Windshield Wipers
Work Best
With A Little Attention

Here's a few tips on caring for your windshield wipers, in no particular order.

On my last two vehicles I only remember replacing the original blades. The wiper blades I put on lasted for the life of the car.

When parking your car, always shut off your wipers before turning off the engine.

  • If you leave the wipers turned on when shutting off the car, they will start when you re-start the car.

    In winter, when the wiper blades are covered with ice and frozen in place, this can easily damage the wiper blades or even break the wiper mechanism.

  • Make it a habit to turn off the wipers, along with the AC/heater and stereo, before shutting off the engine.

Always clean the snow off your vehicle completely before driving.

  • When your vehicle is covered with snow, start by using a gloved hand to wipe the snow away from the top and side of the door you're opening first, maybe to get your snow brush.

    Then clean off the driver's door. Get in and start the car, turning on the full defrost setting and a high fan speed.

    Then clean off the entire vehicle, including the roof. I like to start with the main windshield but leaving the wiper area of the windshield for last.

    By the time you get back to the wiper area the defrost should be starting to melt any ice and make it easier to free the wipers without damage.

In stormy winter weather, use the defrost setting on your blower control.

  • Most cars have a full defrost setting. Use that setting with high fan speed, when ice and snow are building up at the bottom of the windshield. It allows for higher heat to be used on the windshield than would otherwise be comfortable inside the vehicle.

    You may still have to stop occasionally to clean off the ice and snow from the bottom of the windshield to help the defroster do its job. Make sure you stop well out of the way of traffic.

    Carefully remove any frozen chunks of snow or ice from the glass area around the wipers and from the blades. Make sure they are free to move and able to put the full pressure of the blade on the windshield to keep it clean.

In very cold weather, use full defrost setting, to keep windshield clear.

  • One night recently it was very cold with a little blowing snow. It was windy which made it feel much colder.

    I noticed that the washer fluid I sprayed on the windshield would 'frost' over after the wipers stopped and I would have to push for another few squirts to see again.

    At first I thought I had gotten poor quality washer fluid but then I realized what the 'wind chill' effect was. I was driving at around 100 km (60 mph) on the highway. It was -10ºC and windy.

    I turned the heat up on full defrost. The windshield cleared and stayed clear though it got a bit warm inside the car.

- In winter when snow or ice is expected, lift wiper blades off the glass to their 'up' position when parking.

  • This makes it much easier to clean the snow and ice off the windshield and keeps the blades from freezing to the glass.

Never run your wipers over a dry windshield.

  • In summer, when the first rain for awhile is a very light drizzle, always push the washer control button to turn on the wipers and wet the windshield with washer fluid.

    This provides a little lubrication on the dry window surface and on the surface of the wiper blades.

* * * * *

I find that wipers coated with Teflon or Silicon have less tendency to streak and last much longer.

I stopped buying cheap windshield wiper blades as they simply do not do a good job for any significant length of time.

Buy the best you can afford and then treat them with care.

Remove twigs and leaves and other debris from the area around the wiper blades before driving.

If you do see a streak where the windshield wiper is not properly cleaning the window, there may be debris under the wiper blade.

You can reach out your driver's door window. When the wiper blade reaches the top of its stroke, lift it quickly and let it snap back on the glass. If something was caught under the blade that will usually clear it.

If it still leaves a streak on the window, shut off the wipers. Get out and wipe the bottom of the blade with your fingers or a paper towel.

* * * * *

Most wiper blades are easy to change without any special tools. Pay close attention on how you take the old blades off. Then follow the instructions on the windshield wiper blades package to install the new ones.

Make sure you get the right wiper blade model for your car. Most automotive stores have catalogs in the wiper blade section where you can look up your car's required wiper blade model.

Proper length is important and the attaching mechanism can be unique to your brand and model of car. Take the time to get the right one in the store.

* * * * *

I much prefer to drive in weather conditions that do not require the use of windshield wipers. It is nice to know, though, that they will work well when I do need them.

As always drive safe, drive smart and...

Enjoy The Ride.

I 'm done with windshield wipers, James. Back to car maintenance, please.

I'm done with wipers but I'd like more winter driving tips, James.

I'm done with windshield wipers. Home to proven driving tips, James.

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