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Maintaining the Wiper Blades

How to maintain your car wiper blades

South Africa has harsh weather conditions, and wiper blades have a life span of approximately 12 months. Normal use, harsh sunlight and dust can cause the rubber on the blade to dry out and crack. These defects will cause streaks of water on the windscreen, and will reduce your visibility in wet weather. Check your wiper blades regularly for abrasive cuts or cracks on the edge of the wiper blade and also check for dirt embedded in these defects.

When in use, the wiper blade should wipe the windscreen smoothly and quietly. The wiper blade should always stop before it touches the rubber frame of the windscreen. Should you notice one of the signs of a damaged wiper blade as listed below, then your wiper blades or wiper arm should be replaced immediately.

Windscreen Wiper Problems - Lace Curtains

Lace Curtains: Arm defects or long periods in the ‘park’ position can deform the wiper blade edge, causing a veil effect across the windscreen.

Windscreen Wiper Problems - Bands

Bands: Wiper blade rubber can wear out or become damaged with age. This will result in thick bands of water being left on the windscreen.

Windscreen Wiper Problems - Lines

Lines:When the wiper rubber becomes damaged with age, or wears thin, fine semi-circular lines are left on the windscreen

Windscreen Wiper Problems - Chatter Hopping

Chatter hopping:This happens when wiper blades judder across the screen leaving radial streaks. Chatter hopping can be caused by a deformed wiper element, worn blade linkage or a change in wiper arm characteristics.

Windscreen Wiper Problems - Wind Lift

Wind lift: When travelling at high speed, the wiper misses parts of the windscreen, then the wiper blade or wiper arm should be replaced.

Windscreen Wiper Problems - Vibration Judder

Vibration judder: A deformed wiper element, the wrong adapter or wear and age on the wiper blade rubber and links can cause jerky wiper arm movement.

Windscreen Wiper Problems - Unwashed Margins

Unwashed margins: Deterioration of the wiper blade linkage, or decreased wiper pressure can result in parts of the windscreen not being wiped at all.

Windscreen Wiper Problems - Noise

Noise: Noisy wipers may be a sign that the wiper element is deformed, or has hardened. This could also be caused by a worn wiper blade structure.

There are two main types of wiper arms, which are used to connect the blade assembly to the vehicle:

  • Bayonet Type Arm: These were used on early model cars
  • Hook Type Arm: These are used on later model cars

To replace your wiper blades, follow these steps:

Step 1:
If you have a Bayonet type arm, lift up the arm of the windscreen wiper and press down on the arm to release the clip. If this does not work, use a thin screwdriver between the fitting arm to release the clip.

If you have the hook type arm, lift up the arm of the windscreen wiper and rotate the bottom of the blade towards the windscreen to unhook it.

Step 2:
Check that your wiper blade is fitted with a universal adaptor. This will cater for most vehicle designs. If not, please select the correct adaptor to suit your car’s wiper arm.

Step 3:
Fit the blade assembly to the wiper arm. Follow the fitting instructions supplied in the wiper blade packaging.

Step 4:
Gently lower the wiper blade arm back onto the windscreen.

Useful Tip:
Remember to check your windscreen wipers regularly, and to replace them as soon as they show evidence of damage.

Useful Tip:
When you have been in a dusty area, or have not used your wiper blades for an extended period of time, take a damp cloth and gently clean your wiper blades. You can do this by lifting the wiper blade arm, and running the damp cloth along the edge of the wiper blade.

Download a PDF of How to Maintain your Wiper Blades