If you are reading this post, then you must be asking the question “how often you should change your wiper blades?”
This very important question is often times neglected and is why wiper blades are the least thought of maintenance item during routine check-ups.
Too many times people wait until their wiper blades are virtually useless before they end up buying a replacement pair. To be honest, I’ve done it myself! I drove with the same set of wiper blades in college all 4 years, and I live in one of the snowiest cities in the United States. I remember when it would snow, I would only be able to see out of certain patches on the windshield, but I was so used to it that it never crossed my mind that maybe I should just buy new wiper blades.
It wasn’t until shortly after college that I was hired by RainEater wiper blades and given a free set of wiper blades that I realized what I had been missing. The experience was like putting on glasses for the first time. I could not believe how clear I could see and how well they performed. I’ve been a big fan of a routine wiper blade replacement ever since, and of course, my go-to blade is RainEater’s Element Wiper Blade.
So, exactly how often should you change your wiper blades? Does it depend on the blade, the brand, the materials, and the climate? Yes to all the above; all are important when considering how often you should change your blades. In this post, we are going look at each element to determine how often you should change your wiper blades.
What do the Manufacturers Recommend?
Most manufacturers recommend changing your wipers every 6 months to a year, or a soon as you see any visible signs of wear or tear.
Common signs would be:
- Broken frame or adapter – detachment of frame arms at joints or connection points, and/or broken pieces where the wiper arm attaches to the blade.
- Metal corrosion – especially at joints and claws on traditional wiper blades.
- Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces on the rubbers edge.
- Is the rubber still flexible? Aged rubber will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and creates streaks and squeaks.
- Check wiping edge for rounded edges which can prevent the wiper blade from making strong contact with the windshield and reduces wipe quality.
- Tug to ensure wiper blade has been securely installed on the wiper arm.
- Check that the rubber is secure in the wiper frame and not “pealing” in any way.
Most manufacturers do recommend the 6 month to 1-year timeline due to the number of failure points wiper blades can have. And before you think “I don’t live in a snowy climate so mine should last a lot longer”, think again! The suns UV rays have the same if not more amount of ware on your wipers rubber quality than any kind of weather. So unless your car is parked inside a garage year round, your wipers are wearing out sooner than you’d think!
Which Blades Last the Longest?
As technology advances, wiper blades are becoming more durable with every new feature.
Traditional wiper blades (both summer and winter) wear out much quicker than modern wiper blades. This is due mainly to design flaws. Traditional wipers have many moving points, hinges, arms, exposed steel, and cheap rubber that tend to wear out much quicker.
Traditional wipers are definitely recommended to change out every 6 months to a year.
Hybrid wiper blades are one step up from the traditional wiper blade. Hybrid blades essentially use the same frame technology as a traditional blade, but they have integrated a hard plastic spoiler for more durability in harsh weather.
This spoiler does protect the blade from the suns UV rays! Believe it or not, this hard plastic makes the cheaper blended rubber actually last up to 39% longer than traditional blades.
Most hybrid blades are seen making it to the 1 year mark relatively easily and still in good working condition. However, it is still recommended to replace hybrid blades every 6 months to a year to avoid any possible defects.
Beam or frameless wiper blades are the latest in wiper blade technology. Beam blades were designed to eliminate the traditional frame and all its exposed parts and replace them with one solid piece of anti-rust metal.
The new metal “frame” has a natural curve that conforms to the windshield without the use of wiper arms or hinges. This virtually removes any chances for the weather to damage any exposed parts that jeopardize the wipers performance.
Like the hybrid wiper, beam blades have a spoiler that covers the wiper blade protecting it for weather and UV rays. The spoilers also act as a performance feature to help keep the wiper blade down on the windshield during driving.
Most beam blades use synthetic rubber blends which are recorded to last up to 60% longer than traditional blades. Beam blades have been seen to easily last a year, and sometimes even multiple years.
However, it is still recommended to replace beam blades yearly to avoid any possible defects.
Which Brand Wiper Blades Last the Longest?
Well, this isn’t going to be biased at all 🙂
In all seriousness, many brands create excellent wipers that last and perform very well in all weather conditions. In order to properly answer this question, we need to look at the primary purpose of the brand names and the models that they create.
Almost every wiper company has multiple “wiper models” that they create. Some models are on the cheaper end and are normally advertised as such. Other models are normally priced higher but offer top-quality performance in all conditions.
So… if a brand does not offer a top-quality or premium blade, then most likely it will not keep up with the other brand’s powerhouses. You must pay attention to which brand and quality wiper you are buying. If you are buying a standard priced model, be prepared to replace it yearly as the manufacturer recommends. If you buy a premium model, you may be able to wait longer, but please check for signs of wear and tear regularly after the 1-year mark.
Sometimes the manufacturer will advertise the purpose of their model which can really help you decide on the longest lasting blade. Some models are made for the harshest of weathers, and those brands are typically the longest lasting.
For example, RainEater’s Element wiper blades were originally designed for the aerospace industry, and for professional storm chasers. If the wipers were designed to withstand 100+ miles per hour winds and freezing cold storms, then most likely they will have the durability to last long out on the road 🙂
Longest Lasting Materials
Traditional rubber, which is still the most popular used rubber on wiper blades due to the cost, lasts the least amount of time. Natural rubber wears quickly in freezing cold climates, hot climates, UV rays, mold and mildew, and friction.
Synthetic rubber lasts much longer due to its resistance to heat, cold, UV, molds and mildew, and friction.
However, silicone lasts the longest. Silicone has the highest resistance to heat, cold, UV, molds and mildew, and friction.
Silicone does have a few drawbacks, and that is why we choose to not make our blades with Silicone. Although Silicone has the most resistance to wear and tear, silicone does not always perform the best in harsh conditions. Synthetic rubber is much more pliable in cold temperatures, giving it better performance, and preventing it from tearing. Silicone also leaves a thin film on the windshield that can sometimes be distracting to drivers.
All in all, if you are looking for the straight up longest lasting material, silicone would win the competition.
Natural rubber blades are recommended to be changed every 6 months.
Synthetic rubber blades are recommended at least yearly, or longer but watch for signs of wear and tear.
Silicone blades are recommended to be changed yearly to prevent possible defects.
Harshest Climate to Live in
Like I kind of hinted at before, the sun has the same if not a worse impact on your blades longevity than harsh weather climates.
Areas that are primarily sunny will experience extreme UV deterioration, even with synthetic and silicone resistance.
The recommended changing of 1 year is put in place to prevent any deterioration to actually become noticeable and affect performance.
Extreme weather climates have a higher risk of damage than hot climates due to ice buildup, wind, heavy rain, rocks, and so on… Once again, the recommended time period of about 6 months to a year is recommended in these climates to avoid possible defects.
How Can You Make Your Blades Last Longer?
Here are a few simple tricks that can help your blades last longer.
- Clean your windshield regularly – cleaning your windshield can remove harmful debris that can potentially damage the rubber of the blade, and or provide higher friction building and wear and tear.
- Use rubbing alcohol to “re-activate” the rubber on your blades to give them new life! This technique can release firm rubber and allow it to properly bend and wipe as intended. This can help your rubber last longer and perform better.
- Park in the shade – Avoid the sun at all costs! The sun isn’t just hard on your wipers. It can wear out other features on your car as well such as… steering wheel, dash, seats, paint, and so on…
- Clean off your wipers before use – If you live in a snowy climate, make sure you properly clean your windshield and wipers off before use. This can prevent unnecessary pressure or force that could potentially break your blade.
Let’s Wrap This Up
In conclusion, you should replace your wiper blades every 6 months to a year. Depending on the quality or type, you may wait longer, but please check for signs of wear or tear regularly.
If you are interested in trying out raineater wipers, check out our sick deals here!