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How your windscreen wipers could land you with a fine

Kwik Fit | Thursday 24th January 2019 9:30am

Car windscreen wipers

Having properly maintained windscreen wipers is a must year-round. After all, you have to be able to clear rain from your windscreen efficiently whatever the season. Meanwhile, in the winter, dirt from sleety and wet roads is kicked up by other vehicles, meaning visibility can be reduced very quickly. This tends to be especially bad when roads have been gritted and there is a lot of dark slush around. Although conditions in the summer tend to be less inclement, dust and dirt can still build up on your windscreen, and squashed insects can reduce your visibility further. This can be a particular problem when youíre driving at high speeds on the motorway.

Being able to clean your windscreen quickly and effectively is therefore vital whenever you set off on a journey in your car. If you ignore this important element of vehicle safety, you could be putting yourself and others at risk - and you may be in line for a penalty fine too.

As a driver in the UK, you are required by law to ensure that your windscreen wipers and washers are properly adjusted and kept in efficient working order. If it is discovered that your wipers and/or washers donít meet the required safety standards, you could be penalised with a spot fine of £100. This could rise to as much as £1,000 if the case goes to court.

Also, if youíre involved in an accident and your insurers find out that you were knowingly driving with faulty windscreen wipers, itís unlikely that they will pay out.

Unfortunately, despite these risks, many drivers arenít aware of the warning signs that their wiper blades need to be replaced. Instead of staying vigilant, they simply wait until they take their cars in for a service or MOT to be told there is a problem with this piece of kit - meaning they could be driving around for many months with faulty wipers.

Slowing your reaction time and increasing your stopping distance

Poor visibility doesnít just make driving unpleasant and more tiring. It also makes it harder to spot hazards and therefore increases peopleís reaction times when they are behind the wheel. In turn, this can add several car lengths to driversí stopping distances, putting them at an increased risk of collisions.

The simple fact is, if your wiper blades donít clear your windscreen quickly and effectively, you wonít be able to see and react to the conditions around you in a safe manner.

Is it time to replace your windscreen wipers?

Wiper blades arenít designed to last forever. They need to be replaced from time to time in order to continue doing their job properly. Generally, itís recommended to replace these pieces of kit every 12 months or so. However, they can deteriorate more quickly than this - so youíll need to be aware of the warning signs.

There are a range of potential problems to look out for. For example, if your blades are leaving streaks on your windscreen, this is a clear sign that itís time to get new ones. If they leave patches of your windscreen dirty or wet, itís also worth getting them checked out. Wipers that judder rather than moving smoothly over the glass tend to be damaged too, and if they squeak or squeal when they pass across your windscreen, the chances are youíll need replacements. Another obvious red flag is if the blades no longer make contact with your windscreen.

Itís worth keeping an eye on the blades themselves too. If you see cracks or splits in the rubber edge, you should purchase replacements as this means they wonít be able to shift water and dirt as effectively as necessary.

As well as checking your windscreen wipers, make sure your washer fluid levels are kept topped up at all times. Running out of washer fluid mid-journey can be dangerous, so this is something you should take care to avoid.

How we can help

Luckily, buying replacement windscreen wipers is easy and inexpensive. Here at Kwik Fit, we stock a wide selection of replacement wiper blades to fit most cars and vans. Whether youíre after standard designs, new flat style models, rear wiper blades or spoiler blades that reduce Ďwiper liftí, you can rely on us.

You can fit your new wipers yourself if you wish. To do this, pull the wiper arms up to 90į until they lock and then twist the blade around. Next, find the clip and push down on it to allow you to remove the blade. Once the old blade is off, you can slide the new one over the clip and lock it in place. To complete the process, twist the blade back and ease it down onto the windscreen.

However, sometimes this job can be fiddly and awkward. If youíd rather not have the hassle of fitting your new windscreen wipers yourself, you can turn to our expert technicians instead. Simply call into your nearest Kwik Fit centre and weíll source and fit your new blades for you. You donít even have to make an appointment. You can find your closest centre here.

Don't delay

As this blog shows, delaying getting new windscreen wipers if yours arenít up to scratch can be dangerous and costly, so itís just not worth the risk. If you notice any problems with this safety system, donít wait until your next MOT or service to get this investigated. Simply order new ones - or at least get your current wipers checked out by a technician to see if they need to be replaced.


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