In the spectrum of car maintenance, it’s easy to overlook the all-important windshield wiper. Some people may even grow complacent enough to consider the wiper’s role as a matter of mere convenience. Of course, that’s until they fail (like when the rubber separates from the metal arm) during a snowstorm.

When you’ve got to resort to sticking your head out of the driver’s side window, and you’re eating snow and your eyes are watering and your face is becoming quickly frost-bitten, those are the moments when you realize that the windshield wiper ranks up there with other safety systems like brakes or airbags.

In reality, windshield wiper maintenance is quite simple. It consists of keeping them clean. That could be as simple wetting a paper towel and running it along the rubber part. That’s an easy thing to do while you’re filling up at the gas station.

While you’re cleaning them, feel to see if the rubber is chipped or otherwise damaged. If so, it may be time to replace them. And if you are going to replace one, you might as well replace the other one.

When it does come time for replacement, good luck trying to install the rubber refills (that’s where you keep the metal arm and attach new rubber to it). They say somebody actually did it once a long time ago in Fargo, North Dakota, but that claim has never been substantiated. Replacing the whole arm is a little more expensive, but it’s probably worth the extra dough.

windshield wiper maintenance

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