Wiper blades play a key role in keeping you safe on the road. Reduced visibility can lead to slower reaction times and accidents when driving. That’s why healthy wiper blades are key to the maintenance of your windshield. For proper windshield maintenance let’s look at how to tell if your wiper blades are healthy, what affects their health and how to maintain them.
What Affects Wiper Blade Performance?
There are three main ingredients that reduce your windshield wiper blade’s performance:
- Sun – ultraviolet light from the sun can lead to deterioration of the rubber and plastic in your wiper blade, which puts a shelf life on the blades, especially if you drive a lot or park outside;
- Car Products – car waxes, exhaust, fuel, oil and tar from the road all contain rubber deteriorating oils; and,
- Debris – sand, mud and dust can all physically damage the blade, leading to a rough edge instead of a smooth edge and they can also get into the mechanical parts of the system.
These ingredients can combine to create the following issues:
- Broken frames at joins;
- Metal corrosion at joints and claws;
- Cracks, tears and missing chunks of rubber edge; and,
- Stiffness of rubber edge
How To Maintain Wiper Blades
Wiper blade maintenance should be done in a number of ways:
- Every time you fill your gas tank, clean your windshield completely, and gently wipe the rubber edge of the blade with a damp paper towel to remove dirt and oil;
- During the winter, pull your windshield wipers away from the windshield when you park so ice doesn’t build up on the rubber blade, and to prevent them from sticking to the glass;
- Regularly check the rubber blade for a rounded edge, stiffness, cracks and tears, which can prevent the blade from making good contact with the windshield glass;
- Regularly check the frame for corrosion and breaks, which can affect flexibility and performance of the blade; and,
- Never use your windshield wiper to de-ice your windshield, it degrades the rubber blades and can ruin the frame or mechanics of the wipers. Use an ice scraper instead.
Why Is Wiper Blade Care Important?
The American Optometric Association reports that 90% of all driving decisions are based solely on visual cues. If your windshield is obscured with dirt, streaks, water or ice, you may be making decisions based on incomplete or false information, which can lead to a greater chance of accidents happening.
That’s why it’s important to maintain your blades, and purchase new ones every 6-12 months depending on the wear. If you have any questions about maintaining your windshield, whether wiper related or not, give us a call at GlassWerks today!