(Editor’s Note: In addition to maintaining your brakes, it’s also important to address other parts of your vehicle — like changing windshield wipers — for safer driving.)
Think back to the last time you drove through a thunderstorm. Was it easy to see the cars in front of you or did you have to peer through streaks left behind by worn wiper blades?
Most people know that maintaining brakes and changing the oil help keep vehicles safe and in good working condition. Yet only 20-30% of drivers replace their wiper blades every six months, the time recommended by manufacturers.
“90% of driving decisions are based on how well you see the road.”
Why is changing windshield wipers THIS important? Since 90% of driving decisions are based on how well you see the road, not seeing the stop sign or the car in front of you means you’re more likely to have an accident.
Being able to see the road clearly is one of the most important factors in vehicle safety.
• 42% of all collisions are caused by reduced visibility.
• Precipitation – rain, snow, and ice—increases accident likelihood by 50 to 100%.
“42% of all collisions are caused by reduced visibility.”
• Up to 60% of the vehicles on the road need new wiper blades.
5 Signs of Wiper Wear and Tear
If you haven’t replaced your wiper blades in a while, you’ve probably noticed one of the signs of wear below.
Those annoying bands on the windshield are caused by cracked and hardened rubber.
The choppy smearing caused by deformed blades is found in regions with extreme weather (Hello, Minneapolis) OR places where rain is rare (Hello, Southern California).
If you’re hearing your wiper blades, they need to be inspected and/or replaced, just like squeaky brakes.
This happens when the blades are so worn they just smear the dirt or water around without clearing the windshield.
5. Unwiped Areas
If parts of your windshield don’t get wiped at all, the rubber is either damaged or too old to do its job.
Check Your Blades
Just as your brakes and tires wear out, so do your windshield wiper blades. It intuitively makes sense that those who experience harsh winters or drive through heavy thunderstorms and use their blades frequently wear them down, but very hot temperatures or lack of use also affects the rubber.
Everyone should check their wipers every 6 months to make sure they’re in good condition and can handle precipitation. Either have your mechanic look at the wiper blades when you’re in for service or other routine maintenance, or check them yourself at home.
“Up to 60% of the vehicles on the road need new wiper blades.”
To check at home, just spray your windshield with a washer solvent (enough to really coat it) and then see if the wipers can do the job. If you get any of the signs of wiper wear and tear, you need new wipers.
Fortunately, replacement blades are inexpensive, less than $25, and like brake hardware, new blades are a great investment. They’re also very easy to replace.
Changing Windshield Wipers
In this video, we think Eric the Car Guy does a nice job of changing windshield wipers, both front and rear.
By increasing visibility, they significantly improve driving safety, saving you from the cost and stress that result from an accident.
For some of the latest technology in wiper blades, take a look at Michelin Stealth Ultra blades on Amazon.