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How Long Do Windshield Wipers Last?

Wiper blades are simple devices that are taken for granted, assuming they’re going to work properly every time you need to clear the windshield. But the moment you can’t see clearly as you drive and the wipers aren’t clearing or keeping up to what’s hitting your windshield, you’ll suddenly realize just how important they are. When was the last time you changed them?

If you search the internet for “How long do wipers last?”, you’ll come across a wide range of answers. Changing them often comes at an expense of around $20 to $30 per blade for most vehicles, and you’d like to avoid the cost if you can. Let’s clear up some important information about wiper blades like signs they need to be changed, factors affecting their lifespan, and ways to extend the life of wiper blades.

Introduction to Wiper Blade Lifespan

It seems pretty handy to keep your windshield clear when you drive, but there are significant safety benefits to wiper blades.

  • They keep your view clear. First and foremost, wipers remove precipitation, dirt, bird droppings, bug guts, and other debris so you can see where you’re going unobstructed.
  • They reduce eye fatigue. Spots on the windshield can draw your eye away from the road, and the fight between downroad visibility and spots on the glass can tire your eyes out.
  • They keep you safer. By removing obstruction in your view, you can more safely maneuver on the road.

Their simplistic design means that there isn’t much that can go wrong with them, but wipers will eventually need to be replaced. The rubber blade edge that contacts the windshield, the frame, and the wiper arm connector can all be weak spots, and factors like regular use, overuse on a dry windshield, and environmental exposure can all take their toll.

Signs Your Wiper Blades Need Replacement

How do you know when your wiper blades need to be changed? Primarily, you’ll notice that they don’t perform as well as they used to. What would once be cleared by a single swipe of the wipers might now take two or three passes to be removed, or it might require a stop at a fuel station to scrub the glass with a squeegee instead.

Common signs that wipers are due for a change include:

  • Swaths of uncleared glass after the wiper goes over it.
  • Streaks that always seem to be in the same place.
  • Smearing instead of clearing.
  • Bits of rubber blade edge hanging loose.
  • Visible cracks or chunks missing from the blade edge.
  • Chattering or screeching as the wipers pass over the glass.

On a visual check, you may notice that the wiper’s hinges don’t move well or the pivot attaching the blade to the wiper arm is tight. Or, there might be metal pieces coming loose from the sides of the wiper blade edge, threatening to scratch the glass.

Factors Affecting Wiper Blade Longevity

Generally, wiper blades tend to last around 12 months in normal conditions. While it might be possible for them to last much longer under certain conditions – even three years or more – it’s a good practice to replace them before they stop working well. And in some areas, that replacement interval could be closer to every six months.

For example, direct exposure to UV rays can cause the rubber edge to dry out and crack. Or, frequent drives in snowy and icy conditions can tear the blade edge, even if it is brand new. Other factors that reduce wiper lifespan include high heat and arid, desert-like weather.

Match your wipers with the conditions you drive in normally. Conventional wiper blades are a fine choice for most temperate climates, but there are better options if your drives take you outside of those normal situations. Consider getting a set of beam-style wipers that are hingeless and conform to the glass well, helping to prevent problems due to ice and corrosion. For winter driving, winter wipers can be the ideal solution to prevent hinges from getting jammed up with ice and snow.

How to Extend the Life of Your Wiper Blades

Want your wiper blades to last longer? A little care goes a long way.

  • Whenever you fuel up, wipe your windshield wiper blade edges with a soft cloth or paper towel wetted with washer fluid to remove crud that builds up.
  • Wash abrasive debris and larger messes from your glass with a squeegee first, avoiding tears on the edges.
  • Park your car out of the sun to prevent UV rays from degrading them.
  • Don’t operate your wipers when the windshield is dry.
  • Allow your icy windshield to thaw before moving the wiper blades in case they’re frozen to the glass. 

Selecting the Right Replacement Wiper Blades

With a range of sizes and styles available, find the right fitment for your car when you’re changing the blades. Measure the blade length or bring in the old parts to match them up at AutoZone. Or, shop online where you’ll find the right selection based on your vehicle build.

Also, be aware that for a majority of models, the driver’s side and passenger side wiper blades are different lengths. The driver’s side is typically longer, providing better visibility where it matters most.

Wiper blades come in various types and materials, each designed to address specific driving conditions. Silicone blades, for instance, offer durability and consistent performance, while hybrid blades combine the benefits of traditional rubber and beam-style blades. Understanding these options allows you to make an informed decision based on your driving habits and local climate.

You’ll always find wiper blades for your car at AutoZone from popular brands like Duralast Gold. And whether you shop online or in-store, we’ll help you get the right fit for your vehicle.

FAQ/People Also Ask

How often should I replace my wiper blades?

For most drivers, replacing the wipers once per year is a good idea.

Can I extend the life of my wiper blades through maintenance?

Cleaning the wiper blades with a soft cloth wetted with washer fluid can keep them in good shape.

What are the signs that my wiper blades are failing?

Streaks on the glass, chattering, bits of rubber hanging from the edge, and visible nicks and cuts in the edge are signs you should change the wipers.

Are there different types of wiper blades, and do they have varied lifespans?

The most common type of wipers have rubber blades, but you may be able to get twice the lifespan with silicone wipers.

How does weather affect the longevity of wiper blades?

Weather tends to make wiper blades deteriorate faster, whether it’s hot, arid weather or cold, icy conditions.

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