When you think of car maintenance, your car’s windscreen wipers are probably not the first things that spring to mind. But they are actually a really important part of your car and absolutely crucial for driving safely.
This is because your windscreen wipers do an invaluable job. They keep your windscreen clean, clear and unobstructed, so that you have a full field of vision while you’re driving. Many drivers end up neglecting their wipers, assuming that they never need any maintenance or attention - but this could be a mistake.
Windscreen wipers wear out just like many other parts of your car. Fail to replace them when they become ineffective and you could increase your risk of having an accident. If you’re caught in a sudden downpour or have dirt, mud or grease on your windscreen and your wipers can’t clear it, this can easily become a very dangerous situation. You could fail to see a pedestrian in front of your vehicle until it’s too late, or react a fraction of a second too slowly to prevent a collision.
Not only is it dangerous to have faulty or poorly performing wipers on your car, but it can also affect your car insurance. You could find that your insurer fails to pay out if you have a bump because you’ve neglected basic car maintenance. If faulty wipers obstructed your vision, and this is deemed to have caused or contributed to the accident, you could be left out of pocket.
This is why it’s always important to carry out full and thorough car maintenance checks, as well as checking what’s covered on your car insurance and what isn’t.
Many drivers don’t realise that their windscreen wiper blades should be changed at least once a year. In many cases, wipers are only designed to last around six months or slightly longer. You may want to pop a note on your calendar to remind you to at least check the condition of your windscreen wipers at least every six months, if not to replace them.
You should also replace your windscreen wipers if you notice that they are starting to wear out. You can spot the signs of deterioration easily. Here are the thing to look out for:
You may also have noticed that your wiper blades are squeaking as they pass across the windscreen. Don’t panic if you hear this, as it isn’t necessarily a sign that your wipers are worn. It could simply be that they’re too loose or too tight, or that they’re on too fast a setting for the amount of rain falling on the windscreen.
You can get your windscreen wipers replaced by a professional, but it can be quick, easy and cheaper to do it yourself. The first step is to remove the old blades, before inserting new ones. Many motorists are nervous about this first step, worrying that they may cause damage - especially if the old wiper blades get stuck.
Follow these tips for safe, damage-free wiper blade removal:
How to fit windscreen wipers
Before you attempt the steps above and remove your old wiper blades, it’s a good idea to purchase your new wiper blades and have them ready to fit. Refer to your car’s user manual for information on the type of blades to buy and instructions on fitting on your particular vehicle. Just like with other car parts and supplies, it’s always recommended to spend a little more on a high quality product.
With your new wiper blades to hand, it’s time for installation. Remove your old blades following the steps above and while holding the wiper arm in position, slide the new wiper blade into place. You should hear a click where the blade hits the locking button, although some vehicles may require you to clip a locking tab into place yourself. Once you’re sure the new blade is in securely, you can place the wiper arm gently back onto the windscreen.
And that’s it! It’s always worth giving your new windscreen wipers a test before hitting the road, just to make sure they’re fitted correctly and they work smoothly.
To ensure your new wiper blades last as long as possible, try to keep your windscreen clear of debris and your washer fluid topped up. Park in the shade to prevent your wipers warping in very sunny weather and in cold weather, make sure to manually scrape away ice on the windscreen before switching your wipers on.