Windshield wipers are the hardest toiling yet least durable parts of your car that withstand much abuse throughout their lives.
They are of thin & flexible rubber with a limited life span throughout which they remove ice, snow, water, and even dust from the car’s windshield with a single push of a button.
While these wipers sometimes endure sub-zero winter weather, at other times, the same wipers work for continuous hours in the scorching heat like the deserts.
Be it any weather they are made to work in; the wipers tend to break down due to their low durability and several other factors. Not taking care of the wipers is harmful since you may have to compromise with the clear windshield while driving.
Still, experts suggest replacing the windshield wipers after a certain period, no matter their condition by that time to avoid their sudden letdown amidst a heavy downpour, dust, or snowstorm.
So, let’s understand more about the ideal working span of the windshield wipers, how to make them last longer, and much more.
How Long Do Windshield Wipers Last?
How long windshield wipers last doesn’t have any particular question as to the life of your car’s wipers will hugely depend upon the quality of the wipers and the place where you live.
Still, over 75% of windshield wiper manufacturers believe that standard wipers can last for 6-12 months. Some makers guarantee 2-3 years of service; however, hardly any wiper can resist till then.
Further, some mechanics inspect the wipers’ condition while servicing your car. So, it’ll better let you know when it’s the right time to purchase a new set of wipers.
Even if it’s not so, you can also inspect the wiper by yourself and make a decision subsequently.
Factors that can affect the longevity of windshield wipers
While purchasing any new set of windshield wipers, you should have sufficient knowledge of what influences how long wipers last.
So, below are the top reasons/factors that affect the longevity of your windshield wipers.
Your place of living
The place where you live influences the frequency of changing the windshield wipers, i.e., its longevity.
For example, if the place where you live encounters harsh weather conditions like too low or too high temperatures, the material of the wipers is more likely to break down with each passing time.
Excessive heat makes the rubber molding of the wipers expand while cold conditions force it to contract. Furthermore, excessive exposure to rainwater can also lead to the corrosion of the metallic part of the wipers, if any.
On the other hand, if there is dryness in the atmosphere, the rubber molding will become brittle and crack. Hence, for such situations, you should keep the car fully covered.
How frequently you use the wipers
It’s a no-brainer that the more often you will use the wipers, the more often you will need to replace them.
Since the modern windshields are of hard glass, they wear down the wiper blades a little bit every time the blade passes over it.
In addition, the condition of the blades worsens if there are dust particles or snow/ice present over the glass.
No matter how frequently the windshield wipers get to serve you, you should not leave any stone unturned in their maintenance.
It includes gently lifting and resting the blades on the windshield, cleaning the blades manually if they get covered with snow/ice or dust, covering the car if you’ve parked it outside, etc.
If you wish, you can also utilize special wiper cleaners or prepare one at home.
So, these are the common factors that affect the longevity of your windshield wipers.
How often should you change your Windshield Wipers?
Now that you know how the longevity of windshield wipers varies depending on the above-listed factors, you should remember to change the wiper every 6-12 months.
Though the best time to do so will also hinge on the condition of the wipers.
For example, at places where most of the time witnesses persistent rainfall or snowstorm, a wiper may hardly survive beyond six months.
In contrast, if your place of living observes moderate weather conditions, your wipers may stay beyond 12 months.
In a nutshell, it’s not mandatory to change your windshield wipers after 6-12 months only.
How do I know if my wiper blades need replacing?
Are you wondering when it is the right time to change the wiper blades? The following six signs will surely help you in this.
Observe the rubber
Rubber constitutes over 50% of the windshield wipers. Hence, any issue with the rubber is a clear indication of a wearing wiper and an urgent need for a new set.
For this, closely examine the wiper rubber for any cracks, splits, or any other issue. If there is one, it’s the right time to install new ones.
Note that if the blades appear rounded, it indicates the aging of the rubber, and here too, a replacement is necessary.
Are the wipers leaving behind streaks or film?
If it’s raining outside or there’s a snowstorm, and you can notice the wipers leaving behind streaks or film over the windshield, something isn’t right with your wipers.
Either the blades have become uneven, or they are dirty. In the former case, you have only one option of replacing the blades. While wiping the blades with a towel should do the job in the latter.
When your wiper blades make awful noise while passing over the glass, it means the blades aren’t contacting the whole surface at a time.
It is not only irritating but can harm the glass surface too or hinder your visibility. Hence, the wipers need to go if they are causing squeaking sounds.
Check the frame
Under the rubber casing, you have a metal frame prone to bending if handled without care.
For example, the frame can bend while hacking ice/snow off your windshield or due to its mishandling while lifting or resting.
Hence, even if the blades are fine enough, but the frame is bent, you don’t have any other option except replacing the wiper.
Before/after season changes
Since specific wiper models are coming in for particular seasons, why not use them instead of an ordinary wiper?
For example, if winters are setting in, regular wipers may wear down much quicker than the wipers designed explicitly for winters. Similarly, you have separate wipers for summers and rainy seasons.
Bad contact with the windshield
Are the wipers not making contact with the whole windshield? If yes, you better bid them adieu.
If the wiper blades aren’t making contact with all the windshield areas, it will affect your visibility and leave portions of the glass dirty.
So, check out these six signs to estimate the best time to replace the current wipers.
What happens when you don’t change windshield wipers?
Many car owners have this doubt of what will happen if they don’t change the windshield wipers.
As you know, all wipers have a defined age limit beyond which their effectiveness decreases. Some common signs of this include:
- The wiper blades are not cleaning the entire windshield surface,
- The surface of the blades is uneven
- The blades are leaving streaks over the glass, etc.
All these affect your visibility through the windshield and pose a significant threat to your life.
Furthermore, this can also affect the windshield and leave scratches. Hence, you should never neglect your windshield wipers’ condition and replace them when required.
Which wiper blades last the longest?
There are a plethora of windshield wipers in manufacturing today. Of course, all these wipers have their pros and cons.
However, one vital difference, or shall I say, the most vital difference, is the longevity of each of these wiper types.
Out of all the types of wipers, a set of beam blade wipers having a premium natural rubber blade is the one that lasts the longest.
First, however, ensure to check the warranty of the wiper blades and the quality of the rubber.
How to make your windshield wipers last longer?
To make your windshield wipers last longer, you need to focus on their routine maintenance. For example, gently clean the wiper unit with a soapy solution or running alcohol.
Further, lubricate the windshield with either plain water or any windshield cleaning liquid to smooth the wipers over the glass.
You should also manually clean the windshield glass for any caked-on dirt or grime that could impact the wiper blades.
The same goes for bird droppings, hardened snow or ice, etc. You can either scrub away the above items or give a quick wash with saltwater or a mix of cool water and rubbing alcohol.
These things damage the wiper blades and decrease their effectiveness.
Remember that the above routine maintenance can extend the life of your windshield wipers by significant months.
Windshield wipers work humbly and may not come to your senses every time.
Still, you must remember that there’s something called wipers provided with your car and invest in their routine maintenance. For this, you can utilize the above valuable tips.
If not taken care of regularly, the wipers may not be much effective in their work, and you may encounter several issues with them.
For example, the common issues with wipers in bad shape include squeaking sounds, uneven contact with the windshield, streaks on the glass, etc.
However, through routine maintenance, you can extend their life and effectiveness.