Car Wiper Blades: Can Replacing Them Prevent Streaking?

Wiper Blades, Windshield Streaking, Wiper Fluid

Car Wiper Blades: Can Replacing Them Prevent Streaking?

Wiper Blades, Windshield Streaking, Wiper FluidWinter is in full swing. If you struggle to see through your windshield, it may be time to replace your wipers. Quickly clearing your windshield during winter is a necessary safety feature, whether it is snowing, sleeting, or raining. Windshield wiper maintenance may seem insignificant, but putting it off can be dangerous. Maintaining visibility while driving depends on well-functioning wiper blades and a full reservoir of wiper fluid to prevent windshield streaking. Below is all the information you need to perform basic windshield wiper maintenance this winter.

Windshield Wiper Maintenance

Deteriorated wiper rubber, a bent wiper arm, or insufficient wiper fluid can leave windshield streaking, distracting drivers. During the winter, inspect your windshield wipers and windshield fluid every time you fill your car’s tank with gas. Thoroughly clean your windshield and wipe down the rubber blades with a moistened paper towel to remove road grime, dust, and other foreign debris. If you have a rear window wiper, inspect and clean it as well, even if you rarely use it. Rubber can deteriorate from exposure to the elements, temperature fluctuations, and frequent use. Also, to prolong wiper blade life, don’t use them to clear ice or snow from your windshield.

Wiper Blade Replacement Schedule

Generally, windshield wiper blades last 3-12 months. A good rule of thumb is replacing them twice yearly when the temperature changes or visibility becomes compromised.

Windshield Wiper Fluid

Keep the windshield fluid reservoir full (you can find its location in your owner’s manual). Always use wiper fluid appropriate for your needs and season. De-icing fluid in the winter will help reduce a frozen windshield. Follow the directions on the bottle of wiper fluid to see if it will work for your needs. Drain the reservoir before changing the windshield fluid formula – mixing different types can create undesired results.

Windshield Wiper Components

When servicing windshield wipers, the base and wiper arm are usually left intact, and only the wiper frame and/or rubber blade require replacement. Windshield wiper blades can vary a lot depending on the vehicle, but most windshield wiper components have the following similarities:

Wiper Base

The base of the wiper is attached to the motor, which powers the back-and-forth motion.

Wiper Arm

The wiper arm is attached to the wiper base and provides a place to mount the wiper frame and rubber blade.

Rubber Blade

On some wipers, the wiper frame and rubber blade are one unit; on other wipers, the rubber blade(s) are replaceable separately from the frame.

Common Wiper Issues

It’s pretty common to have perfectly working wipers one minute, and then the next time you go to use them, you have a windshield that you can barely see out of. Prolonged exposure to harsh temperatures (hot or cold), sudden temperature changes, frequent use, or even not using them can shorten your windshield wipers’ lifespan.

Windshield Streaking

The wiper frame and rubber blade should conform to the exact shape of your windshield glass, providing a clean swipe with each pass. If you see windshield streaking or spots on the glass, the wiper blades are likely worn out and require replacement. 

Skipping or Bouncing

When the wiper blades skip or bounce on the glass as they swipe, the rubber blades may have hardened and require replacement. A service technician can determine the cause quickly and get them operating correctly again.

Excessive Wear

When the rubber edges appear rounded instead of flat and square, the wipers have exceeded their life span. If the wiper blades routinely scrape off debris, snow, or ice, the rubber may be missing chunks or are torn in areas. These signs all indicate that new wiper blades are required.


Just like your rubber tires, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can harm rubber wiper blades over time. Even in the winter, sunshine penetrates the rubber, so the blade may separate or split from the frame, making it completely ineffective. If this happens, you should replace them.

Bent Frame or Blade

Rough handling, freezing temperatures, and even mechanical car washes can slightly bend a windshield wiper frame or blade enough that it can reduce the effectiveness of the wiper. Schedule a service to replace bent wipers to prevent skipping, streaking, or future window damage.

Windshield Wiper Blades Maintenance in Ann Arbor, MI

Ron’s Garage is ready to perform any major or minor service and repair on all makes and models of vehicles, imported or domestic, up to one ton. If your car needs new wiper blades and a wiper fluid top-off to reduce windshield streaking, our service technicians are glad to help.

Schedule Wiper Blades Service

To schedule an appointment, call our full-service auto center at (734) 961-4701 or visit our website.