Old and Worn Wipers and Your Windscreen
We rarely use them every day, so unless you make a point of checking your windscreen wipers whenever you wash your car, you might not notice them ageing and becoming worn and damaged. And being completely exposed to the elements, windscreen wipers do become damaged and worn, and the harsher the climate where you live, the faster this happens. Generally, it is recommended to replace your windscreen wipers every 12 months, but in some areas, you might need to do this every 6 months.
What Happens When Windscreen Wipers Age?
Windscreen wipers consist of three main components, the wiper arm, the wiper blade, and the wiper, and while it is usually the wiper that you would replace every 6 to 12 months, all three components can be damaged over time.
The wiper is the rubber – or silicon – section that is in contact with the windscreen and is responsible for clearing water and debris from your windscreen. While silicon is more durable than rubber, both types of wipers will start to crack, warp, and even harden as they age. This is noticeable once your wipers become less effective at clearing water or debris off the windscreen, missing sections, skipping across the glass, and sometimes screeching or squeaking as they move across your windscreen.
Damage to the wiper arm and wiper blade is less common, but still possible. Usually made of metal, they can rust, bend or break, and come lose, eventually no longer holding the wiper securely in place.
The Danger of Old and Worn Windscreen Wipers
The danger of old and worn windscreen wipers is twofold. The first is that they no longer work effectively when you are driving in the rain, making it difficult for you to see the road ahead clearly and putting you and other road users at risk.
The other danger is from damaged wiper arms and wiper blades coming into contact with the windscreen glass and slowly scratching the glass every time they wipers are used. Do nothing about this and eventually you won’t be able to see clearly through your windscreen, even when it isn’t raining. Additionally, deeper scratches can affect the structural integrity of your windscreen, making it less effective at keeping you safe when driving.
What to Do About Damage Caused by Windscreen Wipers
If your windscreen wipers have damaged your windscreen, the first action to take is getting the wipers replaced. Replacing the wipers is a relatively simple task that anyone, even someone who doesn’t consider themselves as technically skilled, can carry out in minutes. But while replacing the wiper arm or wiper blade requires a little more effort, it is something you should have no difficulty doing yourself; just make sure you always buy the correct part, and follow the instructions included. Alternatively, you can get a technician to take care of the replacement for you.
Once you’re sure your windscreen wipers are working effectively again and not damaging the windscreen in any way, you need to have the actual damage to the windscreen assessed and repaired. Avoid trying to do this yourself and you could end up making things worse, needing to replace rather than repair the windscreen. Professional auto glass technicians will be able to assess the severity of the damage and the best method to repair it. For light, surface scratches, a little bit of buffing might be all that is needed, while for deeper scratches a special resin will be used, much in the same way windscreen chips are sometimes repaired. But as with any windscreen damage, the sooner you have it looked at the better the chances of a repair rather than replacement.