Get your windscreen wipers summer ready

Summer rains are here, and you don’t want to wait until you are caught in a heavy downpour to realize the one thing that is really letting you down is your windscreen wipers.

Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says although windscreen wipers may only be a small part of your car, they can have a big impact on your driving and your safety if not maintained correctly.

“Windscreen wipers age and perish. It’s important to check your windscreen wipers regularly and not to settle for below-par wipers. Only the edge of the wiper should touch the windscreen – so check whether this is the case with your wipers. Also there shouldn’t be cracks or tears in the blades and the blades should be securely fastened to the wiper. If in doubt, go to your local accredited workshop and ask your mechanic to check the blades. Wipers are relatively inexpensive but make all the difference between clear visibility and an accident waiting to happen,” he says.

The most common signs that you need new windshield wipers are:

•             Squeaking or clattering sounds when in use

•             An uneven or shuddering wiper movement when in use

•             Streaking, smears or gaps of moisture on your windshield

•             Reduced driving visibility, even with the wipers in motion

•             Cracks, tear or missing pieces of the blade

Ranft says it is also important to check your washer fluid from time to time. This works hand in hand with your wipers and should be full. “Over time the washer fluid bottle can develop a leak; the washer fluid pump may stop working and the window washer fluid jets can become clogged which impacts their aim. “Ideally one should ensure one uses the correct additive and not just water. Ask your local service station or motor technician for advice on this.”

Ranft says if you are driving an unfamiliar car or if you are a first-time driver, it is always wise to familiarise yourself with your wiper settings so that you are not distracted when driving. He says it is also worth cleaning them with warm soapy water to ensure the blades last longer. This also improves performance.

Vishal Premlall, national director for the Tyre, Equipment-and Parts Association (TEPA), also a proud association of the RMI, adds that when considering purchasing replacement wiper blade sets, care should be taken to ensure that the correct size is purchased. You must also ensure that you only purchase reputable brands of traceable origin, preferably with a manufacturer’s warrantee, as good quality wiper blades are essential to the safe operation of your vehicle during spells of rain.

“Driving with faulty windscreen wipers can seriously affect your view of the road, which puts you and other motorists at risk. As soon as you notice that your wipers are under-performing, have them replaced or repaired by a professional mechanic. With holidays just around the corner this is the perfect time to ensure your wipers are working correctly,” he concludes.