The wiper blades of your car are a safety feature, whose importance you always forget until you encounter driving in rain or snow. An unclear windshield is truly a hazard while you are driving. It is also a known fact that majority of the accidents that happen are a result of poor visibility.
Your wiper blades have a service life of 6 months to a year. During this time their performance is usually highly effective. They eventually tend to get worn out and do not work properly as they are on a constant exposure to harsh physical conditions of weather and atmosphere.
It is extremely important to change your wiper blades as and when required to ensure a safe driving experience. Knowing what size wiper blades would be necessary for your car helps to a greater extent.
When Should You Change the Blades?
If it's time to change your wiper blades you may notice some of the following symptoms:
- Shrieking noise when they wipe the moisture off your windshield
- uneven wiping of the window surface
- Your wiper leaves a milky film of material while wiping
- The rubber is cracked or falling apart in some areas
The rubber material used in your wiper blades wear out easily with usage. It is advisable to change your wiper blades once or twice in a year depending on the type of blades used.
Rubber wiper blades do not last long and they need to be replaced regularly. Halogen-hardened rubber blades last a little while longer, whereas Silicone blades have the longest lifetime. The cost of these blades also varies according to the durability.
Why Not Just Change the Rubber Blades?
The rubber blades of your wiper are available in auto parts stores and other locations. If you opt to get them changed, instead of replacing your entire wiper blade, it is cost effective.
But you should also remember that fitting the rubber blade over your wiper is a tedious task, and you can easily change the entire wiper instead of put your effort and time on to fitting the rubber blade.
How to Choose the Wiper Blade Size for Your Car?
The wiper blades of your car operate in a semicircular motion, thus clearing the surface and promoting a better visibility. When you observe the wiping action of your blades, you may realize that the top corner of the passenger side and lower corner of the driver’s side of the windshield are not getting cleaned properly.
This is because of the size constraint of the wiper blades. Hence, you might think it is better to get bigger sized wiper blades when you are about to replace them. But is it a good idea? What size wiper blades would best suit your car? Let us see how to choose them.
1. Refer to Your Car’s Manual
The size of the wiper blades is specific to a car’s model. Hence, grab your car’s manual and look for the data on what size wiper blades are used. This will help you to buy the exact size of the blades which are suitable for your car.
Although I couldn't find it my manual, you may be luckier than me. Either I missed it or they decided not to put it in this manual. I usually either measure the wiper or take it into the store with me to size it correctly.
Just be careful if you take the wiper off, the hook arm will have contact with the glass and may scratch it. Put something between the arm and the window to prevent damage. You can also just leave the hook arm up if you are installing the new wiper right away.
If you replace your car’s wipers with smaller sized blades, they won't wipe the window effectively. They miss wiping critical area that are need for visibility.
Getting wipers that are too big also cause the wiper to malfunction and possibly scratch areas outside the window. They could also cause damage to the wiper motor. The wipers might also collide with each other while wiping.
2. Use an Online Blade-Size Finder
You can use the www.rainx.com Rain-X website or any other Wiper blade manufacturer’s portal such as TricoProducts.com, which is incorporated with a wiper blade size calculating tool. This online calculator computes the optimal wiper blade size that is required for your car.
If I go online for parts I like to visit my Amazon.com garage. It has many parts that should fit my truck including wipers.
I purchased my last pair of blades from Costco at a good price. I like them because they work well and are fairly to install. I have found good deals online as well.
3. Get Your Measuring Tape
You can measure the wiper blade size manually by using a measuring tape. To measure the length of the wiper blade, lift the blade away from the windshield. Press the blade, so that it extends to become straight from its curved position.
Measure its length from one end to the other in inches. Also take measurements of the driver side and passenger side wiper blades separately, as their sizes may be different.
I measured along the curve of the blade and that worked well also.
Examine your wiper blade manually for any damages before replacing a new one. Also, clean your windshield’s surface with a damp cloth and press the clean wiper blade snugly against the surface. This method sometimes works, without creating the necessity to replace a new wiper blade. If the blade surface has cracks or cuts, then you have to replace them.
Wiper blades are inexpensive, and some auto part stores also install them for you without any charge. If you own an SUV or a minivan, check for the wiper blades at the rear window as well, when you are about to replace them.
We hope that this guide would have helped you clear your doubts about replacing your wiper blades. You may also be interested in how to drive safely in the rain.