This issue, The Mechanic takes a look at
an often overlooked but important issue,
windscreen wiper condition.
wipers are an
of any vehicle,
with a clear,
view of the
road when it
is needed most. Whether it is rain, sleet, snow or
leaves covering your windscreen, the wiper blades
will quickly and efficiently clear the obstruction,
meaning you can continue your journey in safety.
However, of all the parts of a car which are subject
to wear and tear, windscreen wipers are perhaps
the most fragile. Manufactured from thin rubber,
they are designed to operate smoothly on the
windscreen without damaging the surface of
the glass, yet despite their fragility they are often
required on a daily basis, possibly for long periods
of time during wet weather. In winter they
become frozen to the glass and in summer they
are used to help to clean the windscreen, while
being subjected to high temperatures. It is hardly
surprising then, that windscreen wipers do not
last indefinitely and require regular replacement.
Often the need to replace wipers is overlooked,
although regular servicing and MOT testing
should identify if they are becoming worn.
However, rather than relying on these tests to
assess the condition of the blades, car owners
should be aware of the common signs that the
windscreen wipers are failing, especially with
autumn upon us. So what are they?
Streaking: blades that are in good condition
should clear the rainwater from the windscreen
effortlessly, in one complete action.
This means there should be no streaks of water
where the blade has failed to make contact with
Unusual noises: windscreen wipers should
operate with minimal noise or ideally should
be silent. Sounds such as squeaks, screeches
or scrapes could indicate that the blades have
Irregular movement: wiper blades which are in
good condition will move smoothly across the
windscreen. As they become worn over time,
you may notice that the blades judder
on operation which is an indication that
replacement may be necessary.
Ragged or distorted blades: visually inspecting
the condition of the windscreen wipers should
be a weekly task for all vehicle owners. By
lifting the arms of the wipers away from the
windscreen, you can quickly assess the condition
of the rubber. Ragged, jagged or distorted edges,
where the blade makes contact with the glass,
should prompt you to replace them immediately.
Worn blades may not only hinder your vision, but
can also damage your windscreen, which will in
turn not only cost you dearly in a replacement
screen, but also hinder your vision even more,
making it dangerous to drive with the vehicle in
such a condition.
Replacement blades can be picked up very
cheaply for all types of van, so there is no excuse
not to check yours and change if required, but
remember… “Buy Nice or Buy Twice”.