Windscreen wipers need as much attention as any other component that keeps you safe on the road, says Vishal Premlall, national director of the Tyre, Equipment, Parts Association (TEPA), a proud affiliate of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).
Despite their importance, Premlall says vehicle owners often take for granted that windscreen wipers will simply keep doing their job come rain or shine.
This is not the case as poorly maintained front and back wipers add risk to any trip. They need to be checked regularly – at least every six months – and replaced when needed.
“Too many drivers continue to neglect the importance of wipers being in tip top condition at all times,” says Premlall, “and with reduced visibility being a major cause of accidents, this is one area of your car you should not neglect.”
“Simply put, a windscreen wiper ensures visibility when you are driving, especially in harsh weather conditions like the heavy rain and even hail, as we have recently experienced in Gauteng.”
He explains there are many factors that contribute to weakening your windscreen wipers but without doubt the biggest cause of deterioration is the sun beating down on your car and causing the rubber to deteriorate.
“Just like having a chip or crack in your windscreen, wiper blade deterioration makes it dangerous for you to drive.
TEPA provides 6 tips for good windscreen wiper maintenance:
1. If possible always try and park in a covered or shady area to prevent long exposure to sun.
2. Use your wiper intermittently, even when the weather is clear.
3. Inspect your wiper blades on a regular basis. Replace them when necessary.
4. Inspect the operation of your windscreen washer system. Add washer fluid when needed, and be sure to maintain the proper mixture.
5. If you find yourself in bad weather and realise your windscreen wipers are not working properly, do not continue driving for longer than necessary without seeking help to replace the windscreen wipers.
6. It is not difficult to replace windscreen wipers yourself but it is always a better option to ask an accredited fitment centre to do this for you. Today, modern windshield wiper and washer systems have many advanced features, so it may be best to leave it to the experts and change your wipers at a reputable accredited fitment centre.
“When you consider the cost of replacing a damaged windscreen wiper versus the expenses you could incur if you are involved in an accident because of poor visibility, you will see that regular replacement of your windscreen wipers is the wiser option,” he concludes.