How Often Should You Change Windshield Wiper Blades?


Windshield wipers are one of the most important safety features on an automobile. When properly installed and maintained, windshield wipers squeegee water and condensation from the windshield, providing the driver with a clear view of the road. An obscured view of the road is a major cause of auto accidents--many of which could have been avoided with the use of properly maintained windshield wipers.

Time Frame

  • Most major windshield wiper manufacturers recommend changing wiper blades every 6 months. While most brands start off providing excellent service, most will begin to break down after a few months of use. After 6 months, there is frequently a noticeable deterioration in windshield visibility. As a handy reminder, vehicle owners should consider changing their windshield wipers each time the clock is changed for Daylight Savings Time or Standard Time.


  • Windshield wipers can deteriorate earlier than 6 months under certain conditions. If you notice streaking, chattering, worn or split rubber or damaged or bent wiper frames, you should replace the windshield wipers immediately, regardless of how old they are. Any of these conditions can distort the driver's view of the road and create a driving hazard.


  • Some people believe the life of windshield wipers can be extended in areas where they are not often required. However, even windshield wipers on vehicles in exceptionally dry conditions that are rarely used should be changed every 6 months. Windshield wipers that are not used for extended periods of time can dry out, crack or become set in their position and fail to give appropriate service when they are needed.


  • Windshield wipers are sold in many retail auto parts stores as either blades or refills. Blades are easier for most do-it-yourselfers to replace, but they typically cost twice as much as refills. Unless the existing blade is bent or damaged, they do not need to be replaced as frequently as the refill. Refills are much cheaper than blades, but they are made to fit specific blades, so the auto owner must know whether the windshield wiper is original equipment or an aftermarket replacement.


  • Both the driver's side and passenger's side windshield wipers should be changed at the same time. Most sport utility vehicles, station wagons and minivans also have a rear windshield wiper that should be changed every 6 months as well.

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