18

I bought a second hand car 18+ months ago and there was no information on how recently the wiper blades had been replaced. This wasn't an problem as the blades weren't obviously worn and they did their job perfectly adequately. The back wiper did squeak, but as I don't use it that often it wasn't a problem.

However, this autumn I became increasingly aware that the wipers weren't clearing the water very well - they were smearing the water across the windscreen rather than moving it away. I have replaced the blades as they were clearly failing, but I was wondering how long I could expect these replacement blades to last.

I am in the UK, which, while it doesn't have extremes of weather, does often get to experience all four seasons in a single day ;). Other countries/continents will have different wiper blade life expectancy of course.

I've done a Google search, but all the sites I could find seem to be sponsored by motor manufacturers or retailers/repair shops who have a vested interest in getting you to buy new wipers every year (or every 6 months in one case). However, I don't think that this is realistic.

  • 8
    Replace them when they stop working. Just like any other part on your car... – cory Nov 9 '16 at 14:56
  • 1
    @CooterDavenport quite possibly a windshield. – MonkeyZeus Nov 9 '16 at 17:03
  • 1
    When I used to live up North, I always replaced mine right before winter started, to make sure they were fresh when I needed them most. I didn't need to do it that often, but I prefer to err on the side of caution. Living in Florida now, I replace them at least every 6 months, as that's how long it typically takes them to dry out and stop working properly. At most, I wait until the end of spring, as Summer is when they're needed down here – Taegost Nov 9 '16 at 17:19
  • 1
    Clean your windshield, then if they don't work still, replace them. – CarComp Nov 9 '16 at 18:20
  • 2
    It also depends on how much a smeared windshield annoys you. Personally, I cannot tolerate a dirty windshield, so I typically replace my wipers every year or 10 months. Something that might also change things is if you use a hydrophobic glass product like RainX on your windshield, which allows water to quickly bead up so you only have to use your wipers in moderate to heavy rain. (I use the RainX washer fluid instead of the wipe on stuff.) – user12176 Nov 10 '16 at 1:46
8

Really depends on several factors. First is weather extremes. Blades exposed to bright hot sun (tropical latitudes) or freezing conditions will deteriorate quicker. Blades exposed to heavy dust or other contaminants will also experience shorter life. Do you clean the blades? Wiping the blade edge with alcohol periodically will prevent build up on the edge which may cause streaking. Do you wash the car?

Since I live in Hawaii and the UV really beats down on the blades, I decided to follow the dumb-bunny protocol and change it once a year at the end of the year. No need for thinking.

8

I generally replace mine as soon as they show signs of fatigue, or when I think "ooh, I've not done those in a while" - usually after about 2 years. Don't wait until they perish completely and scratch the windscreen!

Check them regularly (especially at the onset of autumn or when a lot of bad weather is expected)

  • I agree, 2 years sounds about right: particularly in a warmer, but not hot, climate. – anonymous2 Nov 9 '16 at 15:08
  • 2
    I agree with replacing them when they show signs of fatigue, but would recommend to anyone to try cleaning them first. Lots of times, the wiper is in good shape, but will just have road-grime-buildup on them which, once cleaned off, will allow the wiper to function just like new. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 9 '16 at 16:11
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 I did think of that, but as they were at least 18+ months old I figured it would be easier (and quicker) to replace in this case. – ChrisF Nov 9 '16 at 16:47
7

I've always replaced mine as soon as they don't clean the window. Sometimes the problem is streaking, other times its chattering because the wipers don't want to flex right on the back stroke.

Another important thing to remember is that over time, your wiper arms can get bent (if they are not cast, or formed in some way to be rigid). It doesn't make a LOT of sense why, but they do. A previous owner may have bent one trying to remove a 'stuck' wiper mount. Someone might have tried to 'adjust it' instead of replacing the wipers. Someone's basketball could have bounced off it, anything really. Its important to ensure that the arm has the correct bend, and is not twisted.

One more thing. Wiper blades generally suck at removing dirt and filth. Sometimes its just as important to give your windshield a good hard scrubbing by hand. Smearing can result from a lot of interstate / high speed driving. Road grime accumulates like a film that the wipers, no matter what, cannot remove. Water likes to cling to it like crazy. Also, bug poo and tree sap can create a real mess that is almost invisible until you turn the wipers on in a light rain.

  • I think the OP is looking for an estimate on how long they will last, not when he should replace them. – anonymous2 Nov 9 '16 at 14:52
  • 1
    Hah. In that case, they last until they don't work after you've manually cleaned the windshield :) – CarComp Nov 9 '16 at 14:55
3

As I haven't enough reputation I'll have to answer by new thread :(

But I'm agree with @Nick-C as my wipers is running on the at last 4. year now (living in DK)

But or how long they last depend on many things, the environment you are driving in like city vs country site, a healthy environment or polluted like London. The quality of the blades, note price != quality.

But long story short, be nice to them, and they last for years, keep them clean, keep them away from polish and other bad chemicals and the rubber last longer.

3

Also in the UK I replace mine when they leave significant streaks on a clean, wax-free windscreen and the problem isn't fixed by cleaning the blades with neat screenwash on a rag. At the same time as wiping the blades I clean the bits of windscreen that the wipers don't reach, from where muck can run onto the rest.

This is on a car and a van a few years old, doing no more than about 6000 miles per year between them, and not washed very often. This means they can easily last a couple of years; the limit on the van at least is that the rubber goes hard from being left out in the sun.

2

Good question. Like you said, the professionals tend to say around 6 months to a year. One person actually recommends four months in hotter climates.

This comes down to a question of how well you want them to function. If you want them to work at the optimum, there is no doubt that the automotive professionals are right, even though they do have a vested interest in having the newest blades on your car.

As a general rule, I expect a replacement every 1-2 years - provided I remember to keep them unfrozen from the windshield. :)

2

I do it as part of my "get ready for winter" maintenance every fall. As with most car maintenance it should be preventative, not wait until it fails. It's a safety issue, not just for you, but others out on the road as well.

I just did it last week, and the packaging says yearly.

2

Given the variety of road and weather conditions, I too, would simply say replace them when they cease to do a good job. However, in addition to regularly cleaning the windscreen, you should also clean the wipers themselves!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.