Team AckoSept 23, 2022
When it comes to general maintenance of an automobile, the windshield wiper is generally at the bottom of the priority list, if it makes it on the list at all. While this part of the car might not be given that much thought, you must see it, especially during monsoon. India primarily has two monsoon seasons during the year, the Southwest monsoons, which sweep across the country from June to September and the Northeast monsoons, which mostly occur in Southeast India from October to December. So on average, most of the country experiences rain for almost half the year. This weather, in a country like ours, can often wreak havoc. Thereby, making it important that your windshield wipers work in the best condition, to ensure visibility during driving and your safety.
Here are five tips that will help you take care of your windshield wipers so that you are better prepared when the monsoons hit.
Just like the rest of the vehicle, the windshield also accumulates dust. If not cleaned regularly, the dust particles can solidify over time and severely damage your windshield the next time you use the wipers. Using wipers on a dirty windshield is a sure-shot way to damage the wiper blades. If your wiper blades screech, it clearly indicates that your windshield needs to be cleaned and should be done as a priority. In a country like ours, where dust is almost everywhere, a good practice would be to clean your windshield every time before you take your car out. Use a clean and soft microfiber cloth and plenty of water to clean your windshield regularly. It is always a good idea to keep a separate set of clean microfibre cloths to be used only on the glass. Always remember, never use a cloth that has been used to wipe the rest of the vehicle, on your windshield.
Running your windshield wipers on a dry windshield is a big no-no. Doing so can cause permanent damage to both the wiper blades; and the windshield itself. Once a windshield gets scratched, driving can be a nightmare, especially at night. Replacing it is the only option, and they don't come cheap. Windshield wipers are designed to be used when the windshield is wet, and water is the best medium to prevent any frictional damage. If you have to use your wipers, press the washer button first and spray a generous amount of water onto the windshield before you activate them. Ensure that your washer fluid reservoir is always topped up.
Just like your windshield, wiper blades accumulate dust as well. If not cleaned regularly, the dust particles can accumulate over time and severely damage your windshield the next time you run your wipers. If your wiper blades make noise, it is a clearl indication that your blades need to be cleaned on priority. Use a clean and soft microfiber cloth and plenty of water to clean your wiper blades regularly. A helpful trick is to use a dishwashing detergent to help remove all the dirt and grime from the wiper blades. Do not use strong cleaning agents to clean your wiper blades. They may contain chemicals that can corrode or damage the rubber on the edges.
A wiper arm's sole function is to ensure the wiper runs smoothly over the windshield. Just like any other mechanical component of an automobile, this needs regular maintenance. If ignored, the wiper arm mechanism tends to get loose, which can result in poor wiper performance. All it takes is a screwdriver to tighten it back to its original position. This can be done by removing the plastic cap over the wiper arm and adjusting the corresponding screws. Ensure not to over-tighten the mechanism, as this can lead to excessive friction between the wiper blades and the glass and cause damage to both.
Wiper blades are made out of rubber which tends to harden over time. This can further be accelerated if they are exposed to the sun for longer. Running your wipers when the rubber on the wiper blades has hardened will reduce the wiper's performance and drastically increase the chances of your windshield getting scratched. Changing your wiper blades annually is a must; doing so just before the monsoon sets in will give you the best performance throughout the season.
Pro-tip: Regularly Apply petroleum jelly along the blades' length during the hot summer months. This will keep the wiper blades soft and flexible until they are ready to be used during the monsoons.
There are five different types of wiper blades available in the market today, with varying performance levels and at various price points.
These are by far the most common type out there and the cheapest. These blades usually come as the standard from the manufacturer for mass-produced cars. They provide adequate performance, but their usage is on the decline.
This style of wiper blade takes things up a notch. These blades have a full spoiler that runs along its length, allowing them to stick closer to the glass at high speeds.
The usage of these types of blades is on the rise. Unlike the last two mentioned above, which tend to look like coat hangers, these are flat and more aerodynamic. They also provide the driver with a better field of vision due to their compact form factor.
These blades combine the best of both worlds, the stronger construction of conventional blades with the aerodynamic shape of flat blades. They have a flexible steel substructure that provides sturdy support to the rubber blades while being flexible enough to conform to the windshield's condition to ensure the best wiping performance.
Not all vehicles use generic sizes for their wipers. A good example is the rear wipers of vehicles, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and can be specific to a particular model. These wiper blades are specifically designed as replacements for those wipers. They are available as both conventional, and flat-type blades.
Good wiper blades play a vital role in ensuring you have a clear view out of the windshield during the monsoons. The tips mentioned above will help you maintain your wipers and get the best performance.
Common windshield wiper issues boil down to electrical issues (a blown fuse or a problem with the motor) or the rubber has worn out.
You will know it's time to replace your wiper blades if:
You hear screeching noises when the wiper runs over the glass.
After moving over the windshield, the wiper leaves a streak or a film of water.
It fails to remove moisture from your windshield.
Typically, wiper blades should be replaced annually. You have to replace them sooner if you live in areas with extreme climates.
Intermittent wipers are designed to work at timed intervals when driving through the mist, fog or drizzle. You can vary the interval based on prevalent climatic conditions. This helps prevent the wiper from constantly running, which can wear out the blades sooner if there isn't sufficient water on the windshield to lubricate the blades.
In all aspects, wiper blades made of silicone are better than their rubber counterparts. They offer better wipe performance, and are a lot more durable. They are especially good for use in winter as they remain soft and pliable, unlike rubber which tends to harden and stick to the glass.
Cheap is not always the best. A good quality wiper blade will last longer and offer much better wiping performance under the worst of conditions and at higher speeds. They tend to be better designed and offer higher aerodynamic performance. As a result, they operate a lot quieter than their cheaper counterparts.
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