If you often drive in wet weather, you know how important it is for the windshield wipers to swipe cleanly. Wiper blades that are functioning properly allow you a much better view of your surroundings, and thus a much safer ride.
You should check your blades at least once a year to see if they need to be replaced, though the time interval between changes will vary depending on environmental conditions. For instance, if you keep your car parked in the hot sun, you will need to change the blades sooner than if the car is often in the garage.
It's possible you do not need to invest in a new pair of blades at all. Your blades may simply need to be cleaned. To check, soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, pull the arm up, and wipe repeatedly along the blade's edge. Squirt fluid on the windshield and use your wipers a few times to see if cleaning the blades worked. If your view is still impaired, proceed with replacement.
If you have decided to replace the blades, your best bet is to make sure you purchase those specifically listed for your vehicle. If the old blades are original, refer to your owner's manual on removal procedures. If your car uses after-market blades, and you are at all unsure how to detach them, have a professional help you. Many auto parts stores offer complimentary installation with a blade purchase.
Note that the detachment device on the old wiper may not match the new one since the detachments vary by manufacturer. Some manufacturers even have different detachments for the same make and model of car, depending on if the blades are base, medium, or premium.
Whether you are replacing the blades yourself or watching a professional, listen for an audible click when the retention device is engaged. At this point the blades should be firmly in place. Verify this by making sure you can't pull the blade from the wiper arm. Once the new blade is installed, operate the washers and wipers together to confirm they clear off the windshield well and don't make contact with the windshield's frame.
To prolong the life of your new wipers and to protect the wiper motor and linkage, do not use your wipers to clear heavy snow from the windshield. Instead, use your hand or a windshield brush. Also, do not operate wipers if they are frozen to your windshield. Run the car windshield defroster to loosen frozen wipers. Brushing and defrosting your windshield first may take a little more time, but may save you from an expensive repair later.
Checking your wipers once a year is essential to a safe ride. Your front and rear blades may simply need a quick cleaning, or they may need to be replaced altogether. If you are unsure how to switch them out yourself, don't hesitate to have an automotive professional like Dugan Oil and Tire help you. Taking care of your blades will provide you with the best possible view of the road ahead.