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Choosing the Right Windshield Wipers for Your Vehicle

How do you tell when you need new wipers? 

Some of us regularly change them when the rainy season hits, some of us wait till they start streaking and making annoying noises and some of us wait till the plastic is hanging off them dragging across your windshield.

So, when should you be changing your wipers?

It depends on your use! For most folks once a year is sufficient, but for those of us driving in heavy rain, snow or sleet you might consider changing them twice or even more a year. Sunlight exposure, extreme conditions, and the type of soap you use to wash your car can also impact the life of your wipers. It’s better to put new wipers on a little early then to get caught in a storm and realize too late that you can’t see a thing out of your windshield!

Can you prolong the life of your wipers?

Just like most parts of your vehicle there’s the base model and various upgrades available. Traditional wipers are usually black rubber blades which do a great job when new, but when exposed to the elements can wear out pretty quickly. Silicone blades are a good alternative, they are less affected by environmental factors that wear out traditional rubber blades.

There are also different designs available. There are different types of wiper blades available; single wiping edge and multiple edges. Kind of like a single razor and a multi-blade razor. They work in a similar way the multi-blade is a lot more efficient at clearing your windshield than the single blade. 

The other design variable is the wiper frame. This is the part of your wiper that is responsible for pressure applied to the blade as it passes over the windshield. A traditional frame has between 4 and 6 contact points on the blade applying pressure to clear water and snow. A beam frame has more contact points that are evenly spaced along the entire wiper, the shape catches the wind passing over your vehicle and provides additional force to help evenly clean your windshield. Beam frames are ideal for cars that are exposed to extreme weather. 

There are also hybrid frames available that have the same amount of contact points as a traditional frame, but they also incorporate an airfoil to provide additional downforce similar to beam frames. They’re a step up from traditional frames but not quite as heavy duty as beam frames.

Just like tires, there’s also special winter wipers available for your vehicle. They are designed to cut through snow and ice on your windshield and resist build-up on your blades while driving. You should still scrape or melt ice off your windshield before driving, but while you’re driving, they will cut through snow and ice more efficiently than traditional wipers and are less likely to break. 

With all the options available sometimes choosing the right wipers can be confusing. If you need any help choosing or would like to make an appointment to get some new wipers, give one of our friendly service advisors a call today.

Safe driving from us here at Old Town Auto Service!


Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant