It's usually a bad thing to find out your windshield wipers need replaced during the first snowfall of the season. Or when your windows end up streaking and you can't get the mud off. Or you get that one annoying streak right in your line of vision!
This article will explain the different types of blades and how to choose the right one to fit your needs.
First and foremost, always use the wiper blade size recommended by your owners manual for your vehicle. Failure to do this could mean the wiper blades you buy will not fit, or that performance will drop off very quickly. If for some reason you lose your owners manual, sites like autozone.com and advancements.com have search engines that will help you find the right blade for your car. Typically, the driver side wiper blade will be longer than the passenger side.
Along with the point above, most car companies and repair shops suggest replacing your wiper blades every 6 to 12 months, regardless of quality. If you inspect your wiper blades and see cracks, tears, or dryness, or if you start seeing excessive streaking during use, it's probably time to replace them. This can usually be done during your oil change, and some auto part stores will even install them for free if you buy them from there. Also, once you buy the actual "blade", many of them have refills that you can simply slide into it; no need to turn around and buy the assembly again. This will also save you money.
You also need to pay attention to what style of wiper arm you have. There are many, many different ones to include: hook-slot connector, pin-type arm, wide-straight end, narrow-straight end, side saddle, pin-type blade, narrow-dead locker, flat hook and rock to lock. Generally speaking, most of today's wiper blades that are sold have connections for both, but it is still a good idea to make sure the wiper blades you buy do indeed have those adapters.
Secondly, like most things, you will get what you pay for. If you buy that $2 wiper blade, sure it will be serviceable. It is also much more likely to dry up quicker, rendering it useless, as well as falling apart due to the lack of quality. But that doesn't mean you need to pay $20 per wiper blade either.
Finally, a word on double and triple edge wiper blades. You've all seen the commercials on these, which show allegedly better performance. But generally speaking, a quality single edge wiper blade will do the same job for less money. If you drive in conditions that generate a lot of mud/debris on your windshields, then these would definitely merit a consideration.
So, know your wiper blade size, know that the quality of wiper blade you buy will translate into how long it will last, and a single edge blade can be every bit as effective as more expensive double and triple edge blades. And you can ensure your car is safely prepared to deal with any rain, mud, snow or ice you may encounter in your travels.
Use this wiper blade size chart to get the right size blades for popular models from Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford and Honda sold in the United States.
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