Since the olden times, windshield wipers continue to impact greatly on the driver’s visibility especially in the harsh environments. For this reason, settling for a high-quality wiper now entails more than walking to a dealers shop and picking a pair. To ensure you qualify as a smart buyer in your selections, this guide offers a step by step guideline to the wiper features. We will also review some top brands to guide you through the purchase to ensure you settle for the best-rated windshield wipers.
What Are The Types And How To Select The Type That Suits You
Some few years back, you would simply enter a random car dealer shop and purchase any windshield wiper. Today, however, you need to exercise utmost care to ensure you get the best windshield wipers for your car. This entails assessing the unique wipers features in terms of their compatibility with your car, the weather conditions and seasons.
The best windshield wipers feature a flexible metal with a rubber coating in their construction to enhance durability. The commonly used materials on these blades include rubber, silicone and other coated materials. Rubber materials are the most common for their availability and low costs. However, they wear out faster. Silicone on the other side is more durable compared to the rubber wipers but costs a little more. The coated blades are the least common but are gaining popularity with time. They are used together with rubber to increase the blade’s lifetime.
With the above in mind, there exist three main types of windshield blades as follows:
Conventional blades: these blades are flat and straight with a rubber strip coating their metal frame. They are best for pushing debris off the windshield. These blades are usable with the traditional cars which feature straight windshields. If you, therefore, have a new model car, consider the curved model which contours your windshield’s shape for a clean job. Also, during winter, conventional blades are inconveniencing for their limited movement over the windshield.
Beam blades: These blades, unlike the conventional, are curved hence suitable to use with different windshield types. Their curved nature enhances their free movement over the windshield to clear any debris on the windshield thus useful during the snowy weather. Instead of a metal beam, these blades embrace a steel beam with rubber strip in their make.
Hybrid blades: These blades comprise the conventional and beam blades features. The blades are straight with a slight curvature. Due to their advanced make, they offer quieter operation compared to the above blades.
Besides the above major blade types, there exist customized blades for different seasons. Most of these blades have a special application for the winter season. They, therefore, embrace additional features that ensure usability and efficiency during the season. These blades include the heated, winter and silicone wiper blades.
The heated wiper blades: the winter season, accompanied by winter storms is quite a difficult time for drivers. Thus, if you have the wrong windshield blades, you can either drive blindly or forego your traveling because of the snow coverage on your screen. To settle this problem, consider using the heated blades to reduce snow build up and increase visibility for a safer drive.
Winter wiper blades: These blades feature additional features that make them a perfect fit for the winter weather. Moreover, they are durable.
Silicone wiper blades: These blades employ a silicone technology in their make to fight the unfriendly winter conditions. They are water resistant, offering clear views even in the worst storms. The blades are resistant to the extremely hot, and cold weather conditions hence retain their shapes with no cracks or folds, thus durable.
Special Features That We Need To Consider
When buying the best windshield wipers for your car, you need to consider its special features vis a vis your car type. This implies a closer look at the following:
Size of wiper blades: knowing the size of your stock wiper blade is an important guide to purchasing a new one. This is because, even if you want to change the previous stock brand, you will discover the need to retain the size for compatibility purposes. To determine your blade size, check the size of your windshield. The blade size you select for your car should be smaller than your windscreen size. Also, factor in the differences in size between the blade on the driver’s and passenger’s sides. Similarly, the rear window blades should be smaller than the windshield blades. Blades of the same size cannot work in tandem due to collision problems.
Connectors: In the past, everything was standard and could fit your need without trying it fast. However, with the technological advances, the products trend is towards customization. This condition applies to your wipers too. When buying your blades, ensure they fit well in your car. This will only be possible with the right connectors. In most cases, wipers and connectors come as a package. However, if you are still using the traditional models, you will need to select among the hook, Bayonet and Side pin connectors.
Compatibility: Getting the right windshield wipers means an efficiently performing wiper for your car. As a smart buyer, you need to buy perfectly fitting windshield blades with respect to your car’s model, brand and windshield. A poorly fitting wiper will not only be inefficient but also compromise on the functionality and clarity. Thus, getting the best fit wiper for your car will offer incredible benefits making your drive interesting under all conditions.
Durability: under normal circumstances, we use our wipers when we want to remove debris or water for a clear view. In other instances, these wipers tend to be a dormant feature on your car. When the summer season approaches, they gain exposure to the direct hot sun. This coupled with the winter extremes result in wear and tear. To ensure your wipers last for their estimated lifespan, consider buying those with durable materials. This implies going for the best quality windscreens with high tolerance to the harsh weather conditions.
Beam blades: As a smart buyer, consider buying beam blades to other blade types. Despite their higher prices, these blades offer quality service courtesy of their steel blades that exert consistent pressure on your windshield, giving a clean, clear view.
Installation: While some DIYers prefer to install the windshield blades on their own, I do not advocate taking this route. Getting a professional to fix your wipers will ensure a firm grip and hence functionality. Thus, unless you are a real pro, let the experts handle your fixing needs.
Car’s windshield curvature: A perfect grip on your windshield is the ideal state for a proper functioning wiper. Thus, whether your car has a straight or curved windshield, consider the hybrid or beam types respectively for perfect functioning especially during the harsh weather conditions.
Purchasing your windscreen will entail analyzing its technical specifications to ensure good functionality throughout their lifespan. These specs include:
Stock wiper blade: The stock wiper blade acts as a reference when making your purchase decision. If your stock is the beam style, then do not purchase the bracket as the mounting styles are different. Also, an understanding of the attachments at this point is important to ensure you get the right accessories for your new purchase to fit on your car.
Warranty: Unlike other products, windshield blades whether high or low-quality brands do not feature guarantees. Thus, in the event of a malfunction, you will have to incur purchase costs once again. Therefore, bearing this in mind during purchase, commit yourself to proper maintenance practices. These include constant checks for clogging and other debris. With good maintenance, you will extend your wiper’s span of service.
Choosing The Right Windshield Wipers For Your Lifestyle
What are best windshield wipers?
The best windshield wipers offer the best services throughout their lifespan and are very compatible with your vehicle. Also of importance in purchasing your windshield blades is considering your environment. If you reside in extreme weather regions, then factor in the extra features for an efficient service. The following product features and reviews offer a guide to ensure you get the best performing wipers for your windshield.
The best wiper for all seasons: Among the challenges you may encounter as a buyer is getting one wiper that will serve you well in both the cold and hot seasons. Well, if this best describes your situation, then ACDelco 8-4422 should be your ultimate purchase. Featuring a metal wiper blade, these conventional wipers offer strength and durability. The steel construction further adds up to their ability to stand unfriendly weather conditions. To ensure a quieter operation, these wipers feature precisely fitted wiper elements. Finally, featuring a windshield wiper technology with an easy –fit universal adapter, this wiper is usable in more than 90% vehicle models on the road without requiring extra adapters. Their dogleg blade design makes them a better suit for high wrap vehicles. Even with all these beneficial features, these wipes are economically priced and affordable with up to one-year parts warranty.
The best hybrid windshield wiper: Hybrid blades embrace both the conventional and beam designs in their make. Thus, settling for Michelin 8026 Stealth Hybrid Windshield Wiper Blade, which is the best wiper in this category, is a perfect solution. In fact, due to its hybrid features, independent test results show that this wiper will still outperform other industry competitors after 300,000 wipe cycles. This wiper also, unlike other models bears a general record of confidence from all buyers on average, unlike other models which feature both praise and criticism.
With an EZ Lok connector, this blade is very easy to install or replace upon concluding its lifespan. In fact, the initial installation is simple courtesy of this connector system. All you need to understand is your car’s perfect fit with respect to the wiper’s wide range sizes ranging from 16 to 18 inches. This wiper embraces the Smart Flex technology in its make that it to your car’s windshield curvature for an optimal grip and performance during the harsh weather conditions. Its rounded blade makes this wiper not only suitable for the winter but also the tropical climates where dust and mud can be a nuisance to your windshield. To establish and maintain a firm contact, this windshield wiper has an independent suspension. The suspension also aids in adjusting the wiper to the screen curvature.
Finally, if you are driving in the dusty environment or a hail storm, you can also consider this wiper for its Sleek aerodynamic cover that ensures proper performance by preventing clogging from the debris.
The best winter windshield wiper blade: The winter season features cold weather with snow accumulation. This accumulation reduces the general visibility. When this happens on your windshield, your driving experience will worsen resulting in a life-threatening blind drive. To deal with this hustles, therefore, purchasing a winter specific wiper like the Valeo 60022 600 Series Windshield Wiper Blade, 22″ (Pack of 1) is advisable. This easy fit brand with a universal U-clip comes as a pre-assembled package in most brands. It is robust, durable and non-corrosive, courtesy of its galvanized steel material. This material further enhances contact between the blade and windshield for the efficient operation and removal of the ice and snow debris. Coating the steel blade is a rubber strip. Unlike the other models, this rubber strip features a Tec3 advanced Rubber Technology that ensures a natural smooth wipe while protecting the steel. As a smart buyer, purchasing and using the Valeo wiper will not only improve your visibility on the road but also enhance your confidence as you maneuver through the blinding hail storms.
FAQs about the best windshield wipers
- How often should you replace your wipers?
Unfortunately, most car owners insist on having the same wipers for many years. This limits their functionality. As a smart car user, consider replacing your wipes every 6 to 12 months. However, if you experience any problem with your wipers before the expiry of this time, you may take a less than usual time to do this replacement. During this span also, ensure you maintain your wipers and perform regular inspections and cleaning to retain them in good shape and function.
- When should I replace my wipers?
Besides the once or twice general replacement rule for your wipers, other factors may trigger these replacements before their expiry. These include:
Rubber blade wear and tear: Most blades comprise a rubber strip coating which may wear out faster. Thus, in your regular checks, check for any splits, broken rubber, cracks or more rounded blade looks and replace them accordingly.
Excess noise: Windshield blades produce some noise in their operation. However, where the noise exceeds the norm and becomes irritating, it is a signal for you to install new ones.
Winter season: The winter season, unlike other seasons, demands that you have the best quality blade for your car. This is to enable you to deal with the blind drives and accumulating ice and snow debris. However, before you consider this replacement, conduct a thorough inspection on your blades status, check for any bends, and whether the blades sit well on your windshield to ensure a fine grip for the effective removal of any accumulating debris. If you project that your blades are not strong enough to withstand the season, then replacing them early enough before the season starts is advisable to avoid inconveniencing your schedule.
- How should I pick the right blade for my car?
When picking a specific blade for your car type, consider the size and curvature of your windshield. Next, decide whether you want the entire blade or just the rubber refills. Consider the blade’s special features that match your needs as well as how these features perfectly enhance its functionality. Also, consider the installation and whether your choice is compatible with the environment in which you will use it. Finally, assess your budget against the quality.
- What causes wiper deterioration?
Harsh and extreme weather conditions are the major contributors to the wipers deterioration. With a high temperature, the rubber blades cook leading to wear. This effect followed by extreme contractions during the colder seasons results in wear and tear. Besides the weather triggers, subjecting your wipers to heavy tasks such as cleaning abrasive materials and dust rather than doing it manually will also trigger wear. Environmental contaminants like dirt and acid rain also fasten the wear and tear processes.
- What constitutes an effective blade?
An effective blade features high-quality materials in their make, strong blade pressure over a wide area and a multi-point suspension system for streak and smudge reduction.
In conclusion, windshield blades just like every other part of your car are important. As a smart buyer, you should, therefore, endeavor to maintain it in good condition. Their maintenance not only ensures your visibility but also protects your windshield. Hence, before an accident smashes your windshield, make sure you have the right wiper to keep it clean and scratch free with high-quality blades.