Four Signs You Should Replace Your Wiper Blades
Drivers using their vehicles for basic daily needs, commuting to work or dropping kids off at school, may not spend much time thinking about maintenance. Aside from taking their vehicles in for oil changes and tire rotations, automotive upkeep is one of the last items of concern. Part of the problem here is a lack of awareness that every part of a vehicle is depreciable and will eventually need to be maintained or replaced.
For those who turn the key and go without worrying about maintenance needs, the time between wiper blade changes could be a few months to a year too long. It is only when the blades are worn to the point that they can no longer clear the windshield that these drivers decide they need new blades. If you see any of the four signs listed below, then it is time to replace your vehicle’s wiper blades. TRICO also has a guide to help you decide which blades are best for you.
Leaving Streaks on Your Windshield
When blades are bent or damaged, they will become less effective at clearing your windshield of rain, snow, sleet and other road elements. Under grueling pressure, blades will eventually start leaving streaks where the rubber is no longer snug against the windshield.
In many cases, wear or blade damage is the cause of these streaks. Wipers are rendered ineffective when the rubber element is tattered or the blade is bent. However, there is another potential cause for drivers who live in a sunny, dry climate. Long periods of UV exposure can dry out the rubber elements in your wiper blades, leading them to break down. Dried out blades have a very difficult time gliding smoothly and snugly across the windshield.
Squeaking Noises During Operation
Unpleasant high-pitched noises shouldn’t accompany wiper blade operation. If you hear squeaks every time you turn on your wipers, this could indicate a number of issues, including:
- Debris or grime build-ups, a problem you can fix yourself with window cleaner
- A dry windshield caused by a lack of washer fluid, a good reason to keep up with your washer fluid refills
- Worn or damaged rubber elements causing wiper structure to touch, and potentially damage, windshield glass
Chatter Caused by Extreme Temperatures
Extreme heat or low temperatures can cause chatter, or the loss of ability to smoothly pivot back and forth. Permanent set, caused by exposure to extreme heat, occurs when the rubber element is fixed in one position. On the other hand, frigid temperatures can stiffen the element, causing cold set and limiting wiping abilities. Chatter can be addressed using premium beam wiper blades, offering longer lasting rubber and better performance in any weather condition. For more on these premium blades, we offer a breakdown of the differences between beam and conventional wiper blades.
Aging and Advanced Wear
Wiper blades spend their service life putting up with rain, snow, sleet, road debris, bugs and bird droppings. These harsh elements make aging, or regular wear, inevitable, and they make regular replacement a priority. A general rule is to change wiper blades every six months, though extreme conditions could necessitate a shorter time before wipers need to be replaced.
Learn how to change your TRICO® wiper blades.