that our windshield wipers are worn out until they get so bad that they aren’t actually helpful when you need them. According to NAPA, there are several signs you should pay attention to, and some are more obvious than others.

  • Your blades aren’t working well. While that seems obvious, sometimes it is an easy issue to dismiss. Your windshield wipers wouldn’t leave large streaks or smudges across the glass.
  • Wiping off the windshield and wipers doesn’t resolve streaking or smudging.
  • The wipers are visibly damaged. This takes a few minutes of inspecting outside of your vehicle, but cracks and damage to the wipers can sometimes be quickly identified at a glance.

Your windshield wipers could be fine, and you’re reading the signs wrong

Car speckled with raindrops without windshield wipers
Car windshield speckled with raindrops | Saqib Majeed, SOPA Images, LightRocket, Getty Images

There are two elements to ensure your windshield wipers are working properly, and one is more obvious than the other. The first is your wipers, but the second is the windshield itself. Your windshield keeps all of the bugs and debris from the road and your travels from getting into your face and car, but that also means there can be a build-up of this debris on the windshield, which can prevent the windshield wipers from working effectively. This is a quick and easy fix, as you just need to wipe off the windshield and, if you want to be thorough, wipe off the windshield wipers too.

How can you replace your wiper blades?

Replacing your windshield wipers is typically a very quick, easy, and inexpensive task. With websites like YouTube offering many DIY tutorials, it isn’t hard to find a quick five-minute video on how to replace your wiper blades. You can order windshield wiper blades online, contact your local dealer if you want an OEM replacement, or stop at any local auto parts stores for a universal replacement. For the average consumer vehicle, you can replace the wipers with any blade that is the same size and correct type of attachment.

You don’t have to pay for the most expensive wipers out there, but you should make sure to replace them when you start to notice signs of damage. Maintaining and replacing them as necessary isn’t just important for your sanity — because looking at a streaked windshield can be pretty annoying — it’s also very important for your own safety and the safety of other drivers, pedestrians, and wildlife.


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