Reviewing windscreen wipers

Posted on October 11th, 2018 by Rob Marshall

Reviewing windscreen wipers

With summer well and truly over, it is worth checking the condition of your windscreen wipers, which may have deteriorated during the hot weather due to ultra-violet degradation.


How long do wipers last?

Windscreen wipers tend to last between six and twelve months, although many drivers do not replace them until they have become so badly deteriorated that an MOT failure results from split blades.


Wiper maintenance

Windscreen wiper performance diminishes gradually long before the blade becomes perished enough to risk damaging the windscreen. Yet, should your wipers judder, or squeak, as they pass across the screen, you can try bending them slightly so that the revised angle causes the rubber to glide smoothly. In cold weather, however, judder may be more pronounced, because the rubber hardens as the temperature drops.

Should they become frozen to the glass and the wipers are operated, the rubber can be damaged as well as the entire motor, linkage, wiring and the appropriate fuse. Also, if you do not defrost the glass, the rubber wiper blade can become torn, as it sweeps over sharp ice.


In cases where water has not been cleared effectively by one sweep, the resultant streaking is caused by moisture that has been left behind. While this may be caused by something small (such as a small piece of vegetation) becoming lodged between the wiper blade and windscreen, old wipers tend to be the most common reason.


While smears result from a dirty windscreen, it is worth wiping a moist cloth over the blades to clean them periodically, such as when you wash the car. You can degrease the blades by using some white vinegar and a cloth, too.


Replacing wiper blades

Should any of these techniques not improve wiper performance, they will need to be replaced, especially if they are over one year old. Even though the modern, flat blade designs are much more expensive, resist cutting corners and invest in a good-quality branded replacement.


Finally, because the condition of the rear wiper is not included within the MOT Test’s remit, check that it is also in good order.