When Should You Replace Your Wiper Blades?

Wiper blades cleaning vehicle window

It’s raining. You flick your windshield wiper switch and instead of a clean sweep, you get streaks, squeaks or jumps and two precise brown half moons with threads of dirt dribbling across the glass. What is clear, however, is that your wiper blades have no business being on your window anymore: They don’t work and you can’t see.

When should you replace your wiper blades so you don’t find yourself in this situation?

A great rule of thumb is to inspect them every six months (some drivers find it easy to remember to do this along with winter tire changeover), and change them if necessary at that time, or the next six-month interval. In short, at least once a year.

If it feels like that’s just one more thing to remember, your windshield wipers will easily tell you themselves when they need to be replaced. Here are the signs it’s time to replace your wiper blades.

The 5 ‘S’s’ of Windshield Wiper Blades

Streaking

Your wipers are acting like a paintbrush with missing bristles: only every other horizontal line is being swept clean.

wiper blades streaking


Splitting

Large sections of worn rubber mean your wipers are missing several large chunks when they swipe.

wiper blades splitting

Skipping

Skipping is like streaking, except it cleans only every other vertical line.

wiper blades skipping

Scraping

Some drivers liken this sound to fingernails on chalk. It could mean you have a broken frame, which is leading to the metal parts actually scraping the glass (very bad, for both visibility and the glass). Have your wipers changed immediately.

wiper blades scraping

Squeaking

When the rubber squeaks against the glass in the way only worn wiper blades can, it’s a sure sign they need to be taken off.

wiper blades squeaking

As soon as you see any kind of change in your driving visibility, it means your wiper blades aren’t contacting the windshield surface properly, and you need to have your wiper blades replaced.

So many of your driving decisions are based on what you can see. For about $20 and a few minutes of your time, you can help prevent a collision with effective wiper blades.

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