Windscreen wipers are unglamorous, and you might not appreciate it when they are working properly, but you don’t half notice if they aren’t doing their job as they should.
If they go wrong, you will only know about it when visibility is poor, so it is best to anticipate the problem and stay on top of your wipers and replace them periodically. Wipers generally last about a year, but they could come to the end of their life quicker than this if you regularly use them on a dirty gritty windscreen. Granted this is dependent on how often you use your car, and when you use it, so you might get more out of them if you do fewer miles or only venture out in dry conditions.
Used cars UK-wide are likely to have been out in the rain, though, so it is best to err on the side of caution and replace the wipers soon after you get your new car.
Once you have it though, there are several ways that you can help your wiper blades last as long as possible.
- Keep your screen clean. ‘But this is what your wipers are for?!’ I hear you cry. Yes, but by clearing your screen regularly, and using the screenwash, then it will be less stressful for the wiper blades than leaving it for a long while and then putting them to the task of clearing off the accumulated grime.
- Don’t use wipers to remove ice. If you have ever switched on your wipers with a frozen windscreen then you’ll know they don’t do a great job at scraping off the ice. It’s safer, quicker, and better for your wipers to get out the de-icer and use a plastic scraper.
- Park out of direct sunlight. This one’s trickier to do, and one you probably have less choice in. However, it is worth bearing in mind if your car spends all its time outside and facing the sun – wipers will last longer on a garaged car for example.
How to clean your wipers?
Keeping your wipers clean will help them last longer, and will reduce the chance of your screen being smeared or even scratched. It’s simple to do, too and all you’ll need is a couple of rags and a small amount of warm soapy water, washer fluid, or a mixture of vinegar and water.
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- Start by cleaning your windscreen. If it is dirty then you will undo all your work the first time you use your wipers.
- Lift up the wiper arms so they stand up away from the windscreen on their own.
- Dampen your cloth with your chosen liquid and wipe along the blade, repeating until there is no more dirt coming off the rag.
- Take your second, damp rag and wipe off any of the vinegar, washer fluid, or soap. Return the wiper arms to their original position.
How to replace your wipers?
- Find out what blades your car needs. The easiest way is to head to one of the big sellers and put your car’s details into their part finders. Amazon and Halfords both have them. You can get rubber blades or silicone ones – the latter last longer and are slightly better at clearing water, but you pay for the privilege.
- Pull the wipers away from the windscreen so they stand up on their own.
- Find the little tab where the bracket is connected to the wiper arm. Press it and slide the old blade out.
- Reverse the process to connect the new blade to the arm – it will click when it is in the right place.
- Lower the arm back to the windscreen.