3 Ways to Get More Action Out of Your Windshield Wipers

Defrosting Windshield Wipers on a Car
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If your windshield wipers aren't working properly, don't throw them out and replace them just yet. First, try our three hacks to make your wipers work like new. While there was a time not so long ago that you could buy a new set of wipers for under $10, these days you can easily drop $40 or more on replacement wiper units. That isn’t exactly chump change for many of us. Even if it is, why not put it to better use, especially when there's a chance you can get extra life out of your old pair?

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Keep Your Windshield Clean

Young man washing car, view through window
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Have you ever accidentally hit your wiper switch and watched your wipers scrape their way across a dirty, dry windshield? Do that often enough, or use your wipers and fluid to "clean" your windows of dust and stuck-on bugs, and all that grit will eventually wear away at the soft rubber that your wiper blades are made of. The best way to ensure the long life of your wipers is to wash your windshield on a regular basis. You can do this every time you stop to gas up, or by running your vehicle through your local car wash once every couple weeks—more often if you live in a windy climate. Repairing windshield chips can help, too. 

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Deice the Proper Way

Man cleaning snow from car's windshield during winter
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If you're one of those people who regularly clears the frost or ice off your front window by turning on the defroster and then running your windshield wipers, stop. A couple of passes with your wipers and you may very well have torn a few notches into the soft rubber of your wiping surfaces. As your vehicle sits overnight, even a small amount of moisture can freeze into a jagged bump on your windscreen and play havoc with your wipers. Instead, deice your windows by using a heavy duty scraper or by employing a variety of other effective methods. And make sure to clear your wiper blades of any frozen stuff as well. They should be completely free of snow, ice, and dirt before you use them. 

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Clean Your Wipers on a Regular Basis

cruising at 75 mph in a red convertible sports car
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As your wipers wear, they shed a fine powder of rubber that eventually collects on the cleaning surface. As more and more of this rubber sticks to and builds up along the wiper, dulling the formerly crisp edges, the more ineffective the wipers become. The worse this problem is, the bigger the smear factor when you flick your wiper switch.

Luckily, a good clean will take care of the problem—and it's easy to do to boot. Take a clean cloth, or even a paper towel, and wet it well with water or window cleaning solution. Run the wet cloth back and forth across the scraping edge of your windshield wipers. Be gentle so you don't risk tearing the rubber. Keep rubbing back and forth six or seven times, until you feel you've smoothed out the edge nicely. If you see a lot of black gunk on your cloth, you know you are accomplishing your goal. Don't keep rubbing until you come up with a clean cloth, though, because it will likely never happen—and then you'll have no wiper edge left at all left when you're done.