Proper winter wiper blade care will ensure that you don’t end up replacing your wipers again and again over the course of the winter season. Cold temperatures and harsh driving conditions are rough on the lifespan of winter wipers, but if you follow the right steps, you can go a long way toward getting the most value — and the safest level of driving — from the set installed on your car.
Choose the Right Blades
Proper winter wiper blade care won’t get you far if you don’t start with the right set of blades in the first place. Winter-specific wipers often use a covered-frame construction, which keeps ice from building up inside the frame and interfering with proper operation. Both frameless and framed blades, however, employ a different type of rubber for winter than summer — one that is resistant to freezing and won’t stiffen up in cold weather. You’ll see why this is important in a moment.
Don’t Let Them Freeze
The easiest way to damage a wiper blade is tearing, and in the winter most tears occur when the rubber of the blade freezes to the glass of your windshield. When the blade moves after freezing, either because you physically lift it off the glass or the arm pulls it, small tears in the rubber can occur, especially if you aren’t using winter-grade blades.
If you know there’s going to be freezing rain or cold and icy conditions when you park, lifting your blades off your windshield and leaving them suspended in the air is a good way to prevent this freeze–tear cycle from occurring. You can also choose to fully defrost your windshield before operating the wipers, which will free them from their icy prison with no fear of tearing.
Clean Your Glass
Winter wiper blade care also entails preventing your wipers from having to deal with ice in another important way. Dragging a wiper blade across a completely frozen windshield, for example, will also cause tears and cracks in the rubber due to the jagged edges of the ice itself. Rather than letting the wipers do the work while you sit in the car with the defroster on, you can extend the life of your blades by scraping that ice off your windshield before turning them on.
Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on winter wiper blade care, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.