Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Windshield Wiper Blade

windshield wiper blade

Properly working windshield wiper blades are vital to the safe operation of any vehicle. Whether you live in the desert or in an area that receives a lot of rain, snow or hail, it's important to know that your wiper blades will clean your windshield when needed. However, due to the fact that they are made out of soft rubber, they eventually wear out, and need to be replaced. Many automotive manufacturers agree that they should be replaced every six months, regardless of their use.

Many people often believe that wiper blades will wear out in areas that receive frequent rainfall. This is not always true. In fact, dry desert conditions can be worse for wiper blades as the hot sun will cause the blades to warp, crack, or melt. There are many different types of wiper blades and different ways to replace them. Most car owners will replace the entire blade, which attaches to the wiper control arm; while others will replace the soft blade insert. Regardless of which option you choose, it's critical to replace them when you recognize some of the common warning signs of a bad or failing windshield wiper blade.

Listed below are a few of the common warning signs that you have a bad or worn out wiper blade and that it's time to replace them.

1. Streaking on the glass

Wiper blades are designed to press evenly onto the windshield and remove water, debris, and other objects smoothly on the glass. The result of the smooth operation is that there will be very few streaks in the windshield. However, as the windshield wiper blades get old, worn out, or torn, they don't press evenly on the windshield. This reduces their ability to effectively clean the windshield and will leave streaks and spots on the glass when they operate. If you see streaks on the windshield frequently, it's a good sign that they are worn out and need to be replaced as soon as possible.

2. Screeching sound when wipers operate

A smooth wiper blade is similar to a brand new razor: it clears off debris quickly, smoothly, and without a sound. However, when the wiper blade has outlived its lifespan, you'll hear a screeching sound that is caused by uneven rubber gliding over the windshield. The screeching sound can also be caused by hard rubber that has shrunken due to excess exposure to sunlight and heat. Not only does this type of worn out wiper blade cause the screeching sound, but this could be scratching your windshield as well. If you notice that your wiper blades are screeching as they operate from left to right, have them replaced as soon as possible.

3. Wiper blades bounce as they operate

If you've turned on your wiper blades and they appear to bounce, this is also a warning indicator that your blades have served their purpose and need to be replaced. However, it may also signify that your wiper blade arm may be bent and needs to be replaced. If you notice this symptom, you might want to contact a local ASE certified mechanic to have them examine the wiper blades and the windshield wiper blade arm to determine what is broken.

Replacing wiper blades is recommended by most vehicle manufacturers every six months. A good rule of thumb however is to purchase new wiper blades and have them installed at the same time you complete a regular oil change. Most car owners drive 3,000 to 5,000 miles every six months. It's also a good idea to change your wiper blades with the seasons. For cold weather climates, there are specially coated and covered wiper blades that resist ice freezing on the blades themselves.

Regardless of where you live, it's always smart to plan ahead and be proactive about replacing your windshield wiper blades. If you need assistance with this, one of our local ASE certified mechanics from YourMechanic can arrive to your home or office to complete this important service for you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Opinion on PIAA blades

Yes, to some extent they do because they are silicon. If you have silicon blades, some of the silicon wipes on the windshield. That's why they last so long. Because then they are wiping on the silicon, which is a...

Q: Hello , one of windshield wiper works and the other don't , do you have an idea of what the issue may be?

Hello. Thank you for writing in. The wipers are independently motored, and powered through the same switch. The power supply to the motor is either not making to that side, or the motor has failed. You should be able to...

Q: Can Mud and Dirt Wreck Your Wiper Blades?

Yes. Not only can mud and dirt wreck your wiper blades, they can also scratch your windshield. Mud and dirt contain small pebbles with sharp edges. These small pieces of rock can and will embed into the soft rubber part...