Wiper blades may not be the most exciting topic for most residents – but they are pretty important. Most of us Denver residents have had an experience when a sudden snow or rain storm hits while we’re driving…then when we turn on the wipers…nothing but streaks. This can be distracting, especially at night when the glare of on-coming headlights distorts your vision.
Simple solution…change your wiper blades before they fail. Check them out every couple of months just to see how they are working. Of course, the more you use your wiper blades, the sooner they’ll wear out. Areas with lots of storms or those who drive a lot where there are bugs and road grime, will use their blades more often.
But even when you’re not using your blades, they are exposed to sunlight, ozone, soap, and extreme hot and cold temperatures, which leads to deterioration. Your blades can just rot away and fall apart before you need them. Of course, using your wipers when the blades are torn can lead to scratches in your windshield. You don’t want to risk windshield replacement over the cost of a couple of wiper blades.
Now let’s talk about wiper blade upgrades. Drivers can upgrade both the design and the wiper material. Let’s start with the material. Traditional black rubber blades do a great job of clearing your windshield when they are new. Over time all of the conditions mentioned above damage them and degrade their performance. Silicone blades are far less affected by environmental conditions and will simply perform better for a longer period of time.
There are two elements to the design. First, the wiper blade itself. Some have a single wiping edge…others have multiple edges…similar to a multi-blade razor. The idea is to maximize wiper power during both swipes of the blade.
The other design element is with the wiper frame. This is the structure that applies pressure on the blade as it passes over the windshield. A conventional frame has four to six contact points on the blade. These apply pressure used to clear water and snow. A beam frame provides uniform pressure along the entire surface of the wiper. Their shape catches the wind passing over the vehicle to provide additional force to help get a clean swipe.
So which blade should you use? Well, always use at least the grade and design that came with the vehicle, then you can always upgrade for better performance and longer lasting blades. The extra cost of premium blades is a good value for this safety system.
Also make sure you have plenty of windshield washer solvent (use a winter formulation when temps drop below freezing) and that your washer nozzles are working properly. Talk with your helpful Express Car Care service adviser about upgrading your wiper blades.