Did you know that 90% of driving decisions are based solely on vision? Wipers should typically be changed as soon as you notice a difference in driving visibility. When wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface, they can begin to: squad, chatter, skip, smear, or streak which will reduce driving visibility.
The literal purpose of the wiper system is to ensure a clear field of vision. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 vehicles currently has a deficient windshield wiper or washing system. The typical replacement period as an industry standard is every 6 to 12 months.
What makes up the wiper system?
The wiper system is made up of four components:
- Wiper Motor – the motive force to move the blades.
- Wiper Link – converts rotational force into traversing movement.
- Wiper Arm – transmits drive force and supports the wiper blade.
- Wiper Blade – comprised of a special rubber blend and supporting metal levers.
The Wiper Blade itself is mainly comprised of the lever, rubber blade, clip, and rivets that bind each of the components together. In order for the wiper blade to function properly, the entire length of the blade must be held against the surface of the glass with equal pressure.
The job of the wiper blade is not to wipe the water off of the glass. What it does is smooth the water on the surface of the glass in order to create a thin film that allows light to pass through it without refracing, or bending.
In order to create a uniformly spread film of water on the surface of the glass, the wiper blade must press against the glass at a narrow angle of 30 to 50 degrees.
When inspecting a customer’s vehicle, we typically are looking for:
- Broken Frame – detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points.
- Metal Corrosion – typically occurs around the joints and claws.
- Rubber Squeegee
- Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee’s edge.
- Flexing the rubber squeegee back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Aged squeegees will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and create streaks (lack of visibility).
- Rounded edges on the squeegee wiping edge which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield – resulting in reduced wipe quality.
- Confirming that the squeegee is secure in the wiper frame.
- Secure installation by tugging on the wiper blade and arm.
Wiper Blade Failure occurs when wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface, resulting in:
Causes of wear come from the elements cars are exposed to on a regular basis which is why they’re recommended to be replaced every half year to a year. Common causes are:
- Sun – ultraviolet light and ozone deterioration.
- Oil – car waxes and exhaust gases hold rubber-deteriorating oils.
- Airborne debris – sand, mud, and dust carried in the wind.
- Moisture – acid rain and salt water (in moist air both near the shore and inland.)
Streaking is distracting at best – some of the causes can be:
- Uneven pressure along the edges of the squeegee can happen with a squeegee that has a plastic backing instead of a metal one.
- Dry or cracked rubber – ozone, airborne, contaminants, oil, sunlight, and dirt all act to weaken and reduce wiper blades’ ability to keep the view obstructed. Exposure to sunlight and ozone cause the wiper blades to age, even if they’re not used much.
- Broken or damaged components of the frame – if the frame is damaged, it can greatly affect the pressure distribution and cause streaking.
- Foreign particles on the rubber’s edge – dirt, grime, leaves, and road salt can become attached to the wiper blade and cause lines across the line of vision.
- Ice on the windshield can destroy the rubber after the first few passes. Once the rubber is damaged, only wiper replacement will cure the problem.
Chattering wiper blades not only produce an erratic wipe pattern, but also an annoying noise. This can be caused by:
- Permanent set – is the most common cause of chattering. When a wiper sits in the “park” position without being used for an extended period of time, it usually develops a “set”. In this state, the rubber is no longer as pliable and remains in one operating position; refusing to flip back and forth.
- Dry or hardened rubber – can cause chattering by preventing the squeegee from flipping.
- Damage to the wiper arm – chatter can also be caused by damage to the wiper arm. If the wiper arm has become twisted it changes the “angle of attack” of the rubber to the glass. This can prevent the rubber from flipping, causing chattering and excessive noise.
Smearing is when there is sometimes a layer of water that is left on the entire wiping area. This can be caused by:
- Inadequate arm pressure – this can decrease over the life of the wiper system.
- Film on the glass – windshield wiper systems are designed to wipe glass, not road tar, oil, grease, and other contaminants. Standard windshield wiper fluid only cleans the lighter grim on the glass and not heavier contaminants.
- Waxes – waxes used for processing purposes can leech to the rubber’s surface and cause smearing.
- Hydrophobic treatments – hydrophobic treatments can cause hazing if they are not maintained properly.
- Worn wiper “edge” – when worn, the squared wiper’s edge becomes rounded and will not properly push the water from the glass.
While those are the most common challenges, some others that may present themselves are:
- Splitting – caused when the sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate the rubber squeegee, causing it to break down and separate from the frame.
- Wearing – occurs with extensive use and is when the rubber edges are rounded instead of squared.
- Frame damage – bent refill vertebra and bent frames cause inconsistent contact with the glass surface, creating streaking or skipping.
Preventative maintenance always wins when looking to avoid challenges. While we do recommend the Rain-X Latitude wipers, these common problems can be avoided and you can extend the life of your wiper blades by following these simple steps:
- Clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank.
- Gently wipe the rubber squeegee with a damp paper towel to remove any loose dirt or oil.
- Never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield. Instead, either use an ice scraper or use your defroster to melt snow and ice.
- Pull your wiper blades away from the windshield during winter months to prevent ice build up on the rubber squeegee and to prevent them from sticking to the windshield.
The revolutionary Rain-X Latitude Wiper Blade contours to the unique curvature of the windshield to provide even wiping pressure along the full length of the blade, providing a smooth, clean, and streak-free wipe.
- Provides an ultimate, smooth, clean, and chatter-free wipe with its specialty blended graphite coated synthetic-rubber squeegee.
- The synthetic-rubber squeegee withstands extreme weather conditions.
- The contoured shape hugs the windshield to provide streak-free visibility in rain, sleet, and snow.
- The built-in aerodynamic spoiler significantly reduces noise and wind lift.
- Ideal for use on either originally installed standard or curved style wiper blades.
The Rain-X Weatherbeater Professional Wiper Blade provides a smooth, clean, streak-free wipe by using embedded friction reducers and multiple pressure points to hug the windshield.
- Long-lasting durability is defined by a galvanized steel frame that prevents rust and corrosion.
- All natural rubber squeegee resists cracking, splitting, and tearing caused by heat, cold, windshield wiper fluid, and salt.
- Multiple pressure points to hug the window to provide a smooth and streak-free wipe.
- High-quality blade that meets or exceeds all OEM (original equipment manufacturers’) standards.