How often should I replace my windshield wipers?

Question:

What are the indications that a vehicle’s windshield wipers have reached the end of their lifespan?

Answer:

As we write this in December, we would agree that the windshield wipers deserve considerable attention. The rain, sleet and snow cause enough of a driving obstacle; but another issue is the splash-back from oncoming vehicles that can cause sudden blindness. That’s when you want good wipers! Be alert to these three main wiper characteristics that might indicate a time to change the blades:

  • Streaking – You will see lines of precipitation following the arc of your wipers across the windshield.
  • Smearing – Entire blotches of the windshield will go uncleared, no matter how many times you pass the blades across it.
  • Squeaking – If nothing else, this noise will drive you crazy over long distances.

You might also observe some “chatter” in the wipers; or a visual inspection might uncover some splitting in the rubber. Any of these issues are clear indications (no pun intended) that it’s time to make a change. Experts recommend that you plan to replace your wiper blades every 6-12 months.

Bottom Line: In this dry climate, with temperature extremes, it’s pretty rare for a wiper to function properly past that 12-month mark, especially if the vehicle is frequently unsheltered.