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 of the wiper blade. This rubber that squeegees the water off your windshield is easily damaged by debris. This includes fine dust and pieces of wood. Once the rubber is damaged, it will allow water to slide underneath it leaving streaks.
In addition to damaging the wiper blade, it can damage your windshield as well. Rocks in particular contain metals that is harder than glass. Once this debris is embedded into the wiper blade, it will act as a small piece of sandpaper sanding your windshield each time the wiper swipes side to side. This will often result in a scratch across your windshield in the shape of the arc.
In extreme circumstance, where an excessive amount of mud and dirt are thrown onto the windshield, not only can the blades themselves be damaged, but so can the wiper arms and wiper transmission as well. Your wiper blades are attached to the wiper arm which is mounted to the wiper transmission. The wiper arm holds the blade in a position allowing the wiper blade to squeegee the water off your windshield. The point where it attaches to the wiper transmission at the base of your windshield is a particularly high stress point. When the wiper arm runs into resistance from mud or other debris, the splines at these points have a tendency to strip. This sort of damage will require a [wiper arm replacement](](https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/windshield-wiper-arm-replacement) and possibly a [wiper transmission replacement](](https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/windshield-wiper-linkage-replacement).
If enough strain is placed on the wiper transmission, it can break. This is a sizable repair requiring the removal of what is called the cowl. This is the piece of metal directly below your windshield. Your wiper motor is most likely housed here. Replacing the transmission assembly requires both wiper arms to be removed, the cowl panel removal, and then the wiper transmission can be removed. If you’re concerned that your wiper blades may be compromised, feel free to contact a certified mechanic who can replace your wiper blades at your own convenience.
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