Whether you have a newer or an older car, your vehicle’s windshield wipers are one of its most crucial safety features. Keeping your windshield free of debris, rain, snow, and sleet is vital to safe driving. Maintaining and replacing your windshield wipers are simple do-it-yourself projects that don’t take much time or effort. Let’s explore all you need to know about your windshield wipers.
Maintaining Your Windshield Wipers
Image via Flickr by State Farm
You can get more life and better performance out of your windshield wipers by taking the time to keep them clean. It only takes a short time to clean them when you are washing your vehicle, and this will prolong their life span, providing more use and a clearer view when driving in inclement weather.
Types of Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers consist of two main parts. There’s the control arm, which is responsible for the force of the blade against the windshield and the movement of the blade across the glass when in operation. Then there’s the windshield wiper itself, a rubber blade that rests against the glass.
Though all windshield wipers may look the same and have the same function, there are different types you need to be aware of before you inspect or replace yours. There are three main windshield wiper categories to explore, depending on the shape of the blade. Let’s look at what sets these three categories apart.
Conventional Windshield Wipers
These are the oldest type of windshield wipers that are still in use today. Their construction consists of a central bridge, metal and plastic or all-metal, and articulated wiper blades. There are four to eight points of pressure where the force of the wiper arm is distributed. The force dispersion across multiple pressure points provides these wipers with maximum cleaning potential. However, they produce the most aerodynamic drag and typically are not used on modern sports cars.
Flat Windshield Wipers
These windshield wipers are more aerodynamic, thanks to their flat shape. In addition, these wipers use tensioned metallic flexors to ensure that their force is evenly distributed over the length of the blades for efficient cleaning of the windshield.
Hybrid Windshield Wipers
Hybrid windshield wipers are the best of both worlds, with a flat aerodynamic design and superior force distribution. They provide an impressive capacity for cleaning the windshield and are noise-free when your vehicle is traveling at higher speeds.
It is essential to know what kind of windshield wipers your vehicle uses before buying replacements. If your vehicle’s original equipment is conventional windshield wipers, you have the option to replace them with either the flat type or the hybrid type. However, suppose that your vehicle’s original equipment is hybrid windshield wipers. In that case, you will have no choice but to use the same type, as your car will not be compatible with conventional or flat windshield wipers.
Purchasing New Windshield Wipers
Most dealership parts center staff or automotive part store associates will look up your vehicle’s model and trim to determine what windshield wipers you need. You can also use online tools, apps, and even a provided in-store catalog (not always available) to ensure that you are purchasing suitable wipers for your car. Another tried-and-true method is to measure your old wiper blades and consider that the driver’s side and passenger’s side wipers are almost always different lengths. If you want to ensure that you are purchasing the correct wiper blades, you can always remove the old ones and take them to the store for comparison.
How to Change Your Windshield Wipers
After diagnosing that your vehicle needs new windshield wipers and purchasing the correct replacements, you are ready to remove and replace your old wipers.
It is recommended to always start on the driver’s side. First, lift the wiper up and away from the windshield. Next, you will need to determine if your wipers are connected to J-hook-style wiper arms or if they use a clip.
If they are connected to a J-hook-style arm, you will need to pivot the blade, then push the clip down and toward the wiper arm. Then you can slide the blade down toward the windshield to disengage it from the hook. Once you have completed these steps, you can remove the blade. If they are connected via clips, you will want to either depress a tab on the top or press in on both sides of the clip to release the old wiper blade. Repeat this process on the passenger’s side.
If you have wiper blades connected to J-style-hook wiper arms, position the new blade to slide back down onto the hook. Slide the blade toward the end of the wiper arm until you hear a click, signifying that the blade is locked into position. If your wipers blades are connected via clips, you can simply reinsert the new blade into the clip until you hear a snap, indicating that the blade is locked into position. Repeat this process on the passenger’s side.
Once you have completed both sides, take time to check the new windshield wiper blades:
- Don’t have exposed plastic or metal that could damage the windshield.
- They are gently placed back down against the windshield.
- Are correctly installed and on the right side.
- Adequately clean off the windshield during operation.
- Don’t make excessive noise at higher speeds.
Remember that your windshield wipers are essential to safe driving in less than favorable driving conditions. Weather and other conditions can require you to use the windshield wipers to clean the glass before or while driving. Therefore, your windshield wipers need to remain clean and in good condition. This will ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers.
At Huffines CJDR Plano, we understand how windshield wipers are vital for driving in Plano, Texas, and the surrounding area. If you have questions concerning windshield wiper replacement or other automotive needs, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our dealership today.