Let’s face it: Windshield wipers aren’t the most expensive auto parts. But saving money is always a plus, whether you’re on a tight budget or not. Understanding your options is an important key to smart shopping. It’s not just about knowing how much your new wipers will cost: quality, performance and correct fit are also vital for your windshield wiper replacement.
How Often Do Windshield Wipers Need To Be Replaced?
It’s easy to take your windshield wipers for granted – until you’re stuck in the middle of a summer downpour. Neglecting to change your wiper blades can impact visibility. Yet once the rubber edge wears away, the remaining metal bits can also scratch up your windshield glass. Not something you want, regardless of what the weather’s like.
Most experts recommend swapping them out every six to 12 months. Still, it’s wise to watch for signs that your blades are going bad:
Squeaking noises during usage
Vibration or chattering
Too much streaking
Wet spots on your windshield
Three important factors affect your wiper blades’ lifetime: usage frequency, storage conditions, and environment. Keep in mind that even hot sunny weather, clear days with bitter cold or arid climates can cause them to wear out sooner. That’s because rubber expands and dries out in the heat and contracts in cold temperatures. This expand-contract cycle stresses the material and eventually destroys it. UV rays also break down rubber’s chemical bonds, weakening it and shortening its lifespan.
What To Consider When Choosing New Windshield Wipers
You’ll also notice three kinds of blades on the market: conventional, innovative beam and hybrid. Conventional versions, which typically run between $12 and $17, feature a rubber squeegee blade mounted on a metal frame. These are slowly giving way to innovative beam wipers, made from a solid piece of rubber with a curved frame that contours with your windshield’s curvature. They’re priced a little higher – usually between $27 and $32 – but they last much longer than standard versions and don’t get ice or snow buildup.
Hybrid wipers feature aerodynamic shells attached to metal frames with suspension points that keep the blade snugly on your windshield’s surface for better visibility and coverage. These usually cost around $20.00, a middle price point between conventional and innovative beam models.
When shopping for wiper blades, you’ll need to know the correct windshield wipers size. You should find it in your owner’s manual, but a reputable auto parts retailer can find this info based on your vehicle’s make, model and year. Knowledgeable staff can guide you to the correct wipers.
Replacement is usually a simple DIY job that takes only a few minutes: Remove the old blades, install the new ones and test them out to confirm that they work. If you’re not sure how to change them or need assistance, your auto parts dealer’s staff can give you help and instructions. They’re also great resources to turn to in figuring out your dashboard lights meaning, battery charge testing and other everyday vehicle maintenance tasks.