This issue, The Mechanic takes a look at
an often overlooked but important issue,
windscreen wiper condition.
As the weather starts to turn wet during the
autumn and winter, there is one very important
and often overlooked safety feature that needs
your attention, the windscreen wipers!
Windscreen wipers are an invaluable part of
any vehicle, providing the driver with a clear,
unobstructed 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 the glass.
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”.