Wiper blades may be the biggest afterthought on your car. No one buys a car because it has a great set of windshield wipers; indeed, you may not think about them for months or years...until that freak winter snow storm makes them your car’s most crucial piece of safety tech. And while you typically don’t think about replacing wiper blades until you see a telltale piece of rubber hanging off or hear the horrific sound of them squeaking or scoring your windshield, manufacturers may tell you to replace them every few months (taking care of it before winter hits is not a bad idea).
Wiper blades are also an item you can source for yourself without going to a specialist auto parts store; you can order them on Amazon with ease. Self-installation can be some of the easiest car maintenance to do yourself; you don't need any tools beyond opposable thumbs. However, manufacturer instructions when adapters get involved can get confusing for newbies.
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Types of Wipers
Most often found on older cars, have a metal frame attached to a rubber blade. They are the cheapest option and can save you money. But they are less durable than other wiper types, which can mean you'll be changing them out more often.
Made from a solid piece of rubber, tend to be the most expensive; on the flip side, they are more flexible, better performing, better for snow and ice, and more durable.
A hybrid option between the two — typically with rubber covering the metal frame for a sleeker look and better protection and aerodynamic performance.
Consider where you live. If you reside in Palm Springs, having the optimal set of wiper blades probably won’t matter so much. If you live somewhere rainy like Louisiana, you may want better ones. If you’re preparing for winter up in Minnesota, you’ll probably want wipers that are optimized for cold weather.
Wiper Blade Size
Different cars have different sizes of blades; indeed, the two wipers on your windshield can be different sizes, as well. Luckily, you can find that information easily enough in your car's owner’s manual or on the Internet. You can also input your car model on sites like Amazon and view a list of all compatible wipers.
How We Tested
Gear Patrol staffers are continually testing new wiper blades on their personal vehicles. We install them ourselves using manufacturer adapters and instructions. And we assess both their water-clearing performance and quietness in a range of weather conditions as circumstances allow.