There are lots of things we do to get our vehicles ready for the onslaught of the winter weather. Even if we stop short of thoroughly winterizing our vehicles, most of us will at least take a few basic steps to get ready for what's coming our way in the winter. Some of us will check tyre pressures, anti-freeze and washer reservoir levels, and some may even check the state of our battery. Those who are used to facing some of the very worst winter conditions of constant snow and ice may even go as far as fitting a special set of winter tyres to cope with such challenging driving, but there's some other rubber we may not think of changing. You may not even have heard of them if you don’t live where the winter weather gets seriously bad, so let's take a look at what the benefits of winter wipers are for your vehicle.
Not only is winter the most important time for being able to see out through your windscreen (as if there's a good time to not be able to see), it can also be the most difficult time for keeping your windscreen clear.
Along with the natural elements to cope with, road slush and salt thrown up by other vehicles also represents part of a combined assault on your windshield. Then add into the equation the extra darkness we're likely to be commuting in thanks to the shorter winter days, and maintaining good visibility becomes a challenge, to say the least. If you then also find yourself struggling to peer through streaks, smears and the distracting noise caused by worn out wiper blades, seeing clearly enough to drive safely can then become almost impossible. The difference between a safe, uneventful journey and a pretty hair raising experience or even an accident can often be no more than mere fractions of a second. If you can't see ahead of you, your reaction time to anything is going to be severely compromised, which could mean getting into a collision or skidding off an icy road before you even have a chance to react. It's therefore imperative you make inspecting your wiper blades part of your winter preparation regime, and you don't need a PhD to imagine winter wipers might be a good idea as well.
Traditional frame-type blades are fine for use during the warmer months, but they're monumentally less effective for winter driving. The open spaces in the latticework of these blades can be prone to being clogged with ice and snow, which therefore prevents them from conforming to the windshield and inevitably means areas of the windshield not getting wiped.
There are two different designs of winter wiper blades, which are ones equipped with covers that encase the steel superstructure to stop the ice and snow from clogging, and beam-type designs that are now becoming common throughout the auto industry as a whole. Both of these designs are better for coping with what winter has in store for your windshield, but the shape of the wiper is only one of the benefits of winter wipers.
Perhaps the biggest difference between regular wipers and winter wipers is the rubber they're made of. Just as winter tyres are made of special compounds that don't harden in cold temperatures the way regular all-weather tyre rubber does, winter wipers are made of similar advanced compounds. It means they stay flexible even at lowest temperatures, they resist erosion caused by environmental factors better, and their slick surfaces reduce the chances of them sticking to the windshield and of having ice and snow stick to them. If you haven't fitted them before, maybe it's time you did?