They may sit idle most of the time, but your wiper blades are critical to your safety on the road. Your windshield gives you the visibility you need while cruising around town, but if not if it's covered in rain, sleet, or snow.

Your windshield wipers will be your savior. They wick away water droplets, condensation, and snow. When it comes to the perfect team, forget peanut butter and jelly. It's now your windshield and your wiper blades.

Most vehicles are equipped with windshield wipers. Trains and planes even have them. Rain and other inclement weather can greatly impact your visibility and safety, leading to major accidents, especially if your wiper blades aren't working properly.

There are even motorized windshield wipers that can sense moisture on the windshield and act accordingly. They can detect the level of moisture and change speed, too. If you're interested in this sort of technology, check out the used car inventory at Southwest Motors for a wide variety of used cars and trucks.

The problem with windshield wipers is that you really only pay attention to them when you need them. Which means that if you need them infrequently, you don't tend to keep up with what kind of condition they're in.

So What Should You Do?

Well, you should run your windshield wipers every now and again, even when it's clear out. Give your windshield washer fluid a quick squirt and make sure your wiper blades can clear all of the liquid away without streaking.

Sometimes, your mechanic may give your car a quick check during each oil change, so if you keep up with regular maintenance, the shop may take a look at which fluids need to be topped off and what small things need repaired or replaced, including your wiper blades. Even if they don't check them for you, this is a good time for you to check them yourself.

As they age, wiper blades can get dry and brittle. They also may lose contact with your windshield as the pressure points weaken. When that happens, they need to be replaced.

How Do Wipers Function?

The mechanics behind windshield wipers are a bit complex, but the important thing to know is that when you switch them on, they move back and forth to wipe water from your windshield. The blades are made of rubber, so they slide across the glass of your windshield like a squeegee and move the water out of the way so you can see. As they age, the rubber hardens, and loses its ability to maintain good contact with your windshield.

How Do I Tell If They Need to Be Replaced?

There are plenty of signs that will tell you if your windshield wipers have gone bad. If they have rust or corrosion on the ends or you notice cracks and tears in the rubber, they need to be replaced.

If the blades separate from the frame or start squeaking while cleaning the windshield, it's time to get new ones. You may also notice streaking along with the noise, which means they have worn out.

Not only will worn out wipers reduce your visibility in inclement weather, but they could scratch your windshield, making it weaker and more susceptible to damage. Replacing your windshield is much more expensive than replacing your wiper blades.

How Do Wipers Get Damaged?

There are a lot of factors at play with damaged wiper blades. They naturally wear out over time, no matter how you treat them or how often you use them. Often, they just get old and there's nothing you did wrong.

However, extreme temperatures and increased exposure to the sun can cause the rubber to dry out and crack. Dirt and dust can get stuck in the blades if you don't keep your car clean. They can also rust with contact to salt water or acid rain. Trying to use your wipers while they are frozen to the windshield can cause them to weaken or tear.

How Do I Replace Them?

Any mechanic will replace your wiper blades for you if you don't know how. If you'd like to try it out yourself, check your owner's manual. There should be instructions on how to replace your wiper blades and which kind you need. Most modern wipers have easy clips to let anyone replace them in a snap.

First, remove the new wiper blades from the packaging. It's best to have the new ones ready to go when you remove the old ones, because the arms are metal, so you don't want to prolong contact with your windshield.

Pick up the wiper and turn the blade so that it's perpendicular to the arm. There should be a release tab. Press this tab and then pull the blade down. Now bend the blade parallel to the arm and pull it off.

Now do this in reverse to put the new wiper blade on. Turn it parallel to the arm, insert the arm into the slot on the wiper blade, turn it perpendicular, and then pull up to lock it in place. It should click, letting you know it's properly installed.

Make sure you test them out with some windshield washer fluid to make sure they're installed properly and that they work before you end up in a situation where you need them.

To keep your used car running smoothly, be sure to check out all of the car care guides from Southwest Motors.

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2600 W Us Hwy 50
Directions Pueblo, CO 81008

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