How to choose the car wiper blades

A revolutionary invention

At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of vehicles circulating in the cities was very small, and the few that did so had to stop every so often when it rained so that their driver could clean the windshield by hand. This circumstance caught the attention of Mary Anderson in 1903, who, after verifying the time lost by the New York streetcars when their drivers removed the water from the glass, designed the first windshield wipers in history.

Unfortunately, as at that time women could not patent anything in their name, until recently the identity of the true inventor of this device has not been known, which not only saves time, but saves lives.

Currently, windshield wipers are one of the most important safety elements of a car because, apart from its function of removing dirt from the glass with the help of the liquid that is stored under the hood, they also remove the water from the windshield of our vehicle. Precisely that water, which may seem harmless, can reduce visibility up to 30% when the rain is fine and light, 50% when it rains hard, and a disturbing 70% when a storm is falling. Therefore, having good brushes that remove all that water from our field of vision is essential.

When do you have to change them?

As a general rule, wiper blades usually have a useful life of around two years, depending on the use we give them. It must be borne in mind that, due to the work they do – rhythmically separate the dirt and water from the glass – they suffer a friction that progressively wears both the brush itself and its anchor points. There are also external factors, especially those related to weather (extreme heat or cold), or to the environment (dust, beach sand or bird droppings) that shorten their lives.

  • There are several signs sent by the windshield wipers to warn us that the time has come to change them:
  • If, when passing your finger along the edge of the rubber that touches the glass, you can see rough or too sharp areas.
  • If you notice that the rubber does not slide smoothly through the windshield, but gives small jumps and does not move normally.
  • If it makes more noise than normal when sliding.
  • If you no longer clean the glass surface as before, leaving dirty or too wet areas.

What replacement do I choose?

There are two types of windshield wipers, which determine in a good degree the choice we will make on the brushes.

Traditional windshield wipers: made of metal, in which the rubber is fixed. When it’s time to change them, we have to change the whole piece.

New generation windshield wipers: the whole piece is made of flexible rubber. They have the advantage that they are cheaper, but the disadvantage is that, since the rubber part is not protected by a metallic one, they harden with the cold and soften with the heat, which ends up leaving them unusable long before the traditional ones.

The first step in choosing new brushes is to decide whether we want to buy only the rubber or the entire spare part. Before going to buy them, we must make sure that in our car it is possible to replace only the rubber part or if it is necessary to change the whole piece. Fortunately, the price difference is not very big.

Next, we will have to look for, among the options available in the market, brushes that adjust to the measurements of our car. This is not difficult, since a list of the brands and models with which they are compatible always appears on the back of the brush housing. Although there are no big differences between brush models and others, buying some without making sure they are suitable for our vehicle would be a mistake.

How to assemble the new brushes

Each brand of car and each model has different assembly instructions but, in general, it is a simple operation that lasts only a few minutes. The wiper arm is usually connected to the windshield wiper using a locking mechanism. It is only necessary to observe carefully how this mechanism is released before touching anything, to later know how to put the new windshield wiper. Once observed and understood the operation of this anchor, just remove the old and put the new one.

At the time of changing the windscreen wipers, it is a good idea to place a blanket or protective cloth over the glass since, having the arm a mechanism that keeps it close to the moon, it can damage it if it is released by accident and impacts with force on it. Once installed, it is best to check that it works correctly before jumping on the road and discover with displeasure that we have not done well or that the piece was defective.

There are a series of measures you can take to extend the life of your windshield wipers and avoid having to change them prematurely. For example, try not to activate them when there is snow on the glass, since its weight could bend the arm when moving it.

It is also not good to use tap water as a windshield washer fluid, since, depending on the area where we are, it can have a high level of lime and deteriorate the rubber. In addition, the water freezes, unlike the liquid specially designed for this function, and could damage the pump.