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Most experts say that wiper blades need to be changed every six to 12 months. This depends on weather conditions and the quality of blades you purchase. Ordinary rubber blades have the shortest lifespan. Halogen-hardened rubber blades last a bit longer. But silicon blades have the longest lifetimes of all, perhaps exceeding a year even under intense use. Of course they also cost more than ordinary rubber blades.

You’ll know when your wiper blades need to be replaced because you’ll see streaking as they wipe the moisture from the windshield or even large gaps where no water is being removed. They may start making squeaking or chattering sounds (though this can also happen if you run the wipers when the windshield is mostly dry). If left unchanged for too long, the material of the blade can shred and break loose from the arm. This can actually cause damage to your windshield, as the metal or hard plastic of the arm scrapes across the glass. This is not preferred.

Fortunately, you won’t necessarily have to replace the entire blade assembly. Most blade arms will accept rubber refills, giving you the option of replacing only the part that’s damaged. However, blade arms can become bent over time, so make sure that the refill is all that you need to replace in order to fix the problem.

If you are unsure and would like an experts opinion, stop by any of Sierra Car Care’s three locations in the Reno area. We are happy to help!

Good windshield wipers aid safe driving

Keeping your windshield clear is paramount to a safe driving experience and your wipers are an integral part of making that happen. If you don’t have a clear view of the road ahead, it’s more difficult to avoid an accident, an object on the road, or defects in the roads surface such as potholes.

If you are currently experiencing trouble with the function of your wiper blades, not just the blades themselves, maybe we can help. If the issue persists, please feel free to bring your vehicle into any one of our Sierra Car Care locations around the Reno/Sparks area and one of our ASE Certified Technicians would be happy to take a look.

When windshield wipers malfunction, they may stop working altogether, which can be very dangerous. There are several reasons why your windshield wipers could stop working.

Top reasons why windshield wipers malfunction:

  1. Torn wiper blades. The condition of your wiper blades directly affect how well your windshield wipers work. If the rubber edges on your wiper blades are cracking or torn, the wiper will not make proper contact with the windshield to clear moisture or debris away. The small gaps or cracks left by the missing rubber can actually trap additional dirt that may scratch your windshield glass. You can sand down the small cracks to elongate the life of your wiper blades or if they are really worn, it is safest to just replace torn wiper blades.
  2. Ice or snow on wipers. Windshield wipers are able to remove small amounts of snow from your windshield, but heavy, ice and snow may need to be manually removed first with a snow brush/scraper before trying to allow your wipers to clear away. Wet snow is heavy and can bend your wiper blades, the wiper arms can skip or strip at the pivots, and the wiper motor or transmission can get damaged. We recommend removing any heavy snow from your windshield before using your wiper blades.
  3. Wiper pivot nuts are loose. The wiper arms are connected to the wiper transmission by a nut on a pivot. A nut tightens onto the pivot stud to hold the wiper arm tightly to the pivot. If the nut is a little loose – which is common – the wiper motor will turn the pivot but the wiper arm will not move. You may see it slightly move when the wiper direction changes, but it does not wipe the windshield. If you have this issue, make sure the wiper pivot nuts are tight.
  4. Wiper fuse is burnt out. When the windshield wiper motor is overloaded, the associated fuse burns out. The fuse is designed to be a weak spot in the windshield wiper circuit. That way, if the motor is overloaded for any reason, the fuse will burn out first, instead of the more expensive wiper motor. If the wiper motor fuse burns out, check for any obstructions that may cause the motor to be overloaded. Heavy snow on the wiper blades or a wiper blade or arm caught on something or snagged together can cause the fuse to blow. Clear the obstruction and replace the fuse.
  5. Wiper motor has stopped working. The windshield wiper motor is an electrical motor. As an electrical component, it can short out or quit unexpectedly and require replacement. If that happens, your windshield wipers will not work at all and you won’t be able to clear any debris. Replace the windshield wiper motor right away.

Visibility is imperative behind the wheel and not worth compromising the safety of your passengers over something that can be simply fixed. If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned issues, and are unable to repair yourself, please visit any of our Sierra Car Care locations around the Reno/Sparks area and one of our ASE Certified Technicians would be happy to take a look.

Related article: Windshield Wipers: Don’t wait for failure

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