If you want to be able to see clearly while you are driving down the road, then it is a good idea to take good care of your windshield wipers. Your windshield wipers are going to need to be cleaned and maintained over time to avoid certain problems. If you neglect your wipers, then it is very likely that you will encounter certain problems. Thankfully, the process of cleaning the wipers is very easy, and anyone is going to be able to do this.
In this article, I am going to be talking about how to go about cleaning your windshield wipers. I will also discuss how you can recondition your wiper blades to make things as easy as possible. All of this information is going to come in handy. You will be able to refer to this guide if you are unsure of what to do and will stay safer on the road because of it.
Wiper Cleaning Tips
Cleaning your wiper blades will be a very simple thing to do. You want to take the time to do this every so often to avoid having your wiper blades leave streaks on your windshield. Wiper blades that are not clean are not going to work well, even if you spray a bunch of wiper fluid. You need to get in there and clean them off properly.
Preparing to Clean Your Wiper Blades
To do this, you simply need to grab a few common supplies. You will need a few washcloths or a roll of paper towels. You should also get a bucket of hot soapy water as well as some rubbing alcohol. Once you have all of these, you will be ready to start cleaning.
In addition, you may want to consider washing your car ahead of cleaning the blades. It can help you to avoid getting more dirt or grime on your nice clean wiper blades. Take your car to an automatic car wash, or give it a good cleaning yourself. It won’t take long, and it is a task that pairs nicely with cleaning your blades.
Start the Cleaning Process
To start cleaning your wiper blades, you just need to lift your wiper blades away from the windshield. Use some of your hot soapy water to start wiping down the edges of your wiper blades. Try to wipe the blades down as thoroughly as you can. It will likely take several times of wiping to remove all of the built-up grime.
You should also go ahead and wipe down the hinged areas of your wiper blades. It will not take too long to do this, and it is just good to eliminate all of the dirt that you can from your car. A little bit of soapy water and one of your clean rags will do the trick.
Now grab your rubbing alcohol, and use it to wipe the edge of the wiper blade. Use a fresh rag or paper towel for this part. The purpose of this is to remove any soapy residue that may be lingering from the cleaning process. It will ensure that the rubber on your wiper blades is completely clean and ready to start being used again.
How Often Should You Clean Your Wiper Blades?
Knowing how often you should clean your wiper blades will be very beneficial. For the best results, you should clean your wiper blades once every month. It keeps the dirt or grime from building up too much. You will be able to rely on your wiper blades when you truly need them, and it will be a better overall situation.
You should also know that experts recommend that you change your wiper blades either every six months or every year. This depends on the type of wiper blades that you are using as well as other factors. Your wiper blades do have a shelf life and will wear down over time. Even so, the cleaning process and the restoration that I will discuss later can help to extend the life of your blades a good bit.
Restoring Wiper Blades When the Rubber Hardens
It is important to understand how to go about restoring your wiper blades when the rubber has hardened. This is going to be a good thing to do that will let you keep using the blades for a bit longer. Hard rubber is really going to make it so that your wiper blades won’t work well at all. Luckily, it is possible to soften the rubber so that it can work as it was originally intended.
Softening the rubber is not going to be difficult at all. You just need to grab a few washcloths, some petroleum jelly, and a bottle of vinegar. Once you have these items, you will be ready to get started.
Softening the Rubber
Grab the necessary items, and then lift your wiper blades away from the windshield. Apply a little bit of vinegar to your washcloth, and wipe it along the length of your wiper blades. Two or three gentle passes should be enough to allow the rubber to soak up the vinegar. Now you want to grab another washcloth and wet it down with some water.
Using the new washcloth with water on it, you need to wipe the length of your wiper blades again. The purpose of this is to remove any excess vinegar. With this done, you can grab a dry washcloth. Now you need to dry the wiper blades as gently as you can.
The next step involves using the petroleum jelly. You want to apply some of this petroleum jelly to a cloth and wipe it along the rubber parts of your wiper blades. Try to ensure that the rubber soaks up the petroleum jelly properly. You want to let the petroleum jelly dry naturally using the air, so step away once you are finished.
You can now lower your wiper arms and the rubber of the blades should be softened. This will allow the wiper blades to work much better than they did when the rubber was hard. You should be prepared for rain, and it will be much easier to see while driving.
General Wiper Blade Maintenance Tips
Now that you know how to clean your wiper blades, it is a good idea to look into some general maintenance tips. This is going to help you solve some common problems that people encounter with their wiper blades. If you can fix these issues, then it will really improve your time on the road. You will find that these fixes are pretty easy, and you do not have to be a car buff to be able to make use of them.
How to Fix Chattering Wipers
Have you ever heard your wiper blades chattering against your windshield while you are driving down the road? This can be a bit of an annoyance and is also bad for your wipers. When they are making noises like this, it means that they are not working properly. Chattering wiper blades will leave streaks and are generally going to be inefficient.
Luckily, this can often be fixed by using the cleaning methods above. Try cleaning your blades to see if it fixes the problem. If that doesn’t work, then you are likely dealing with a bent wiper blade arm. You can determine if this is the case by examining the blades while they are in motion.
Bring the wiper blade up until it is in the middle of its stroke. Now take a look at the blades to see how the blade arms are positioned. The arm should be parallel to the glass and the blades themselves should be touching the windshield. If it is in a different position, then you are going to need to bend it back into place.
This can be accomplished by using a simple pair of pliers. You need to carefully use your pliers to give the arm a twist and get it back to the recommended parallel position. Once this is accomplished, your chattering problems should be a thing of the past. There could be other causes for the chattering, but this is the most common fix.
Avoid Using Wiper Blades to Clear Ice
If you live in a place that gets regular snowfall during the winter, then you likely know what it is like to have your wiper blades frozen. Many people wind up clearing the ice just enough to use the wiper blades in an attempt to clear the windshield. Ice is actually really bad for your wipers. You should do your best to clear your windshield yourself using a traditional ice scraper and good windshield de-icer.
The best thing to do is to make use of your car’s defrost setting. This will heat things up, and it will make it easier to clear the ice away manually. You do not want to try to force your wipers to do this work. You also want to remove all ice from your wipers during the winter months. Don’t let your wipers stay caked with ice chunks, or they are not going to last you very long.
Try to Keep Your Wiper Blades out of the Sun
It is also beneficial to try to keep your wiper blades out of the sun. Many people do not realize how damaging the sun can be for wiper blades. In particularly hot areas, the sun is going to cause wiper blades to dry out and crack. This can be prevented by being smart about where you are parking your vehicle.
When possible, it is a good idea to park your car in the garage. If you do not have a garage, then parking in some type of shady spot is going to be the next best thing. It can protect your windshield wipers a bit, allowing them to remain usable for longer. Try to be mindful of this when going out shopping, too, and pick your parking spots accordingly.
Refill Your Fluid Often
It is also important to remember to refill your fluid often. This may not be something that you are physically doing to the wiper blades, but it is important for their operation. If you wind up not having wiper fluid, then you will not be able to use the wiper blades properly. When your car gets splashed with muck from the road, you need that fluid to wipe things away neatly.
Take the time to check your wiper fluid as often as you can. You should always go ahead and refill it if it looks low. In addition, you want to make sure that you are using the proper mixture for the current weather conditions. You need to have the right ratio of antifreeze and wiper fluid.
As long as you are proactive about this, you can avoid many problems. It is simply something to keep in mind when you are looking to take care of your wiper blade situation.
Change Your Blades When Necessary
All of the tips that I have listed above will be very helpful. Even so, you are going to have to change out your wiper blades when necessary. No wiper blades are going to last forever, even when they are made very well. It is important to change out your wiper blades every six months or at least once per year.
You can use the above tips to keep your wiper blades working well during that period of time. The methods can even extend the life of your wiper blades somewhat. Just know that you are going to need to replace them eventually. Try not to wait too long to change your blades so that you can avoid any potential problems.
As long as you make use of the above advice properly, you will be in good shape. It is going to be far easier to maintain good visibility while out on the road. You will be ready to deal with significant rainfall and won’t have to fret about anything. Just be reasonable about your expectations, and commit to checking on your wiper blades every month to keep them in the best shape possible.
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