• Signs to look out for
• How to find the right wiper blade
• How to replace blades
While you may view them as a rather insignificant part on your vehicle, wiper blades are vital to your safety, as well as that of other road users. In the ever changing conditions provided by the UK’s unpredictable weather, it’s important to regularly check the state of your wiper blades and replace them if there’s any sign of wear.
Interestingly, although the signs of wear can be quite obvious for drivers to see, the reasons behind them are often put down to other factors such as ‘the type of rain’ or because some sort of oily film from other vehicles has got onto the surface of the glass. All sorts of solutions to these problems have been suggested from using washing-up liquid in the washer bottle, to using old newspapers to ‘clean’ the windscreen. Rarely it seems, do they think about the condition of the wiper blade itself.
So, what are the signs that indicate you should replace your blades:
• Streaking – this is when the blade doesn’t completely clear the windscreen, and leaves streaks
• Chattering – when the blade doesn’t move smoothly and silently across the windscreen
• Smearing – when water or debris is smeared across the windscreen, but not removed, making it difficult to see
Depending on your vehicle and the type of blade you need, there are a myriad of options available to you. The best thing to do to ensure you get the right wiper blade is to check your owner’s manual or Google your car’s make and model and confirm the length of the blade you need – the length is usually stated in inches.
It’s also a good idea to replace all wiper blades at the same time, so essentially the one or two blades on the windscreen and, if you have one, the one on the rear window. This way, you’re refreshing all the blades at the same time and will have improved visibility all round.
Once you have the wiper blades and have checked they’re the correct size, it’s time to fit them. These parts can be fiddly to remove and fit, but there are many videos demonstrating how to replace wiper blades that are easy to follow.
The main tips are:
• Bring the blade up away from the windscreen and place something on the windscreen so if the blade does drop, it doesn’t do any damage to the glass
• You may need to use more force than you think – don’t be afraid to push down hard on the blade to get it off the arm
• Depending on the blade you’ve bought, you’ll either need to slide it down the arm to unhook it or find the clip that’s holding it in place and remove that, there are usually instructions on the box the blades come in
• Once fitted, place the blades back on your windscreen gently and check that there are no gaps between the blade and glass
After you’ve successfully fitted the wiper blades, you should test them with windscreen washer fluid – not washing-up liquid – in the reservoir, and be satisfied with the clear windscreen it gives you.
However, if you’re not confident fitting your wiper blades yourself, you should go to a garage or fast fit centre and get a professional to fit them for you. Alternatively, ask a competent family member or friend.