How to Identify Bad Wiper Blades

by Contributor

Wiper blades are something many people take for granted...until they stop working. Checking them for wear and tear every six months will ensure that you will able to see clearly if you get stuck in a rainstorm.

Have someone pour water over your windshield, or use your car's mister, and turn on the wipers.

Listen for slapping, screeching or vibrating. Slapping means the rubber has torn from the arm. Screeching indicates there is friction between the glass and the blade. Vibrating means the blade is worn or not mounted on the arm correctly.

Look at the wipe pattern. If you see a lace pattern, that means the rubber has bent too far. If you see a filmy haze after wiping, there most likely is oil or road debris on the rubber. Cracked or hardened rubber will result in streaks when the blades attempt to remove water.

Examine the blades. Look for splits or gouges in the rubber, discoloration or ragged edges.

Replace the whole blade or replace the rubber with a refill if any of these steps reveals damage.


  • check During warmer weather, more grime tends to accumulate on wipers, which gets in the way when the rubber tries to clear the glass.
  • check Replace both blades, even if only one is damaged, so that they will wear out evenly.

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