Replacing wiper blades before springtime storms

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There's nothing worse than the sound of wiper blades scraping against your windshield, especially when...

There's nothing worse than the sound of wiper blades scraping against your windshield, especially when you're in the middle of a torrential Atlanta rainstorm in the spring. Winter temperatures, sun and even sap from trees can damage wipers, so it's important to replace them before hitting the road.

Keep on winter wipers until March

If you already purchased winter wiper blades, it won't hurt to keep them on until late February or early March. Because these blades are made to handle ice and snow, a surprise overnight freeze could accidentally ruin a brand-new set of wipers if you run them over an ice-covered windshield. After the risk of ice and snow is gone, any set of standard wiper blades is suitable for Atlanta weather.

Test the wiper arm's tension

Check the entire wiper unit by lifting each one off your windshield. If it was effortless, you may want to have the tension checked. Wiper arms have spring tension, which is what gives you that evenly distributed, streak-free wipe. Because wiper blades only need to be replaced every six to 12 months, you may need new arms--not new blades if you have been replacing the blades often. Your car dealer or mechanic can replace wiper arms for you.

Check wipers for cracks, nicks or brittleness

If your wiper arms are in good shape, it's time to check the blades. Wiper blades are made with rubber which can wear away from extreme heat, cold, chemicals and environmental factors. By visually examining the wipers, you can see if they are cracked, brittle or have uneven nicks in what should be a sharp, flat blade.

Dirt and particles embedded in the wiper blade can actually scratch your windshield if used for an extended period. As the uneven blade scrapes against your windshield, it negatively impacts the glass. Replacing an inexpensive pair of blades now can save you from a much more expensive windshield replacement later.

Replacing only the rubber inserts

If your arms and blades are in good condition, but just the rubber portion needs to be replaced, you can actually purchase just the rubber inserts for your vehicle. Most auto parts stores carry these inexpensive inserts that you can install yourself, or you can contact a local mechanic or dealership and they can replace these components for you while you wait.

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