Extend windscreen wiper life

Posted on September 14th, 2017 by Rob Marshall


Until recently, the humble windscreen wiper had escaped the rampant increase in complication that has affected virtually every other part of the motorcar. Its construction has remained fixed for years, in that a thin blade of rubber is kept in contact with the glass by a flexible metal frame.

The arrival of the flat-blade wiper, which grew in popularity around a decade ago, has a considerably-reduced number of parts. The mechanism that exerts pressure on the rubber blade has been simplified and replaced a number of riveted-together metal parts with a more effective single sprung metal strip. This has meant that an even force is spread throughout the whole length of the rubber blade, making it less prone to lift from the glass. The moulded rubber external design is also more aerodynamic and the wiper blade tends to last longer. Unfortunately, they tend to be considerably more expensive than the earlier style but a welcome development is that they tend to be easier to install for a typical DIY motorist.

Cleaning tips

While any wiper that possesses perished blades should be replaced (it is an MoT Test requirement and I recommend that wipers are replaced annually, anyway), you can not only extend their lives but also make them less prone to smearing, by cleaning the blade periodically.

This can be done while washing your car. Alternatively, moisten a paper towel with white vinegar (water would do, if none is available) and wipe it across the rubber blade several times. You might be surprised at the quantity of dirt that is liberated.

Spending under a minute performing this simple maintenance task will help to reduce the chance of annoying juddering and streaks occurring on the windscreen, which has a relevant safety benefit.