When it comes to your maintenance routine, you could be overlooking something important right in front of you. Although you spend hours each day looking out of your windshield, windshield wiper maintenance is probably the furthest thing from your mind – until its pouring rain and you’re struggling to see past the smears onto the road ahead.
However, with a little extra attention to your wiper blades, you’ll be looking through a clear windshield for longer, and you’ll know when it’s time for replacement blades before you’re squinting through streaks.
Maintaining Your Current Set of Wiper Blades
Start your windshield wiper maintenance program by taking care of the blades already installed on your rig. Every time you stop to fill your fuel tanks, use a small amount of non-abrasive glass cleaner on a paper towel or sponge to clean the rubber element and remove any loose dirt and grime.
In the winter, it may be tempting to flip on your windshield wipers to clean away the snow and ice while you stay warm and dry in your cab, but your wipers will thank you for using an ice scraper instead. Using your wipers to de-ice your windshield can damage the blade as well as the entire arm and wiper motor.
Inspect your wipers monthly, and if you are stopping into a TA Truck Service facility, have a professional give them a once over.
What to Look for During a Wiper Inspection
A good general rule of thumb is to replace your wiper blades every six months, but if your inspection uncovers any of the following conditions, you may want to purchase a new set sooner.
Sometimes dirty glass can cause wiper blades to streak, but most times the issue is the blade itself. Rubber wiper blades can dry out, becoming hard and cracked – and not very effective at cleaning the windshield. However, the blade rubber could also simply be dirty, with tree sap, road tar or other foreign substances being common culprits for streaking.
As wiper blades age, the wiping edge will round. Once you begin seeing that, it is time to look at replacing them. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can be hard on rubber windshield wiper blades. Couple that aging caused by regular use, and you will likely find splits in your rubber blades, which means they need to be replaced.
When your blades are not in use, they may develop a permanent set or curve in the rubber. As the warped blade passes across the windshield, it makes a chattering sound. If you hear this sound, it is time for a replacement.
Bent Refill or Wiper Frame
Whether you accidentally catch your wiper frame with an ice scraper or a particularly powerful truck wash bends the refill, damage to either of these components warrants a fresh set of wipers. Attempting to refill wiper blades that are already distorted, bent or badly worn can damage the windshield, so it is best to replace the wiper blades completely.
Chips and Cracks
Never let a chip or crack go unfixed. What looks like a small nick can lead to the entire windshield breaking, which can not only be more expensive to fix but extremely dangerous if you’re driving when it shatters. Damaged glass can also cut the rubber wiping element of your wiper blades, causing streaking and poor visibility. Fixing chips and cracks immediately is fast and easy, plus at many TA Truck Service locations, it can be done while you are already in the bay for another service.
When Should You Replace Your Wipers
If you are beginning to see signs of any of the conditions above during your monthly wiper inspection, it is time to think about replacing your wiper blades, before streaking and uneven wiping impairs your visibility making your route unsafe. If you haven’t seen any of the issues above on your rig, but your windshield still isn’t as clear as it could be, keep in mind that could mean the wiper arm spring tension is weak, which would require a professional to change the entire wiper arm assembly.
Whether you need replacement blades or a more in-depth inspection, trust the expert technicians at TA Truck Service to get your truck back up and your windshield clear for miles down the road.