Windshield wipers on a Toyota during a rainy day here in Westbury, NY.

When is the Last Time You Changed Your Windshield Wipers?

Posted at Fri, Jul 5, 2019 10:30 AM

Considering how important they are, it’s kind of surprising just how many drivers are guilty of neglecting their windshield wipers. Now that we’re well into summer, it’s important that Long Island drivers take note of their windshield wipers, namely what kind of state they’re in. If you get caught in a storm and your wipers are operating at less than their peak capacity, your vision - and subsequently, your safety - are compromised. There’s no need to put yourself into that position. Instead, take a quick look at our Westbury Toyota guide on how to tell if your wipers need to be replaced, as well as how to replace them.

How Long Should They Last

The durability of wiper blades varies depending on a number of things. Weather is a main factor in how long they will last. In areas where there’s snow and ice during the colder months, explains the experts of NAPA Online, they’ll likely need to be replaced more often than in warmer climes. Even the most expensive windshield wipers out there will not last for more than a year, which means that the regular lifespan for most wipers is anywhere from three to six months. You can extend that lifespan by switching wipers with the seasons. A general rule of thumb is to install winter weather wipers at the same time that you switch to snow tires.

Recognize the Telltale Signs of Wear and Tear

Windshield wipers need to be replaced when they’re no longer maintaining full contact with the glass. Here are the most common indicators that your wipers are on the way out:

  • Streaks left on your windshield - When the rubber on the wipers is failing, it leads to intermittent contact with the window, which in turn leaves behind streaks every time you use them. This will happen even if you use windshield washing fluid.
  • The rubber is cracked or damaged - A simple visual inspection can reveal whether or not your wipers are in good working order. As the writers over at Ride Time explain, if you can clearly see that the rubber on the wipers is cracked or damaged, it’s time to replace them.
  • Corroded metal - Check the wiper frames at the claws and joints for any sign of metal corrosion.
  • A broken frame - If the wiper frame is broken at the connection points or on the arms, they’re not doing their job properly.
  • Unusual noises or movement - Windshield wipers that make a squealing noise or stutter or skip in their movement are not operating as they should be and will need to be replaced.

Replacing Your Wipers, Quick and Easy

It’s not that hard to change your own wipers and to make it easier, we’ve written up a little step by step guide:

  • Check your owner’s manual to find out what kind of wiper blade you’ll need. Some owner’s manuals will have guides on how to change the wipers - if so, follow the guide.
  • Unlatch the blade from the rest of the wiper. How you detach the blade varies. You may have to push a button, unlatch a hook, or pinch and pull.
  • Remove the old blades.
  • Remove the plastic covering from the new replacement blades.
  • Latch the new wiper blades (doing the reverse of what you did to unlatch the old ones).

Once the new blades are installed, switch them on to see if they’re operating properly. If there’s any odd noises or movement, it probably means you have them installed incorrectly.

Check Your Wipers Regularly

It’s easy to forget just how important your windshield wipers are until you really need them, and that’s why it’s a good idea to check up on them regularly for any signs of wear or malfunction. Replacements are typically not that expensive, so be sure to change them out at least twice a year. For extra safety and durability after we move through these warm summer months, consider swapping over to winter weather wipers as well.

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