Signs Your Wiper Blades Need Replacing

Since the introduction of the MOT in the 1960s, the requirements and legislation surrounding windscreen wipers and washers on vehicles have been very clear. Having old, worn out or broken windscreen wiper blades can cause your car to fail its (Ministry of Transport test) MOT, so knowing what to look for and when to change your wiper blades is essential. Wiper blades aren’t a huge outlay and replacing them in good time will save you the cost of a failure and retest of your car’s MOT. Ultimately, you don’t want to be caught out in the good, old, British weather with wiper blades that don’t work properly – because you’ll just not have the visibility you need to remain safe on the roads. Generally speaking, most car wiper blades will need to be replaced roughly every six months to a year depending on the usage, environment and the quality of the blades themselves.

This blog will aim to look at some of the signs your wiper blades are wearing out, meaning it is time to get them replaced. However, our team is always happy to help you discuss your wiper blade requirements if you want more advice.

1. Decreased Visibility During Rain

It starts pouring with rain and you pop on your wipers to clear your view and find there are streaks of water across the windscreen or they just smear it leaving the view blurry – all very dangerous and worrying signs your wipers are worn out. If parts of the windscreen are still wet because some areas have been missed, then that’s a sure sign your wiper blades are in desperate need of being replaced. Old wiper blades can develop flat spots from resting in the same position which causes uneven pressure on the window, and the wearing down of old blades can cause the sharp edge to disappear or flexibility to disappear making them less flexible and therefore ineffective at removing water off the screen in heavy downpours.

2. Unusual Noises or Movement

We don’t mean the types of noises from the kids fighting on the back seat, but if strange noises are coming from your windscreen wipers during their normal operation, such as persistent squeaking, or a chattering, juddering sound as the blades skip across the windscreen’s surface, this is a sign the blades are worn out. Squeaking can be a result of either particles stuck in the edge of the blade or rubber that is hard, cracked and worn out. The juddering is often caused by the degradation of the rubber of the blades as this makes them lose flexibility and causes the skipping, juddering as the blades aren’t properly contacting the windscreen.

3. Physical Damage to Wiper Blades

Over time, and sometimes with exposure to extreme weather conditions, wiper blades can become damaged which renders them ineffective and increases the need to replace them. Sunlight can cause the rubber to become hardened and split or crack, making it less flexible and effective to remove water from the windscreen – resulting in streaks and smears and reduced visibility in rain and snow. The cracks and splits, if not addressed, can mean parts of the rubber detach and leave the driver without a way to clear the window in downpours. Broken frames can prevent the blade from making consistent contact with the glass and this will lead to either blurry or reduced vision or entire areas being unwiped. If heavy falls of ice and snow are a common occurrence the frozen matter can build up on the wipers meaning the additional effort of operating can cause the rubber to tear or the frame to break or bend – all of which will mean the wipers won’t work properly.

What Should I Replace?

It is possible to replace just the rubber part of your wiper blade rather than the entire assembly, however, this is a fiddlier process and, although it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly, if the frame is bent, corroded or damaged in other ways, replacing only the rubber won’t solve your problem. Replacing the entire wiper blade is quicker and easier and will guarantee optimal performance as well as ensure the solution to worn-out rubber but also any frame and connection point issues. Some might be asking if it’s simpler and cheaper to only replace the one blade that has an issue, but it’s recommended you replace both at the same time for a few reasons:

  • Even wear and tear – as both experience similar conditions and usage, they’re likely to wear out at the same time and replacing both will ensure the windscreen is always cleaned with equal efficiency on both sides.
  • Preventative maintenance – if one is worn out, it’s likely the other won’t be far behind! Replacing both at the same time prevents potential visibility issues in the future.
  • Safety – clear visibility is vital for safe driving, especially in adverse weather conditions, so keeping both blades in good condition minimises the risk of dangerous driving situations.
  • Cost and time efficiency – replacing both at the same time will reduce additional trips to purchase, or maintenance sessions to have blades fitted, saving time and money in the long run.

Still Unsure What to do Next?

If you’re still struggling to figure out how to replace your wiper blades, or which blades to buy, we have a handy tool which you just need to put your car registration into for precise product information on the exact wiper blades for your vehicle.

For advice on fitting or any other topic related to your wiper blades please get in touch to discuss your needs and issues with a friendly and expert member of our team.

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