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Routine Car Maintenance: When Should You Replace Your Windshield Wipers?

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How to Change Windshield Wiper Blades

Are your windshield wipers leaving streaks behind? Then it’s time to change them

Some say windshield wipers need replaced every six months; others say they can go as long as a year. While these time frames make sense, there’s only one true way to tell if you do or do not need to replace your windshield wipers—just look through your windshield while it’s raining.

If you notice a difference in driving visibility, it is time to change your windshield wipers. It might seem like common sense, but many people believe they should wait a certain amount of time before doing so. While it’s nice to save money by waiting, doing so could cost you the most important thing ever—your life.

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Windshield wipers need to be replaced when they no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface. This causes them to squeak, skip, streak, or smear, reducing driving visibility. If you find that your visibility is poor, but your windshields aren’t making a single sound, then do a quick inspection the next time the sun’s out.

When you’re inspecting your windshield wiper blades, look for the following:

  • Metal corrosion, specifically at the joints and claws
  • Lack of flexibility of the blade—the older blades are, the less likely they are to flex
  • A broken frame

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Any of these is a sign that your windshield wiper needs to be fixed or replaced. If you still don’t find any issues with your blades—and they’re still not working properly—then the next step is to check that your blade is secure to the wiper arm. This is a common error that can be fixed in a jiff.

If you need to replace your windshield wipers, make sure you follow these instructions to keep both you and your car out of harm’s way.