Every driver and automobile user would agree that the wiper blades are one of the most ignored parts of a car. These are some of those parts that undergo maximum wear and tear but are not looked after regularly. You only realize that you need to replace the wiper blades when you try to use them on a rainy day or clean your windscreen at a signal, and all you get is screeching sounds and patchy wipes.
Windshield wiper blades are crucial components of a car, not only because they clean the windscreen, but have a safety aspect as well. Imagine going on a ride and it starts to pour, or the glare from the oncoming traffic on the dirty windscreen impedes your vision and your wiper blades fail to work properly. These circumstances can put you in trouble and it is ideal that the wiper blades are inspected routinely like the other parts, and changed if required.
Wiper blades face a lot of friction that leads to continuous wear of the rubber component, debris and dust particle along with rain and sunlight deteriorates it further. A worn and damaged wiper blade can scratch or damage the windscreen and rugged movement can burn the wiper motors out.
There are various types and different qualities of wiper blades available in the market. Keeping in mind the weather of the UK, where it rains for half of the year and heavy snowfalls cap everything in winters, you must be confused about the types and how to select wiper blades? Let us guide you in detail about; how to select wiper blades, how to change the wiper blades yourself (DIY), and what else you ought to do while maintaining them.
What to look for when Selecting Windshield Wiper Blades? (Criteria)
There is more to wiper blades than you know and there are various aspects that require your consideration when selecting wiper blades. Giving heed to these points can save you a lot of time and headache afterward, so if you don’t know exactly what to look for when selecting wiper blades, here’s a complete guide;
Get the Right Size
Needless to say that if a smaller or a larger wiper blade is installed, it is only going to worsen your problem. Not only do the improperly sized wiper blades impede the movement of the wipers but they also fail to clean the windscreen properly. So the proper size must be found and selected accordingly. The easiest way to find the size is to explore the owner’s manual or logbook of the vehicle or measure it directly with a measurement tape. The last resort is to visit an auto parts store and let the experts do their job.
Select the Best Type
There are many types of windshield wiper blades available in the market. The most common type sold in the aftermarket and by automakers is the conventional type. The other types are hybrid and beam blades.
This type of blade has a metal frame that supports the rubber part and a spring that helps adapt to the windscreen.
- Springs are prone to lose elasticity over time.
- Debris, dirt, and snow gets stuck in the metal frame, which leads to corrosion and impeded function.
- Cheaper but not so effective in all weather conditions.
These blades have a mixed type of assembly, with varying frames. These are not so popular and usually do not perform an optimal function.
- Fragile in quality and not sturdy in tough environments.
- Need replacement more often.
- Cost more than the conventional type.
Beam blades (recommended)
These are the best types of wiper blades that have a metal bar incorporated into the rubber body and don’t have any external frame.
- Very Sturdy and solid in quality.
- Adapt to the curvy windscreen.
- Doesn’t require different parts to be replaced and last longer.
Beam blades are the best type of blades you can opt for and are highly recommended. Especially for the snow season in the UK, where these blades have to take extra stress and perform better. The beam blades offered by the leading German manufacturer BOSCH are top quality and would last a lifetime without letting you down.
Choose the Premium Quality and Material
Wiper blades made of different materials are available in different qualities, and it only makes sense to choose the best. The two most common types are rubber and silicone.
- These are the most commonly available and used blades.
- Not so good in quality or durability, undergo wear very quickly.
- Fail under continuous, excessive stress and tends to scratch the windscreen,
Silicone Blades (recommended)
- The newer type of material, is very sturdy and durable in use.
- Endures more stress than rubber blades and smoothly clears away debris and water.
- Ideal for the rainy and snowy season.
- It doesn’t wear off that easily, neither does it scratch the windscreen surface.
- Almost all reputable brands offer a warranty on their silicone wiper blades.
Silicone wiper blades are currently the best type of blades available, and HEYNER is a leading German brand that offers best-in-class silicone wiper blades.
Keep Environment and Weather in Consideration
Weather conditions such as frequent rains or heavy snowfall have an impact on the lifespan and functioning of the windshield wipers, and if the substandard blades are used, they can ruin your life.
The ideal choice for the UK residents is the beam blades made of silicone. These are very sturdy in quality and solid in usage, can optimally remove the piles of snow, and don’t let the wiper motors get overheated in the rainy season. These wipers also do not wear off so quickly and last twice as long in comparison to the cheaper blades. Michelin produces some great quality wiper blades and you can rely on them with your eyes shut.
Get the Ones with Official Warranty
A price difference of 5 pounds won’t be much of a problem, but if it gets you a company warranty, it’s the better choice. Only the trustworthy and premium brands offer warranty and their products last longer than the cheaper aftermarket products. BOSCH is one such prestigious brand that you can trust and have confidence that their wiper blades will serve you well and for quite some time.
How to Change Windscreen Wiper Blades yourself (DIY): A step by step Guide
Changing wiper blades is not a herculean task and if learned properly, you can easily do it yourself at home. Apart from changing the wiper blades, there are some other maintenance tips as well that could enhance the lifespan of your wiper blades and improve the performance of wiper assembly. Let us give you step by step guide on how to change wiper blades yourself.
Step 1 – Know what you’re going to change
The first step in changing the wiper blades is to know their different parts and which one to change. The man part is the wiper arm that emerges from the base of the windshield, attached to it is the metal frame that carries the rubber wiper blade. It is only the rubber part that you’re going to replace and not the whole assembly while changing the wiper blades yourself.
Step 2 – Measure the size accurately
As explained before, it is crucial to get the blades of exact size for replacement. Either consult the owner’s manual or use a measuring tape to get the size of the blades. Make sure that you buy the premium quality wiper blades for replacement and not the cheap aftermarket products.
Step 3 – Lift the metal wiper arm
The first practical step in changing the wiper blade yourself is to lift the metal wiper arm and bring it to a vertical position. Make sure that the spring is not engaged, so it doesn’t snap back and damage the windshield.
Step 4 – Detach the metal frame from the wiper arm
The next step is to locate a joint where the wiper arm and metal frame are joined together. You’ll find a hook or a plastic stopper that holds the metal frame in position. Press the stopper to unhook the frame and detach it from the wiper arm.
In some cars, manufacturers use screws to lock the metal frame in position instead of the hook, in that case, you’ll need a screwdriver to unscrew and detach the assembly.
Step 5 – Install the new wiper blades
The last step is to unpack your wiper blades and slide the metal frame into the same position from where you removed the older one. It will snap back into the hook and is set to go. Place the wiper arm back into its original position, and check the movement of the wiper blades for any defects.
Repeat the process with the other wiper as well. That’s it! You’ve changed wiper blades yourself!
Tweak the Windscreen Washer Fluid
Not only does the washer fluid clean the windscreen and keep the debris off it, but it also lubricates the surface to reduce friction. This prevents scratching of the windscreen, wear of the rubber blade, and overheating of wiper motors. For the best results we would recommend LIQUI MOLY Super-Concentrated Cleaner which can be mixed with water for a long-lasting effect.
Keeping the level of professional-grade windscreen fluid is important to avoid any damage to metal parts (rusting), and keep the wiper assembly in pristine condition. The use of professional additives is also recommended to keep the fluid ready for all weather conditions. This includes the addition of LIQUI MOLY windscreen frost guard for winter, which prevents the fluid from freezing in sub-zero temperatures of the Uk and is also protective of paint and plastic parts. For summers, it is ideal to use the LIQUI MOLY windshield super concentrated cleaner that removes all types of debris, silicone, and oil remnants. Keeping the washer system and windscreen clean and clear for optimal visibility.