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What Size Windshield Wipers Do I Need? Types, Replacements & Maintance

man holding windshield wipers

Since they provide visibility through rain, snow, and dust, your windshield wipers are a critical safety component of your vehicle. Keeping them in excellent condition is an essential maintenance task, and it could determine whether or not you can drive in bad weather.

With the abuse they see in everyday exposure to the elements, your windshield wipers will degrade over time and need replacement. They come in several lengths, widths, and shapes so you can find the perfect fit for your vehicle’s unique design. To help you find the right product the first time, we’ll explain how to find the windshield wiper size you need for your car.

car and road divider

What Size Windshield Wipers Do I Need?

Finding the correct windshield wiper size for your vehicle is as easy as searching online. Many online auto part retailers let you search by your vehicle’s year, make, and model or VIN to find matching sizes and specific products.

Your vehicle’s manual will have information on your windshield wiper blade size when you can’t find answers online. Measuring your current windshield wipers is also a surefire way to ensure you attach the appropriate size. When all else fails, visit your local auto parts store or auto technician for help selecting the proper windshield wiper.

Some vehicles use different lengths for the driver’s side and passenger side wipers. It’s critical to take this into account when selecting and replacing them.

red car with a windshield wiper
Image Credit: max tokarev, Unsplash

What Happens If I Choose the Wrong Size?

Installing windshield wipers that are the wrong size can cause several problems. If the blades are too long, they can bump into each during operation or hit the trim around the windshield, causing damage to the wipers and the body of the car. Hang-ups and friction as they run into obstructions will also cause the wiper motor to wear down.

Wipers that are too long or too small can both cause visibility issues. When they are too small, they won’t clear enough of your field of vision. If they’re too big, your wipers won’t conform to the shape of your windshield and will likely leave bare, unwiped patches that limit your line of sight.

Types of Windshield Wiper Blades

The most common wiper design on older vehicles is a traditional frame style. It incorporates an arched metal bridge that holds a flat strip of rubber. Several flexors connect the rubber to the bridge, allowing the rubber to flex and conform to the windshield without losing rigidity. These are the most inexpensive types of wipers and typically the shortest-lived options.

Flat wipers, or beam wiper blades, are the standard for modern vehicles. These feature a solid rubber strip on a metal beam that conforms to the shape of your windshield, applying even pressure for a streak-free view. A built-in spoiler reduces noise and uses air to add pressure, preventing separation at high speeds. Although they are more expensive than traditional blades, beam wipers offer superior performance and a longer lifespan.

The most expensive options are winter windshield wipers. These wipers are covered in a heavy-duty plastic or rubber seal to prevent ice and water from causing them to jam. It isn’t the most attractive wiper to use, but if you deal with intense ice and snow, it will give you better performance than anything else.

man driving car
Image Credit: Piqsels

How Often Should I Replace Windshield Wipers?

When your windshield wipers start sticking, streaking, or screeching, it’s time to swap them out. It’s crucial to change them as soon as you start having issues, as they could drastically reduce visibility during the next rainstorm.

Windshield wipers last 6–12 months, though it can vary depending on where you live, how you use your car, and how you store it. Check your windshield wiper regularly for damage that might warrant a replacement.

car and road divider

How to Maintain Windshield Wipers

Exposure to UV rays and abrasive elements will degrade the rubber on your windshield wipers. Over time, materials like sand, dust, and dead bugs on the windshield will erode the wiper’s blade.

Check your wiper blades and windshield frequently to see if they need cleaning. Keeping the windshield clean and smooth and the squeegees flexible will ensure you get the longest use from them.

Clean Your Windshield

Clean your windshield with an ammonia-free glass cleaner or a DIY recipe of 10% vinegar and 90% water. Before spraying your cleaner, you may need a scraper or mesh scrubber to remove stuck-on bugs and other grime. After removing the chunks of debris, spray your cleaning solution on the glass and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth until it’s clear.

man checking wiper blade
Image Credit By: blade_My Photo by me, Shutterstock

Clean Your Windshield Wipers

Your windshield wiper blades will also need regular maintenance if you want them to last. UV rays and dirt can dry out the rubber, making it rigid, brittle, and prone to breakage. Clean your wiper with warm water, or use a mild detergent or diluted alcohol if they are extra dirty. Rinse thoroughly with water after using a cleaner on your squeegees to avoid damaging your car’s paint.

Run your windshield wipers on occasion, even if it isn’t raining. The rubber has to flex back and forth as it swishes from one side to the other, and if it goes for long periods without use, it can get stuck on one side. That can cause it to skip as it drags in the wrong direction, leaving choppy streaks on the windshield.

car and road divider

Final Thoughts

When your windshield wipers are worn down and depleted, promptly changing them is critical to ensure your safety on the road. It’s easy to find appropriate blade sizes by checking online services or your vehicle’s manual. Pay close attention to the size and blade style your vehicle uses, and you’ll have no problem restoring that reassuring swish to your wipers.

Featured Image Credit: admin_design, Shutterstock


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