We’re not here to tell you how important windshield wipers are. If for some reason, you are unaware of the importance of good wiper blades, then you live in a desert, or you’ve never driven a car. So, let’s state the obvious. Windshield wipers are crucial for safe driving. But, when the time comes to replace them, how do you choose the best windshield wipers?
We have reached a stage in capitalism (socioeconomics, anyone?) where there are a plethora of different wipers on the shelves. The automotive aisle can be confusing for those without greased hands, so how does one choose?
Don’t get caught in the storm. Here are a few tips for picking the best wipers for your vehicle.
When Do You Need New Wipers?
First, let’s start with the basics. Sure, knowing how to choose the best windshield wipers is important, but knowing when to choose new wipers is crucial. After all, we don’t want you wasting money.
The general rule of thumb is to change your wipers every six months. But, this may be overkill. Here are a few things to look for.
- The rubber on your blades is cracked or falling apart.
- You hear squeaking or rubbing noises when using them.
- They are leaving streaks on your windshield.
- They are not making direct contact with the windshield.
- Crooked or bent.
Ultimately, take a good look at your wipers next time you are near your car. Pick them up and inspect them. Rub your finger along the rubber edge to feel any cracks or missing pieces. It doesn’t take a mechanic eye to see if something is amiss.
More likely than not, your judgment, even if amateur, should be enough to indicate an issue.
Consult the Owner’s Manual
Remember that thick book you received when you bought your vehicle? It’s more than likely sitting in your glovebox. That is the first place you should start when picking out new blades.
The owner’s manual will tell you exactly what size blades you need for the vehicle and probably tell you the general brand you should be looking for. Buying the wrong size blades will lead to them not being able to fasten on or long, flailing rubber. You don’t want your car to look like it just got eyelash extensions.
If you have misplaced your manual for some reason, have no fear. You can Google the correct wiper measurements for your vehicle’s make and model. Even stores like Advance Auto Parts have a way to search for the correct wipers via your car’s information.
If you do not have access to the internet, then how are you reading this? Jokes aside, you cannot go wrong with a trusty measuring tape. Take a measurement of the wipers themselves. This is the rubber bit on the wiper arm. If you need to replace the entire arm, measure from the beginning to the end of the wiper.
Ask a Professional to Choose the Best Windshield Wipers
When in doubt, you can always reach out to a professional for more information on what to do. Even sellers at local auto parts stores can look up the correct measurements. They may also recommend the best wipers they have and help you put them on.
It’s okay to ask for help! That’s what they are there for.
Two By Two
Even if only one of your blades is damaged, replace both of your wipers. While no damage will be done to the vehicle if you only replace one blade, it may be a good idea. Unless there was some type of wild mishap that damaged a singular blade, if one is worn out, the other is certainly on its way. For convenience sake, do both when applicable.
Types of Windshield Wipers
We’ve reached an age where there are technological advancements in everything. If eyeglasses have gotten to the point of being technologically advanced, then so have windshield wipers.
All in all, there are three main types of windshield wipers to choose from.
- Traditional: These are your old classics. The concept is simple. A metal arm with a rubber blade attached. Tried and true. These are the cheapest option, but still maintain their respect amongst the blade community (no, that doesn’t actually exist. I don’t think).
- Beam: Built with Memory Curve Steel, these blades have a hingeless rubber strip. Basically, they are curved to provide maximum pressure to the windshield. The airtight fit allows for better wiping. They’re pricier and only applicable to modern cars, but they are the best way to wipe away the rain. Unfortunately, the tight design can lead to debris getting stuck easily.
- Hybrid: The best of both worlds. The hybrid wiper has an aerodynamic plastic casing with open areas for debris to pass through. It also has a beam-style blade, creating an airtight fit against the windshield.
Along with the different styles of blades, different materials can also be selected. While rubber is the standard, silicon also exists. Silicon is hydrophobic, leading to better water distribution. It also makes for longer-lasting wipers.
Still completely confused? We get it. Windshield wipers are more technical than you may imagine. In fact, there are thousands to choose from.
Now, to Choose the Best Windshield Wipers
This now becomes a matter of research. Ready for some homework?
Now that you’ve decided what type of wiper you need and whether or not you want to shell out for longer-lasting silicon, it’s time to decide which blades you want. You can search the internet for the best-reviewed blades for your style and car, or ask your local mechanic or salesperson.
Popular Mechanics actually did an experiment testing wipers in 2021. Basically, they put washable paint on a windshield to see what wipers did the best cleaning job. Then, they used a decibel meter to check the sound of the blades during light rain.
Consequently, they decided that the Rain X Silicone AdvantEdge Premium Beam Wiper Blade was the best on the market. But, feel free to research for yourself. That is just one opinion.
After all, having great wipers is critical to your driving experience and safety. Knowing how to choose the best windshield wipers requires knowing wiper arm length and the type of blades you’re looking for.