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Windshield Wiper Basics 101

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

Windshield wipers aren't considered a safety element, although they do play an important role in the safety of drivers. When you can't see well through your windshield, it's difficult to drive as safely as you want to. Because dirt and grime can limit vision, worn wipers could be a hazard on the road. Replace your wipers to see the road clearly.

Recognizing the Signs

When should you replace your windshield wipers? The typical rule of thumb is every six months or 6,000 miles—sometimes more frequently if you reside in a tough weather area. Regardless, if you observe any of the following, it's time to change your wiper blades:

  • staining or smearing of the windshield

  • squeaking or screeching noises

  • Split or worn-out rubber blades

  • Frames that are bent

Selecting a Blade

If one of your wipers fails, it's preferable to replace both for optimal functionality. Some folks may want to replace the refill (the rubber-wiping element) rather than the entire blade. However, getting the refill into the wiper assembly can be difficult. Purchasing an entire assembly is simpler and slightly more expensive than purchasing refills.

You must know what size your vehicle needs. To find this information, consult your vehicle's owner's manual, measure the blades yourself, or ask an automotive establishment to look it up.

Once you've found the perfect fit, you must choose a blade type. Here are your choices:

  • Traditional: Most autos employ this inexpensive alternative.

  • Beam: These more expensive blades are recognized for their performance, durability, and aerodynamic design.

  • Winter: These are intended to keep the wiper blades clear of ice and snow.

Changing New Wipers

Replacing windshield wipers is pretty straightforward, however, the methods differ depending on the type of wiper in your vehicle. The procedure should be outlined in your owner's manual. After you've installed the blades, test them right away to confirm they're working properly—this way you'll know they'll work when you need them to.


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