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YOU CHANGE YOUR OIL, ROTATE YOUR TIRES, AND KEEP YOUR GAS TANK FULL, BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR WIPER BLADES? HERE’S THE BASICS ON YOUR BLADES AND HOW TO CARE FOR THEM.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your wiper blades are one of the most important safety features in your car, even if they are often overlooked. Proper care and maintenance is easy and cheap.

KEEP THINGS WET

Whether it’s blue, orange or purple, always keep enough anti-freezing wiper fluid in your reservoir. Wipers, even when just clearing leaves or debris from a car that’s been sitting under a tree, should never wipe your windshield without a barrier of liquid – this may lead to scrapes which cause glare from the sun and lights. Never place water in your reservoir. Water is a breeding ground for bacteria and using water has been tied to instances of Legionnaire’s disease.

A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY

Quick, regular maintenance of your windshield and wipers keep your windshield and wipers at their best. Every time you go to the gas station, use the provided squeegee to clean your entire windshield (front and rear) and use a damp paper towel to wipe your blades and to clean out where they rest: this is a prime place for debris to gather, and if it comes up with the wipers when you turn them on, fluid or not, it can lead to scratches. The last thing you should do is run your finger along your wiper blades – if they feel rough or hard, it’s time to replace them. Always replace your wipers in pairs.

BE PREPARED

Windshield wipers are meant for cleaning condensation, light snow or ice, and debris from windshields.Wipers are not meant for removing built up snow and ice. In winter, never turn the wipers on when there is buildup of snow or ice on your windshield. Start the car early and run the defroster (switch your a/c on with the heat – it defrosts faster while warming your car). Only use the wipers to clean off the remaining water – a scraper should be used to speed along removing ice and snow.

ARE YOUR WIPERS SAYING SOMETHING?

Screechy, chattering wiper blades are not just making noise: they are telling you something. And that something is that it’s time to change them. Blades should be replaced every six months – in spring and fall – but that doesn’t mean there’s never a time you may need a change. If you live in an extreme climate, or have a bad winter, your blades may need more frequent changes.

Knowing these simple wiper blade care tips can help you and your car stay safe on the road.

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