Good visibility is vital for safe winter driving
|Quality wiper blades often feature an aerodynamic, all-steel frame to work with the wind -- countering the tendency to lift away at highway speeds -- and keep the blades in contact with the windshield at all times.|
Whenever it rains during rush hour, there's a traffic jam on the highway. Poor visibility is often a major contributing factor, but could be alleviated if more drivers paid attention to the condition of their windshield and windshield wiper blades.
"Many vehicles have windshield wiper blades and/or washer systems that are barely functional, and many, many drivers never change their wiper blades," says Matt Hallis, product technical support manager with Robert Bosch Corporation.
"Worn out wiper blades cannot effectively clear the windshield of rain, snow or debris, resulting in blurred vision for the driver," Hallis continues. He points out that most of the choices people make when they are driving are based on what they can see. In other words, if old wipers streak during the rain, visibility is severely hampered. Curing the problem is a no-brainer -- new blades are needed for simple safety.
"With the amount of road grime that today's traffic kicks up on windshields, we recommend replacing wiper blades every six months," Hallis suggests. "They can go longer, but abrasion takes its toll on even the best blades -- as well as the windshield -- and visibility will begin to suffer." For best results, Hallis recommends replacing the blade assembly, rather than just the insert. Older frames may loosen and fail to keep inserts in proper alignment for optimum cleaning.
And with winter arriving, now is the time to take a good look at your wiper blades, according to Hallis.
"These days, wiper blades are easy for the consumer to select and replace," Hallis notes. "Most auto parts stores offer a range of wiper blades, with reference guides to help match one to your vehicle. Installing the fresh blades does not require a mechanic.
"The most difficult part of installing a wiper blade is removing the old blade, which might have been on there a while," says Hallis.
Some blades also feature an aerodynamic, all-steel frame to work with the wind -- countering the tendency to lift away at highway speeds -- and keep the blades in contact with the windshield at all times. For corrosion resistance and extended service life, the frame is coated with a special primer.
For optimum wiper-blade performance, Hallis also recommends keeping windshields clean, and wiper reservoirs full of washer fluid -- not straight water, which can freeze in colder weather and damage the washer system.