- Drive Safe-Tips/Guides-Safety
As the rainy season approaches, it's important to ensure that your vehicle is ready to handle the wet and slippery roads. Unlike some countries where it rains consistently, but more measured and softly, the rainy season in South Africa can bring heavy downpours and reduced visibility on the roads. This means it’s more dangerous and therefore crucial to ensure that your vehicle is prepared for these conditions – one essential component to consider is your wiper blades.
Preparing Wiper Blades
Wiper blades play a critical role in maintaining clear visibility during rainy weather. They are specifically designed to clear water, debris, and other contaminants from the windshield, providing the driver with a clear view of the road. When it rains, the windshield can quickly become covered in water, making it difficult to see properly.
Wiper blades can deteriorate over time due to exposure to the sun, heat, and other environmental factors. It is essential to prepare them properly to ensure optimal performance and avoid any safety hazards on the road. These are seven easy tips on what to do in preparation for the rainy season–
1. Inspect your wiper blades
Start by inspecting your wiper blades for any signs of damage or wear. Look for cracks, tears, or uneven edges on the rubber blades. If you notice any damage, it is best to replace them before the rainy season begins.
2. Clean the wiper blades and windshield
Use a mild detergent and water solution to remove any dirt, grime, or residue that may have accumulated on the blades. Also, clean the windshield to ensure a clear surface for the wiper blades to glide smoothly.
3. Check the wiper blade alignment
The blades should make full contact with the windshield and move smoothly without any skipping or streaking. If you notice any issues with the alignment, it may be necessary to adjust or replace the wiper arms.
4. Test the wiper blade functionality
Turn on your vehicle's wipers and observe their performance. Check for any unusual noises, vibrations, or streaks on the windshield. If you notice any problems, it may be time to replace the wiper blades.
5. Replace worn-out wiper blades
Worn-out blades can compromise visibility and increase the risk of accidents during heavy rain. Invest in high-quality wiper blades that are suitable for your vehicle's make and model.
6. Consider a rain repellent product
Rain repellents create a hydrophobic layer on the glass, causing rainwater to bead up and roll off quickly. This can improve visibility during heavy rain and reduce the reliance on wiper blades.
7. Keep spare wiper blades in your vehicle
In case of unexpected damage or failure, having spare blades on hand can save you from being stranded in a downpour.
Inspecting Wiper Blades
Before the rainy season begins, inspect your wiper blades for any signs of wear and tear, and follow this checklist for a thorough inspection:
- Check for visible damage – Look for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or missing pieces. Damaged wiper blades may not effectively clear the windshield, leading to reduced visibility.
- Inspect the rubber edge – The rubber edge of the wiper blade is responsible for making contact with the windshield. Ensure that the rubber is not worn out, frayed, or hardened. A damaged rubber edge can cause streaking or skipping, impairing the effectiveness of the wiper blade.
- Test the flexibility – Gently press down on the wiper blade to check its flexibility. It should be able to bend easily without any resistance. A stiff wiper blade may not conform to the shape of the windshield, resulting in incomplete clearing of water.
- Look for proper contact – During inspection, observe whether the entire length of the wiper blade makes proper contact with the windshield. If there are areas where the blade does not touch the glass, it may indicate a bent or misaligned wiper arm that needs adjustment.
Cleaning Wiper Blades
Clean wiper blades are essential for optimal performance. Over time, dirt, grime, and debris can accumulate on the surface of the blades, leading to streaking or smearing on the windshield.
Steps to clean your wiper blades:
- Lift the wiper blades – Lift the wiper blades away from the windshield, either manually or by activating the wiper control.
- Wipe the blades – Use a clean cloth or paper towel dampened with windshield washer fluid to wipe the surface of the wiper blades. Gently remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated.
- Clean the windshield – While the wiper blades are lifted, take the opportunity to clean the windshield as well. Use a glass cleaner and a clean cloth to remove any residue or streaks from the glass.
- Lower the wiper blades – After cleaning, carefully lower the wiper blades back onto the windshield.
Replacing Wiper Blades
If your wiper blades show significant signs of wear, damage, or poor performance during the inspection, it's time to replace them. Here's how to replace wiper blades:
- Identify the correct size – Consult your vehicle's owner's manual or use an online wiper blade size finder to determine the correct size for your specific vehicle make and model.
- Purchase new wiper blades – Visit an auto parts centre like your nearest Supa Quick store where you can choose high-quality blades that are designed to fit your vehicle.
- Remove the old blades – Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield and locate the release mechanism on the wiper blade. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to remove the old blade.
- Install the new blades – Align the new wiper blade with the wiper arm and insert it into the proper attachment point. Ensure that it is securely in place by following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Test the new blades – Turn on your vehicle's wipers and check if the new blades clear the windshield smoothly and effectively. If they do not, double-check the installation and make any necessary adjustments.
Regular Maintenance Tips for Wiper Blades
To keep your wiper blades in optimal condition throughout the rainy season, consider the following maintenance tips:
- Clean the blades regularly – Regular cleaning with windshield washer fluid or mild soap and water can help remove dirt, grime, and debris that may affect their performance.
- Avoid using the wipers on a dry windshield – Using the wiper blades on a dry windshield can cause unnecessary friction and wear. Ensure there is enough moisture on the windshield before activating the wipers.
- Park your vehicle in a covered area – Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a covered area to protect the wiper blades from excessive exposure to sunlight and harsh weather conditions, which can cause the rubber to deteriorate.
- Replace wiper blades regularly – Wiper blades typically have a lifespan of six months to a year, depending on usage and environmental factors. It's recommended to replace them at least once a year or when signs of wear and poor performance are evident.
By following these maintenance tips and properly preparing your wiper blades for the rainy season, you can ensure clear visibility and safe driving during inclement weather conditions. Regular inspection, cleaning, and replacement when necessary will help maintain the effectiveness of your wiper blades and enhance your overall driving experience. Remember, clear visibility is key to staying safe on the road, especially in rainy conditions.
Bosch offers a full line of windshield wiper blades engineered for extreme all-weather performance to ensure visibility no matter the weather condition.
Preparing your wiper blades for the rainy season is essential for maintaining clear visibility and ensuring your safety on the road. By following these tips and regularly inspecting your wiper blades, you can be confident that they will perform optimally when you need them most. Remember to replace worn-out blades promptly and consider using a rain repellent product for added visibility. Stay safe and enjoy the rainy season!