Clear vision is essential to safe driving. Neglect the wiper blades — the part of your car responsible for keeping your vision clear – and you may find yourself actually needing the traction control, anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control and airbags as you crash into what you can’t see.
A clean windshield is not only useful during rain, sleet and snow. How many times have you experienced a windshield that is smeared with insects, bird droppings, road tar or other messy deposits? Removing such dirt with worn wiper blades is nearly impossible. Usually, you wind up smearing the mess and obscuring your vision even more. If you change your blades regularly, you can avoid these problems and keep your eyes on the road.
Know when to Change Your Blades
Generally, a blade will show physical wear signs like cracking or discoloration. Another way to know is by the quality of the wipe. Streaking or un-wiped areas are a dead giveaway. In addition, if the blades make noise or chattering sounds, then they need to be replaced. However, if you change your blades frequently, you won’t have to examine your blades looking for these signs of possible failure.
Blades can be easily damaged by snow scrapers and ice during the winter but the sun is just as damaging to a blade in the summer. By simply doing a little preventative maintenance, you can avoid these uncomfortable situations. Wiper blades should be treated the way you treat engine oil — you don’t wait until you have engine trouble before you change your oil.
How often should you replace your blades? The National Highway Transportation Board recommends that drivers change their wiper blades every year, however the average vehicle owner replaces his/her wiper blades only once every two and a half years. “Most people wait until they are in a downpour and nearly drive off the road before they are convinced it’s time to change blades,” says Jenifer Maddox, brand manager for PEAK Automotive Products. Some blades, such as Optix Wiper Blades, even come with simple connector systems that make installing the blades on any vehicle a snap.
So if you’ve been procrastinating about changing your windshield wiper blades, take a few minutes today to change them. You’ll be glad you did when your windows are clear and dry this winter