Are you as conscientious about your windshield wipers as you are about your car’s engine? Car safety is a critical concern for everyone.
Worn wiper blades are dangerous. Because 90% of your driving decisions are based on a clear, unobstructed view of the road, it’s a critical safety concern that your car’s wipers provide you with the cleanest windshield possible.
Ozone, airborne contaminants, oil, sunlight and dirt all act to weaken and reduce your wiper blades’ ability to keep your view unobstructed. And exposure to sunlight and ozone cause the wiper blades to age, even if they’re not used much.
Weather also plays a critical role in your windshield wiper blades’ deterioration. Freezing temperatures make the rubber in your wiper blades hard and brittle, which increases their tendency to crack or tear. Hot weather warps the rubber and prevents the blade from wiping your windshield cleanly.
Heavy use is hard on the wipers because dust, abrasives, road grime and bug juice wear away the cutting edge the blade needs to wipe cleanly. Even road dirt acts like an abrasive to wear away the flat surface necessary for a good squeegee effect.
Rubber also deteriorates over time. As blades age, they lose their flexibility and are less able to wipe cleanly. They may develop a permanent set or curvature, which prevents full contact with your windshield.
Your blades’ ability to clean the glass depends on:
The slope and area of the windshield: Today’s windshields are more sloped than ever before for improved aerodynamics. But a sleek “cab-forward” windshield with a lot of glass area directs more wind against the wipers, which can force the blades away from the glass at high speeds unless the wiper system is designed to resist lift.
The amount of spring tension on the wiper arm: This is important to keep the wiper refill in tight contact with the windshield and provide a superior squeegee effect.
The number of pressure points or claws holding the blade: The more claws a blade has, the broader the area over which the pressure of the wiper arm is spread. More claws also provide increased flexibility so the blade can more easily follow the curvature of a large, sloping windshield for full side-to-side contact.
The material used in the blade itself: Most wiper blades are made of natural rubber, but some of the newer performance blades have a composite structure that combines a soft, pliable rubber on the squeegee surface for good wiping characteristics with a firm rubber in the blade body for improved support and durability.