Looking after your windscreen wipers
It may seem that your windscreen wipers don't need much looking after, but there is more to it than just keeping your washer fluid topped up.
As the seasons change and the climate adjusts, your wipers need to be cared for in different ways. While many drivers may be unaware of these maintenance tips they are important to remember, as not only will they improve your safety on the road, but also could help to prolong the life of your wiper blades.
During the spring, we see a fresh outdoors with new life following the cold winter. While for many drivers the rise in temperature is a welcome change, your wipers may not share the feeling if not properly cared for. Spring brings an increase in insects, tree sap and pollen which can stick to wiper blades creating a smeared windscreen with reduced visibility. It is important to regularly clean your wipers in these conditions, by lifting the wipers away from the windscreen and rubbing a damp cloth sponge along the length of the blade.
Throughout the warmer months in the year we often see reduced rainfall and our windscreens may stay dry for long periods of time – but this doesn’t mean that they will stay clean! Dust and dirt will still settle on your windscreen and reduce your visibility if not cleared, but be warned; using your wipers on a dry windscreen will cause a lot of friction and wear down the wiper blades, possibly causing tears. You should always spray wiper fluid before using your wipers on dry glass, so remember to keep your fluid topped up weekly or before long journeys.
As summer turns to autumn we see the leaves turn from green to golden brown. This can be a beautiful sight… but if you’ve ever had to park under a tree at this time of year you might not feel the same way! When leaves start to fall they will often end up caught at the bottom of a cars windscreen, underneath the wipers. Using your windscreen wipers while there are leaves caught underneath can create additional friction and potentially cause tears in the rubber, so it is important to lift up your wipers and clear out any fallen leaves before you start a journey.
As temperatures drop and snow and ice start to make appearances, winter offers the toughest conditions for both your windscreen and your wipers. When cold weather is forecasted, it is worth lifting your wipers and placing a plastic sheet between the wiper blades and windscreen overnight as this can prevent them from freezing together. If you are not able to do this, or forget one day, then it is important to never use your wipers on a frozen windscreen - if they are frozen together then turning on your wipers can cause a tear or split in the rubber.
Instead it is better to use your car’s air conditioning or heating system to warm the windscreen, and use de-icer fluid on frozen areas if possible. When the ice has fully cleared from your windscreen you may now use the wipers to clear any liquid remaining. Remember to keep enough anti-freezing agent in your wiper fluid during the colder months too, as this can prevent the fluid from freezing to your windscreen.