The unsung heroes of our cars – they provide safety by providing clear visibility during rain, storms, and fog. Our windshield wipers play a huge role in protecting vehicle occupants. However, because of constant changes in outdoor elements, it deteriorates the rubber and silicone squeegees that make our wipers tick.
But with proper care, the lifespan of our windscreen/windshield wipers would last an average of six to twelve months. The best practice is to do a check-up every six months and replace your windshield wipers once a year. Lack of proper care can cause the wiper squeegees to harden, and sometimes have rust buildup on the wiper arms themselves.
Now, here’s how your wipers deteriorate over time and ways to make sure your wipers stay in tip-top condition.
How Our Window Wipers Deteriorate Overtime
Friction in Motion
Ever wondered how our rubber erasers turn from a rubber brick to a little ball over time? That’s friction in play. Friction is the bane of all wear and tear, especially on rubber surfaces. Friction also generates heat due to the rubber molecules dragging on the surface. This friction turns into energy, and energy turns into heat during this process. That’s how rubber materials, such as the ones on windshield wipers, get worn out after prolonged usage.
The Damages of Sunlight
The process of rubber hardening and crumbling after a prolonged exposure to heat is called Rubber Degradation. This phenomenon is caused by a chain hardening of rubber molecules from sunlight and UV rays. The heat from sunlight dries up any moisture in the rubber squeegee. For a tropical climate like our country, this is a major threat to our windshield wipers as it is mostly sunny in Malaysia.
Read More: How does sunlight harden rubber
Minerals Inside Rainwater
Outdoor elements would really further accelerate the wear and tear of your windshield wipers. If you live near an industrial area, the smog and air pollution accumulated in the region eventually will come back down as acid rain. Cars that are frequently parked outside near industrial areas will eventually have many parts corroded. The acidic chemicals in the rainwater will burn and deteriorate the rubber materials in the squeegee.
How to Preserve and Maintain Wipers
Running Wipers on Dry Windshield
Try not to engage your wipers on a dry windshield. Due to the abrasive nature of rubber and silicone, any slight friction will start wearing out the blades. Furthermore, it makes an awful sound coming from the wipers while driving. At the end of the day, why would you use your wipers during a dry spell anyway?
Use WD40 to Clean Up Wiper Blades
During drives, all sorts of contaminants will accumulate on the windshield wipers. From dust to smog particles, all these will spread on your windshield with a little bit of moisture. A little maintenance with WD40 and dry cloth can help remove residues.
If you had a father that was a handyman at home, you find this iconic blue spray can of lubricant around the house. WD40 has been eponymous everywhere from household to industrial workshops as a jack of all trades lubricant.
Start by spraying some WD40 on the cloth and grasp the wiper blade firmly. Then, wipe all the grime that is sitting on the wiper and squeegee it out. You’ll notice the cloth turns black from all the excess gunk that is sitting on the wiper blades the whole time. In addition, any leftover WD40 left on the wiper blades is now hydrophobic from the lubrication of the WD40
Watch here: How to clean your wiper blades with WD40
Check for Rust and Corrosion on the Wiper Arms, Joints, and Claws
Most automotive manufacturers use aluminum as the industry standard for windshield wipers. While aluminum doesn’t rust easily, it’s still a highly reactive metal. This means that prolonged exposure to UV Rays, acid rain, and other corrosive elements will eventually chew through your windshield wipers just like any other metal over time.
Do check in from time to time on your wiper blades for any paint chipping too. The paint adds another extra layer of protection to the aluminum arms. Get a fresh coat of paint when needed, otherwise, you may have to replace the whole arm due to rust.
Park Your Vehicle in the Shade
If possible, try to keep your car under a shade. Remember when we mentioned the damages sunlight can cause earlier? Parking under the bare tropical heat can accelerate the lifespan of your car wipers. If you work near an industrial area, the acid rain that pours down will also damage any vital part of your wipers.
Before you know it, you’ll also be exposing the metal frame inside the wiper arms that holds the rubber squeegee together; in worst cases, it might even scratch your windshield! So, park your vehicle under a tree, a roof, or a basement. Not only can you keep your vehicle cool, but also protect many vital parts of your car from the elements.
Check-In on Wiper Fluid
Don’t forget the wiper fluid too! Wiper fluids too are essential to keep your car wipers running. Wiper fluids not only help with cleaning your windshield on the road, but it also aids as a lubricant for the motor that keeps the wipers moving.
If you can’t have access to specialized wiper fluid from a hardware store, you can make one at home! All you need is to mix some soap and water, then fill the mixture into the wiper fluid reservoir. It’s that simple.
Watch here: Here’s how to make your own wiper fluid
Where to Buy Replacement Wipers Should You Need Them Changed
Should the day comes when you need to get a pair of new wipers, they are commonly sold in hardware stores and auto accessories shops. Moreover, you can also get them online through Shopee and Lazada if there are no shops in your area. The average cost for a pair of new wipers can be varied depending on size and including labor costs should you decide to get them installed in an auto accessory shop. Just ask the friendly shopkeeper for a price quote.
Read more: Types of Windshield Wipers used in cars.
Taking care of your windshield wiper and car, in general, will benefit you greatly if you intend to sell your car in the future. If you are keen on selling, CARSOME offers the best value for used cars. All you need to do is book an inspection here, attend your inspection and sell your car in just 24 hours*!
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What started off as a simple hobby of collecting die-cast cars grew to become an obsession with the real deal. Dabbled in property for a year before making a career change to follow his passion for cars. Drives a 2016 Nissan Almera daily with dreams of upgrading to a Toyota one day.