Windshield wipers problems and replacement

Windscreen wipers are included in the design of modern cars to ensure the driver can see the road very well in any weather conditions outside the vehicle. These wipers are designed for the instant removal of dirt, snow, and water from the surface of the windscreen.

Since safe driving depends directly on how clean the windows of the vehicle are, driving with the wrong wiper is prohibited in most countries.

We will explain how to avoid the premature deterioration of these parts and how to put this system back into operation.

Windshield wipers can be vital in certain traffic situations and can even save the lives of traffic participants under certain conditions. Many drivers do not pay the necessary attention when it comes to windshield wipers. Unfortunately, most realize how important they are only when they fail or are no longer as effective as they were at first.

Driving in harsh conditions, for example during rainy, chilly weather or when there is a lot of dust, can be extremely dangerous if the windscreen wipers do not work properly or are dirty. It would be best to have the wipers checked every time, before starting the car and possibly replacing it with new ones when necessary.

How do windshield wipers work?

The wipers are the execution parts of the cleaning system. They are provided with swivel arms with rubber elements on the edges that are fixed on the windscreen and follow the shape of its surface.

The ends opposite the arms are connected by a hinge that ensures the synchronous movement of the wipers. The system is controlled by a gear reducer which is fed through a relay. The mode of operation of the system depends on the position of the switch on the inside of the vehicle.

When a particular type of operation is selected, the relay contacts access the requested circuit and the system starts operating at a certain speed. At the same time, the windshield splash system can also be activated.

Common faults of the car’s windshield wipers

To determine the reason for the failure of a part, carefully study the nature of the failure. Most car owners are familiar with the following situations:

  • Neither the engine nor the wipers work. In this case, the non-functioning of the system may be most likely due to the failure of the exchanger, broken wires, or burned fuses.
  • The wipers do not move but the engine buzzes when activated. In most cases, this malfunction is caused by tooth wear in the gearbox, the loosening of a nut that secures the wiper’s assembly, or the abrasion of the spokes in the wiper arms.
  • Wipers do not work in all modes. This indicates the wear of the coil or contacts of the relay or the failure of the switch. The system cannot be deactivated or activated spontaneously. In this case, it is possible to have shorted the contacts in the relay or the electric motor limiter.
  • The wiper arms move too slowly. The reason may be caused by the dirt or corrosion of the parts of the drive system or those of the electric motor. The accumulated dirt impedes the free movement of moving parts.
  • The efficiency of window cleaning is questionable. This is often due to the wear of the wiper blades. The need to replace them is indicated by stripes and blemishes on the surface of the windscreen as well as by remaining uncleaned areas after the wipers are functioning.

Removing these faults involves replacing the defective parts. In most cases, this requires help from specialists as the parts are placed in a difficult-to-reach location.

Exceptions are wiper blades, these are consumable parts that can be replaced during routine maintenance and any car owner can make this replacement.

How can you replace the windshield wipers yourself?

It is recommended that the wipers be replaced once a year. The replacement process may differ slightly from one car model to another and depends in part on the type of part connection. Replacement is not difficult. Usually, the following are sufficient:

  • Raise the wiper arm from the windscreen surface.
  • Turn the wiper to see the type of clip or clip.
  • Loosen the retaining clip and remove the defective part.
  • Install a new part.
  • During replacement, make sure that the wiper arm does not slip out of your hands and does not hit the windscreen and damage it.


How to avoid premature replacement of wiper blades?

Sometimes it is necessary to replace the parts before the deadline specified by the manufacturer. However, to avoid this, follow the recommendations below

  • Make sure there is enough washing fluid in the windscreen fluid reservoir: dry dirt can act abrasively on the wiper blades when they are operated without the washing fluid.
  • From time to time, wash the wiper blades with water or machine shampoo without polishing or waxing: the dust accumulated in the grooves of the components not only can destroy them but also leave traces and scratches on the surface of the windscreen.
  • In winter, before activating the wipers, clean the snow and ice from the windscreen and make sure the blades of the wipers are not frozen. Otherwise, the rubber will be worn much faster and there is a risk of damage not only to the wiper arms but also to the wiper assembly as well as the gearbox. If you are driving in cold winter and snowy areas, try to use special winter blades on your wiper blades. They are provided with a protective layer that prevents the freezing of the components.
  • Fit the wiper blades so that they do not overtake the windscreen when in motion; otherwise, it is possible to damage both the components and the electric motor.
  • Buy only high-quality windscreen fluid. It will not destroy the rubber elements of the wipers.
  • Do not leave the wiper arms upright for too long: otherwise, you can damage the spring and the arm, which can adversely affect the proper attachment of the blades to the windscreen surface.

The wiper blades are important components of the passive safety system of the vehicle. If these are worn out, the driver of the vehicle, especially during rain or snow, can become dangerous. Therefore, each car owner must monitor the condition of the wipers and replace them in time. Our recommendations will help you not only increase the life of these components but also replace them when needed.

How to know when to change the wipers?

Most of the time, the rubber part of the wiper will degrade after several months of cleaning the water, snow, and dust on your windshield.

This is even more pronounced in the winter months, when the cold causes the rubber to contract, becoming stiffer. Then it can crack and break easily.

In general, the wipers should be changed if they make a lot of noise when they are in operation when leaving traces on the windscreen, or simply do not efficiently clean the water and impurities.

The size of the windshield wipers matters

The first thing you should consider when it comes to purchasing new cleaners is the size. Check the car’s manual to ensure the wipers you buy will fit.

In it, you should find specifications regarding the size of the wipers. If this is not possible, you can measure the length of the wipers you already have and buy some similar ones.

Types of windshield wipers

Size is not the only thing you have to keep in mind when buying wipers. Most of the time you will reach the store and you will find that there are a lot of models available for the same size.

To make the right choice, you must know the characteristics of each type of wipe and the difference between them.

Conventional windshield wipers

Conventional wiper blades consist of a rubber blade supported by a metal frame. They can clean most windows, but they are not the best in terms of performance and durability.

Also, certain weather phenomena cause them problems. The strong wind can lift them, and in winter the snow and ice accumulate on the wiper frame, reducing visibility. Also, the metal frame is prone to rust.

Windshield wipers for winter

Unlike conventional wipers, winter wipers have a rubber sheath that covers the metal frame. Its role is to prevent rust and the accumulation of snow and ice on the wiper.

Beam Blade windshield wipers

These wipers are a more expensive but more viable alternative. They are very light and have an aerodynamic shape, which gives them a much higher wind resistance and prevents snow accumulation.

Unlike conventional wipers, the metal frame is missing, replaced by a steel spring incorporated into the rubber blade. This makes them rust-resistant and allows them to put more pressure on the windshield.

Hybrid windshield wipers

These combine the advantages of conventional wipers with Beam Blades. They have a solid metal frame, covered with a rubber or plastic sheath. Hybrid cleaners are easily adapted to any type of weather conditions.

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