The best windshield wiper
Windshield wipers are the unsung heroes of vehicle safety. While seatbelts and airbags get all the glory, windshield wipers go about the all-important business of making sure you can actually see the road ahead. In a car, as in life, a clear view of where you're headed is essential for getting there safely. That's why we're here to help you choose the best windshield wipers for your needs.
We created the following buying guide to offer advice and guidance on choosing the best windshield wipers. You should also read the reviews that we've included, like the one for our Best of the Best pick, the long-lasting Bosch ICON Wiper Blade.
Considerations when choosing windshield wipers
Vehicle make and model
The first question to ask yourself when shopping for windshield wiper blades is "what are my vehicle specs?" Windshield wiper blades are sold based on vehicle year, make, and model. Use that as your starting point to find out what options are available for your car.
Wiper arm style
The three main types of wiper arms are called J hook, bayonet, and side post. While J hooks are the most common arm style on vehicles, bayonet and side post arms are also found regularly. Keep in mind that windshield wipers are not interchangeable between these three styles.
Silicone vs. rubber
Silicone windshield wipers make far less noise than rubber ones because they include a special lubricant that allows the blade to move more smoothly across the glass. Along with this quieter performance comes a higher price tag. Although rubber is louder than silicone, the two materials are equally durable.
There are four major categories of windshield wiper blades. They are bracket-type blades, beam blades, winter wiper blades, and hybrid blades.
Bracket-type blades are usually made of rubber and are the most commonly used style. They have a metal frame for mounting the wiper.
Beam blades have internal supports that hold the blades stiff from within the rubber. These are the most lightweight of all the blade types, and they make for better contact between the blade and the glass of the windshield. Another advantage of beam blades is that the internal frame is protected from weathering. As you might expect, beam blades are the most expensive of the four styles.
Winter wiper blades are designed to handle harsh weather conditions. Snow and extreme cold air temperatures can wreak havoc on both rubber and silicone. Furthermore, the metal structure of most wiper blades struggles in harsh environments. Winter blades are similar to bracket-type blades, but they have a protective rubber shell around the blade. They are bulkier and less aerodynamic than most other blades.
Hybrid blades are aerodynamic yet heavy. They are a good combination of a bracket-type blade and a beam blade. Although not quite as durable as winter wiper blades, they do fare well in winter conditions.
The majority of windshield wiper blades cost between $5 and $30 each. Remember that most blades are sold individually as opposed to in a pair.
Q. How do I know when my wiper blades need changing?
A. Once your wiper blades begin to leave your windshield hazy, you can bet it's time for new ones. Also, look for gaps in the clear areas of your windshield when it's raining. That means that the rubber or silicone is deteriorating and no longer touching the glass of the windshield.
Q. Do I need to go to a mechanic to change my wiper blades?
A. Although automotive service shops will install your wiper blades for you, it shouldn't be necessary for most people. Wiper blades usually come with easy-to-follow instructions that allow you to change them in minutes.
Q. Should I replace my wiper blades regularly even if I don't notice them deteriorating or failing?
A. Most automotive experts suggest changing your wiper blades twice a year. This is because once they start to fail, it might not be convenient for you to change them. It's a safer bet to switch them out regularly so you can always see out of your windshield.
Windshield wipers we recommend
Best of the best: Bosch ICON Wiper Blade
Our take: Bosch is an automotive parts stalwart, and their precision and detailed design shows in these blades.
What we like: Blades may last 40% longer than other premium models. Quiet and dependable in rain and snow.
What we dislike: Difficult to install.
Best bang for your buck: Trico Rear Integral Wiper Blade
Our take: Surprising performance and durability for the price.
What we like: Metal construction makes this model solid and functional for a long time.
What we dislike: Nothing.
Our take: The blades are made well, but they seem to work better on some vehicles than others.
What we like: Smart-flex design conforms to the curve of the glass.
What we dislike: Some vehicles had poor contact between blade and glass.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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