by Pat Goss
No matter what car you drive, some of the most basic items can have the biggest impact on your driving safety, like your wiper blades for instance. If you can’t see well, then you certainly can’t drive safely. First, keep the blades of the windshield free of leaves and dirt. Even a small leaf caught under the blade of your wipers, well that could prevent the blade from making good contact with the windshield, and leave blurry streaks as the wiper passes on the glass. Exposure to rain, snow, UV rays, and ozone can cause damage to the rubber squeegees on your wiper blade, so periodically you want to check them for cracks or dried out rubber. In extreme cases like this, well the wiping edge can peel away and you’re left with a black spaghetti noodle flopping across your windshield, and that won’t do you any good at all.
Now if your wiper blades appear to be in good condition, you should still clean them with a soapy sponge or a rag every time you wash your car. We have an assortment of wiper blades here from Rain-X.
There are three basic types. First, the conventional wiper blades we all know that have an open skeleton and frame, and multiple attachment points which hold the squeegee to the glass. Now these work fine but they exert pressure unevenly and can let snow and ice and other debris build up in the frame. A step up from that is the hybrid blade that has a plastic cover over the frame for protection and a more modern look.
Now the best type these days are the beam-type blades. Their flexible design allows them to contour to the curve of your windshield. The entire blade has an embedded spring to give even pressure across the entire length for uniform contact and more consistent wiping. The spoiler helps maintain good performance at highway speeds and protect it from buildup of snow, ice, and debris.
Now, beyond that, you also have choices of the type of material the wiper blade is made of. You have different types of rubber: natural, synthetic, and silicone. Of the three, silicon stands up to the harshest weather conditions and temperature ranges and lasts twice as long as natural rubber. In addition, we’re now seeing wipers that feature graphite coating to help reduce friction and wipers that apply a water repellant coating to your windshield.
Finally, buy the right sized blades for your vehicle. One size does not fit all. Pay attention to your wiper blades now, so you can safely pay attention to the road later. And, if you have a question or comment, drop us a line right here at MotorWeek.