Ways To Make Sure Your Windshield Wipers Always Work

Windshield wiper working perfectly

Chances are, you don’t give your car’s windshield wipers much thought. But according to legal experts, 20 percent of vehicles have faulty windshield wipers that could seriously impair the driver’s vision at any given moment. Now you’re probably thinking about those pesky blades. Rest assured, if you take good care of your wipers, you can keep them working well forever–and by forever we mean six to twelve months, after which you should change them.

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Here are ten ways to make sure your windshield wipers always work:

  1. Turn Them Off

Not when you’re driving in the rain, of course. An easy way to destroy your wipers is to leave them on when you shut the engine off. They’ll automatically restart when the car does, which can be detrimental if there’s snow and ice on the windshield. When they’re frozen to the glass, they can rip or burn up the motor from trying to get them to break loose.

  1. Don’t Forget the Lubrication

Besides causing an annoying squeak, running your wipers over a dry windshield is hard on the blades. If there hasn’t been much rain recently or you just need to clean the glass, make sure to use your car’s washer feature to lubricate the windshield first. This protects their edges and keep them working well for a longer period of time.

  1. Leave Your Wipers Up

If snow and ice is in the forecast, leave your wipers pulled away from the glass in the “up” position. Not only will your blades thank you when you don’t have to yank them off the frozen glass, but this trick means less time to clear the windshield if you need to make a speedy getaway.

  1. Wash Your Wipers When You Wash Your Car

Most people don’t think about washing their windshield wipers aside from the default bath they get when going through a car wash, but specifically cleaning the wiper blades will help them last longer and work better. Soak a cloth with windshield washing fluid that has been diluted with water and wipe down the blades, arms, and joints of the wipers. It doesn’t take long and you will get to feel like an automotive prodigy.

  1. Alcohol Can Keep Your Wipers Healthy

Denatured alcohol is a great cleaner for windshield wipers. Once a month, wipe down the blades with it and prepare to be amazed at how much more clearly you can see the world–literally, if not figuratively. No wiper blade lasts forever, but you certainly want to be able to rely on your windshield wipers when you need them.

  1. Stay Out of the Sunlight

You can’t control the light that hits you when driving, but you can control it when you’re not. Try to park your car in the shade so you don’t have the hot sun beating down on those poor wiper blades. Sunlight breaks down the rubber, so it won’t last as long. By choosing to park in the shade as often as possible, you’ll be extending the life of your wiper blades.

  1. Sandpaper Can Help

If you lightly sand the edge of the wiper bladeand then coat it with a little petroleum jelly (like Vaseline), you can get another few months out of your worn-out wipers. It may sound counter-intuitive, but this is another little-known trick that will keep your windshield blades functioning until you can replace them and make you look like an automotive superhero.

  1. Use a Lubricant Product on Your Window

It may take two to tango, but it also takes two to clean your windshield: don’t neglect the glass itself when focusing on wiper blade maintenance. Many people use products like Rain-X to keep the rain beading up and running off their auto glass, but it can also help them keep their wipers working better. The smoother the surface the wiper glides across, the easier it will be on the wiper’s rubber blade.

  1. Remove Debris From Windshield Housing

If you want to make it harder for your windshield wipers to do their job, be sure to pile up leaves, pine needles, twigs and other debris in the cavity where they sit. This kind of dreck will accelerate the deterioration of the rubber and possibly cause tears in the blades or the edges to harden. By keeping your windshield clean and clear, there’s a better chance the wipers will be reliable when you need them.

  1. Don’t Be Chintzy On the Wiper Blades

Following every tip and trick in the world isn’t going to keep your wiper blades healthy if you’re buying the cheapest ones in the store. It’s not always true, but in this case, it is a matter of getting what you pay for–and cheap blades simply won’t do an efficient job. Purchase top-of-the-line windshield wipers, or at least as high-quality as you can afford, and replace the blades regularly. Replacement is easy, but if you’re not comfortable doing it, most places that sell wiper blades will handle the task for you without charge.

Your windshield wipers may not seem like the most important thing on your car–chances are you put more money and care into your air freshener–but neglected wipers can make the difference between a pleasant and safe driving experience or a stressful and potentially dangerous one.

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