Most concerns about windshield wiper performance are the result of dirty wiper blades, damaged wiper blades, or worn out blades that are continuing to be used beyond their useful life. Depending on environmental conditions, wiper blades can have dramatic differences in lifespan. Here are some tips and guidelines to maximize wiper performance to avoid damage to the blades, and to avoid unnecessary replacements.
Many wiper blades are being replaced under warranty with reviews showing there is nothing wrong with the returned blades other than a build-up of dirt. Additionally, advise the customer to review the information in their Owner's Manual.
Inspection and Cleaning
• Inspect your wipers rubber blades every 4-6 months or 12,000 km (7,500 mi) for wear, cracking or contamination.
• Clean the windshield and the rubber wiper blades (using the procedure below) if the blades are not clearing the glass satisfactorily. If this does not correct the problem, then replace the rubber elements.
Important: Avoid getting windshield washer fluid on your hands. Wear rubber gloves or avoid direct contact with washer fluid.
Important: Do not use gasoline, kerosene, or petroleum based products to clean wiper blades.
• Clean the rubber blades using a lint free cloth or paper towel soaked with windshield washer fluid or a mild detergent. You should see significant amounts of dirt being removed on the cloth.
• Be sure to wash the windshield thoroughly when you clean the blades. Bugs, road grime, sap and a buildup of car wash/wax treatments may additionally cause wiper streaking.
For a larger scale buildup on the windshield, use a non-abrasive cleaner such as Bon-Ami* (www.faultless.com
) cleanser with a wet sponge, being sure to use plenty of water to avoid scratching the glass. Flush the surface and body panels completely.
For day-to-day glass cleaning and to maintain a streak free appearance, suggest Vehicle Care Glass Cleaner, P/N 89021822 (in Canada, 992727). This product is an easy to use foaming cleaner that quickly removes dirt and grime from glass surfaces.
*"We believe this material to be reliable. There may be additional manufacturers of such material. General Motors does not endorse, indicate any preference for or assume any responsibility for the products or equipment from these firms or any such items which may be available from other sources.
Avoiding Wiper Damage
The following are major contributors to wiper damage. Some of these you can control and others are environmental concerns.
• Extremely dusty areas (such as driving on dirt roads) may cause the wipers rubber edge to wear quickly and unevenly.
• Sand and salt used on roads for increasing winter traction and ice control will cause the wiper blades to wear quicker. Areas with significant snowfall require more frequent blade replacements.
• Heat and time may cause the rubber blades to take a "permanent set" resulting in the rubber not flexing and turning over uniformly. This condition may result in streaking and/or unwiped areas.
• Rubber blades are easily cut or torn when using ice scrapers. Likewise pulling blades up off a frozen windshield can tear the rubber. Exercise caution when clearing ice and snow.
• Using your wipers to "wear through" frost and ice, instead of allowing the defrosters to melt the ice, can dull, nick or tear the rubber blades.
• Banging wipers on the glass to remove ice and snow may cause the blade to bend, dislodging the rubber and causing potential scratching of the windshield.
• Ice can form in the pin joints of the wipers, which can cause streaking and unwiped areas. To remove ice from pin joints, compress the blade and rubber edge with your hand to loosen the frozen joints. Consider using Winter Blades that have a rubber cover to avoid this condition.