Sometimes you have to buy things that aren’t very exciting or enjoyable. Gas, car repairs, and, of course, insurance all make the lackluster purchase list.
However, when you think about these items, they’re essential to our lives today. Can you imagine life without insurance or a car? We may not like to pay for either of them, but without them, life would be more challenging.
Another item on the list that’s critical to staying safe in our cars is windshield wipers. Windshield wipers take a beating from the elements. Dirt, debris, and sunlight contribute to the breakdown of the wiper’s rubber blade. And if you’re like me and tend to forget about replacing them regularly, you can add neglect to that list.
A few weeks ago, I replaced my driver’s side wiper with an inexpensive one. I figured why spend the money on something that doesn’t last long anyway? Unfortunately, on the way home from a volleyball tournament in Illinois, I experienced two hours of constant annoying wiper blade noise every time it scraped across my windshield. My family wasn’t amused since it was late and the noise was interfering with their beauty sleep.
Because of my recent experience, I did some research on wiper blades. Here is some information, as well as additional resources, to help you keep your windshield clean and your family happy and safe.
Types of wiper blades
Conventional wiper blades.
These blades have been on our cars for decades. They’re attached to a metal frame and apply pressure to the windshield via springs. These are the type of wipers I always bought for my cars
Beam blades where introduced on luxury cars in the early 2000s. Beam blades aren’t attached to a metal frame so they’re more flexible and adhere to the curve of your windshield more efficiently, creating a better wipe. Because there’s no frame, snow and ice buildup are reduced.
What’s funny is that I’ve been buying beam blades for my wife and daughter’s cars for a couple of years. It never occurred to me that I could buy them for my vehicle too. I just continued to buy what was always on each car.
For a side-by-side comparison of these two wiper blades, check out Beam Blades Vs. Conventional Windshield Wipers.
Hybrid blades are a combination of conventional and beam blades. These blades:
- Are more aerodynamic;
- Have the all-weather wiping efficiency of a beam blade; and
- Have precise pressure points for exceptional wiping performance.
For the most part, windshield wipers can be replaced without any tools; however, not all wipers attach the same way. There are many different mounting systems. Some of the more common ones are:
- Side lock;
- Bayonet; or
- Pinch tabs.
Remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for?” The cheap blade I bought a few weeks ago was so difficult to remove, I actually had to bust it off by cutting the metal with a pliers. I couldn’t disengage the blade from the arm.
If you experience difficulty replacing your wiper blades, stop at your local auto parts store for help.
Set a schedule
Set a schedule for replacing your wiper blades. Depending on where you live, wiper blades may last 6-12 months. Replacing your wiper blades in your garage or driveway on a nice day is key. Unfortunately, many motorists replace them when under duress (i.e., caught in a downpour or snowstorm).
Moving forward, my plan is to change my wipers based on when daylight savings time begins and ends. This way I’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature has in mind.