Wiper blades need not whisk away excess dollars

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A view through the windshield of a car during a rainstorm. The wiper blades work to wisk away water.

Driving in rain can be surreal; finding good wiper blades shouldn't be. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/timsamoff/Flickr)

Everyone gets caught like a cat in the rain sometimes. If you happen to also be in a car, driving visibility becomes an issue as you navigate the road. Wiper blades must be in good condition in order to effectively whisk moisture away from the windshield. Streaking and smearing should be minimal. If your vehicle needs new wiper blades, keep this cash-conscious idea in mind – just because a set of blades is more expensive does not necessarily mean they’re better, says Consumer Reports.

Wiper blades then and now

Once upon a time, windshield wiper blades were operated manually via a lever inside the car. Now cars have electronic wiper systems that are designed to work continually with the flick or a switch. Moisture and light debris simply don’t stand a chance against good wiper blades and a working automatic wiper system. Add heated wiper blades that plug into a car’s 12-volt electrical system like Everblades and even ice and snow are melted away. But for maintaining effective driving visibility, Consumer Reports reminds us via tests on 185 cars that some brands – such as Valeo 600 series, Anco 31 series and Michelin RainForce – aren’t the most expensive, but they are highly effective.

Even expensive wiper blades wear down in six to nine months

Aside from the RainX Latitude brand, Consumer Reports saw marked degradation of wiper blades after half a year or more. More streaking, smearing or even missed areas of the windshield became more common over time. Consumer Reports also discovered in a 185-car sample that many had been using wipers that had degraded beyond recommended safe use. The owner’s simply hadn’t noticed; more likely, they’d become accustomed to poor driving visibility.

Good wipers do the job and aren’t difficult to work with

Most vehicles have a common hook mount that makes it easy to remove and replace wiper blades. The new blades should simply snap into place. If extra tools are necessary, you may be paying more for your wipers than necessary.

When in doubt, check the owner’s manual

Remember the mantra “Check the owner’s manual.” It’s a resource that many drivers still have on hand (or can find online). The information you need about the proper maintenance of your vehicle is contained within. As far as wiper blades go, every six to 12 months is reasonable time for replacement. If you aren’t sure about size, bring one of the blades into the store with you when you’re ready to replace.

Wiper blades don’t require auto loans, but your new car or truck will



Consumer Reports


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