When it comes to driving, there are tons of micro-details that affect your overall safety and security – everything from tire pressure to mirror placements to air and heat flow and, of course, the quality and current status of your windshield wipers. If you’re in a dry climate without much variation in weather, it can be easy to forget to maintain these little lifesavers. You may only use them once every week or so to clear off dirt or to clear away the stubborn collection of bug remains (for longer distances, that is). So what is the deal with windshield wipers? Do you use them until they don’t work anymore? Do you have to wait until you’re stuck in a snowstorm and you’re left to attempt to peer through the smudgy windshield until you can get some replacements? Maintenance & Upkeep Safe driving is a checklist of many things, but at the top of the list is how well you can see. In fact, about 90% of the decisions you make while driving are determined by visual clues. Now compound that with how many micro-decisions you’re expected to make every second when you’re in a busy intersection in the city. The point is that without visual cues, you’re at a higher risk of an accident. You should always be aware of the state of your windshield wipers, even if you aren’t in the habit of using them consistently. Give them a quick check once every month, along with having the professionals at Pro Auto Care check them out during routine maintenance. A second pair of trustworthy eyes never hurts when it concerns your ability to see through the window to your vehicle. Additionally, get in the habit of wiping down the rubber portion of your windshield wipers, as well as your windshield, when you stop to get gas. This is more important during longer road trips, but is still a good idea for shorter, run-of-the-mill trips, too. Lifespan The length of time your wipers will last is dependent on a number of things, the most important being the type of weather you drive through on a daily basis, and the type of windshield wipers you opt for. For example, wipers with blades made from silicone will generally last longer than those made of rubber. Those used several times per week will generally last longer than those that are used once or twice a week. Some windshield wiper manufacturers claim that their products can last for years, but most mechanics recommend that they be replaced anywhere from six months to one year. Always be aware, however, of how the wipers continue to progress when you use them. Are they streaking? Then you may need to clean them off. Just cleaned them and they’re still streaky? Time to replace. Also note that your wiper blades will be impacted by ice buildup on your windshield if you don’t take the time to scrape ice off before running them. Continually running them too much will lessen their lifespan significantly. Keep in mind, though, that there are average types of blades for everyday use during the calmer seasons, like summer and fall, and there are thicker, more protective ones that are designed to keep snow off the windshield during the winter and early spring months. It is always an option to switch between the two, taking care to keep them stored in a safe, dry place, and alternate between seasons. Don’t Forget the Fluid Windshield wiper fluid can be just as important as the blades themselves. It will help to keep your windshield from streaking too much, and can also be dabbed onto a paper towel or a rag and used to manually wipe off the blades to keep them clean and lasting longer. If streaks continue to appear even after using what feels like an exorbitant amount of wiper fluid, it could mean that either your blades or windshield are too dirty, the wipers are too old, or you need to invest in some higher quality cleaning fluid. Any problems that may arise concerning windshield washer fluid could be caused either by a malfunctioning fluid pump, a leak in a tube or the tank, or a clogged spray nozzle. If you feel like you might need to have yours checked out, give us a shout! We’re always here to help.