(NC) – Keeping yourself and your family safe on winter roads can be difficult, but did you know that driver’s vision is a factor in more than 40 percent of all vehicle crashes? While there are many factors outside of our control in winter driving, like snowfall and water or slush splashing on the windshield from other traffic, maintaining wiper blades in good repair can provide the best visibility possible and is something cost-effective and easy to address.
But how do you know if your blades are in good repair?
Many factors can contribute to wiper blade wear, including use, extended exposure to temperature extremes, ozone, road salt, oil and even automatic car washes, according to wiper blade expert Robert Peers. Blades can also become damaged by ice, snow and debris removal. To avoid the risks of driving with limited visibility it is important to recognize the warning signs of wiper blade wear and damage.
Visual inspection of the wiper blade reveals rubber that has hardened and/or cracked due to exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, tree sap, and road tar, automotive chemicals like oil, brake fluid, coolant, and road grit. Bands of water remain after each wiping stroke.
Extreme hot or cold temperatures or extended periods of non-use can cause blades to exhibit chatter. The blades may skip and vibrate. The characteristics to look for include a choppy wiping action or an overall performance set or curve to the blade rubber in one direction and smeared windshield appearance while wiping.
When the wiping edge of the blade is no longer sharp, but rounded in shape or appearance, the wiper will smear the water across the windshield instead of clearing it off. This causes cloudy and impaired visibility.
Bent Wiper Arm
Automatic car washes and the wear and tear that results from aggressive removal of snow and ice build up can cause considerable damage to the wiper arm assembly and blade and negatively impact its performance as the blade loses contact with the windshield.
The old or worn rubber of the blade does not move quietly across the windshield.
Among the choices you have for replacing worn blades, a new hybrid blade has just come on market. Michelin Stealth hybrid wiper blades (www.michelinstealthblade.com), featuring new patent-pending hybrid technology that provides superior contact with the windshield for improved performance, are now available at Costco Canada warehouses.