Check your windscreen wipers regularly
Windscreen wipers are obviously an important safety feature that will need replacing at some stage.
Windscreen wipers are in fact one of the hardest working, yet least durable, parts of your car. Dewald Ranft, chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (Miwa), says weather conditions will affect how long windscreen wipers last. Generally manufacturers recommend changing them every six months or once a year.
“Your own driving conditions might call for more frequent replacement. There’s no hard and fast rule about when to change your wiper blades, but there are things to look out for in terms of the condition of the wipers,” he says.
He says the first sign of a deterioration in your blades is when they leave patches or streaks on your windshield, stutter their way across the glass, or clean one side of the windshield but not the other.
“Obviously by this stage your wipers are in very bad condition. It’s not ideal to let them get to this stage.”
A better option, he says, is to inspect them at specific times, such as the beginning of each season. “Consider setting a reminder for yourself to check them every couple of months. If you live in a harsh climate, you may need to check the blades more frequently.”
In hot and sunny climates, dry heat and ultraviolet radiation can break down the rubber blades, causing them to crack or warp. Extremely cold and icy weather, on the other hand, can also cause blades to become brittle. Year-round dirt such as dust and grit or tar and other sticky debris from road work can also shorten their life span. “If any of these conditions apply to you, check your blades monthly or even weekly,” he says.
Ranft says most workshops will fit your windscreen wipers free of charge if you buy the wipers from them. He explains that ordinary rubber wipers have the shortest life span, halogen-hardened rubber wipers last a bit longer, and silicone wipers have the longest lifetime of all, perhaps exceeding a year even under intense use. “Of course, they also cost more than ordinary rubber wipers. In my workshop
I use reputable brands of genuine automotive aftermarket replacement parts and would recommend them.” He also recommends using an additive in your wiper reservoir to make cleaning the windscreen easier.
He suggests visiting a Miwa accredited aftermarket workshop if you are unsure about the state of your wipers. “They will be able to check the wipers and recommend whether they need replacing or not. They can also advise you on what wipers would be best for you, based on the climate and usage,” he concludes.
Miwa is an affiliate association of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI).