Who can say they never wished for a wind-shield wiper on the side windows? To enjoy the view when your windows are dirty, to see traffic well in side-blowing rain or to get a good image of the mirror.

That’s the thing – we need the wipers not only in rain (or other precipitations for that matter) but also when it’s hot and dry and the wind-shield is covered in dust, mud or some dead bugs that got splattered on the glass. Our sight outside the car is both imperative for the drive safety and about the most enjoyable part of the trip. And yet we don’t give much notice to the wipers, how old are they and when should we get new ones.

A wiper gets the full blow of the elements and is built to withstand the frizzing cold and the scorching heat, but the worse the conditions – the shorter you can expect it to survive. A variety of wipers and blades are out there, from different manufacturers and materials and so some will last more then others, and probably cost more too. It is said that a blade should last about a year but it greatly differs according to the weather, in any case one should not skimp on a couple of dollars every year! or you will find yourself staring through a stripy glass pain.

On that point – buying new blades – we should elaborate. The cracks in the old rubber will eventually produce unwiped lines on the glass and will continue to deteriorate as so much as the rubber will break of in chunks. A wiper is meant to clean your wind-shield, when it no longer does it in a good way – it’s time to say your goodbyes. New wipers (rubber and mount) come in many sizes – just pick the right one by comparison to the old one (or by car model) and change. The change is pretty simple after you get the idea, check this clip for some pointers Replacing a wind-shield wiper.

Some good to know info on those hard working arms –

Squeaking sounds when operating them on a “not wet enough” window are normal.

In some states they are checked in your car’s yearly DMV approval test – make sure you don’t give them a reason to fail you.

Yes, a wiper with no rubber going on will damage your glass with (at least) a deep and visible scratch, don’t do it.

One recommendation is not letting the wipers be under cover of snow – that could damage them and if the snow is heavy enough even damage the mechanism itself. Some wiper fluids are suppose to help braking ice formed on the glass.

Just don’t forget to put them back after you clear the snow

Ever wondered what’s that plastic surface some cars have on the driver-side wiper? at high speeds the wind prevents the wiper from touching the glass rendering it ineffective, the added surface applies a force (from the wind) that makes the wiper touch and clean. Why just on the driver-side? the location of the driver-side wiper is smack in the middle of the pain and so it gets all the wind force, for that reason the other one is less susceptible to that problem.

Wind deflector / wiper force applier