Windshield wipers are a key part of your driving safety. When these components break down or fail to provide a clear view of the road in front of you, it is time to replace them. To save money, you may wonder if you can repair windshield wipers. We asked windshield repair pros for the top signs that you need new wipers and for some tips for improving how they work.
Do I need new windshield wipers?
Windshield repair pros will generally tell you that your underperforming wipers need replacement. After all, if they do not adequately push water, rain, snow, foggy moisture or debris from your windshield, you risk a serious accident. With this part not properly working, you can also face full liability in an accident, making you financially responsible for others’ injuries or property damage.
Below are some signs that you need to fix or replace your existing wipers:
Smearing Water in Both Directions
Smearing water both ways across your windshield indicates you have worn blades, an excessively dirty windshield or wiper blade or low-quality wiper fluid.
Before you replace your wiper blades, try replacing your wiper fluid with a higher quality product. Clean your windshield and the blades to remove excess dirt and debris. Wipe the blade edge using rubbing alcohol on a rag or cotton balls. Try your wipers again to see if this fixed the smearing problem. If it did not, you need to replace your blades.
Smearing Water in One Direction
Smearing water in one direction is a big issue in chilly weather. But if it is not cold outside, this smearing can indicate a wiper blade problem. Either the blades are old and hardened, or they are the incorrect size for your windshield and wiper arms. Regardless of the cause, you should replace the blades instead of trying to repair them.
Not Wiping Away Water Beads
Windshield treatments and other car finishes can make water bead on your windshield for easy removal. That makes it confusing when your wiper blades do not clear away the beads. If beads of water mock your wipers and obscure your vision, you can try to fix the problem, yourself.
One cause for water beads not wiping away with your wipers is high pollution. Pollutants from the environment can build up as a grimy coat on your windshield. The water beads stick to this residue. Thoroughly clean the windshield using a good quality glass cleaner to remove any grime. If that does not work, it is probably time for new wipers.
Chattering is the sound that your wipers make when they squeal across the windshield. This usually indicates that the water is not wiping away as it should, too. Typical causes for this problem include wax buildup, grease or oil on the windshield or blades themselves. By thoroughly cleaning your windshield and the wiper blades, you can possibly fix this issue. Otherwise, you need to replace the blades to drive safely.
Repairing Other Wiper Problems
Besides chattering, another noisy problem with windshield wipers stems from a bent wiper arm. You can tell if one of your wiper arms is bent by bringing it up to its midpoint on the windshield. Look closely at the blade assembly to ensure it is fully contacting the glass. During this movement, the blade arm should stay parallel to the windshield. You can try to repair a bent arm using pliers to properly align the blade parallel to the glass.
Another possible issue with a noisy wiper is freezing temperatures. If it is cold outside and your blade is uncharacteristically noisy, give your vehicle time to warm up. Use the defroster to blow warm air on the windshield during this time. Then, check the blade action again to see if the chattering stopped.