Your windshield wipers are responsible for clearing away moisture from the surface of your windshield, especially when you are driving in inclement weather. Wipers are required in most jurisdictions on all vehicles that have windshields (some historical vehicles are exempted from the requirement). The wiper blades are the part of the wiper system that comes in contact with your windshield. Long and thin, they are made of a rubber compound that is meant to clear away water without scratching the surface of the glass.
The wiper blade is connected to a long metal rod called the wiper arm. The arm is attached through the cowl panel to a set of rods, the wiper linkage, that, in turn, connects to the wiper motor. When you turn on the wipers, the motor moves the linkage. The linkage moves and synchronizes the two wiper arms and the blades attached to them.
The wiper blades are meant to keep your windshield clear, even in the wettest of conditions. If the wiper blades are bad, you will see that they merely smear the water rather than clear it away. Bad wiper blades might also cause streaks or lines of water due to cracks or voids in the rubber. A severely damaged wiper blade can even mar or scratch the glass. Upon inspection, you might notice that the rubber on the wiper blades is cracked, cut, or hardened with age.
To replace a set of wiper blades, a technician must first identify the type of mounting hardware that is needed for your vehicle. Some replacement blades come with universal connectors that can be adapted for most wiper systems, but that is not always the case. The specific length of the blade must also be taken into consideration. Most vehicles use one length of blade on the driver’s side and another on the passenger side.
Once the proper replacement blades have been identified, the technician will raise the wiper arms (this sometimes requires that your hood be raised as well) and detach the old wiper blade from each arm. The new blade is installed carefully onto the arm and set back into place. The technician will then test the system to make sure the blades have been installed properly. Improper installation can allow the wiper blades to come free while driving, scratch or break the windshield, or damage the wiper blade attachment hardware.
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