6 Signs That You Need New Windshield Wipers

It's evening. You hop in the car to drive home, turn on the headlights and give the windshield-wiper knob a turn. But all you see are streaks and smudges, reducing your visibility and safety. Yikes!

If you notice any of the following six issues, it's time to take a few minutes to replace your windshield wipers. And don't worry — your local Advance can install them for you with purchase if you're in a hurry. 

Rainy windshield

Rainy windshield | Source: Advance Auto Parts

#1 Scratching sounds

As the spongy replaceable blades on your wipers wear down or tear, you might hear an annoying metal-on-glass sound during each swipe. This situation warrants an immediate fix to contain the damage. It can happen fast, and scratches in your windshield won't come out, no matter how much you rub them!

#2 Peeling blades

When peering out the windshield, do you notice the ends of the rubber blades flapping in the wind? If they're peeling up or becoming loose, they will need to be swapped out soon. The sun's UV rays alone can be enough to degrade the rubber on blades, drying them out and causing them to crack and peel.

Muddy Windshield | Source: Shizhao

#3 Dirty windshield

If you apply a few squirts of windshield-washer fluid, but notice that with each pass the wipers seem to make a mess, you need a new set of blades.

#4. Ice clumps

When winter winds drive snow at the windshield, the melting slush rolls down the glass, sticking to the windshield wipers. If the ice chunks don't break away and appear caught in the rubber blades after a few rotations, your wipers may need to be adjusted or replaced.

#5. No contact

If you flip the wiper knob and notice the rubber blades aren't making contact with the windshield, the blades may be worn down or misaligned. Pull over, stop the car and check for a simple obstruction like leaves or snow. No luck? It's time to replace the blades or full wiper unit. Wiper arms have a spring that keeps them in contact with the windshield — it could be that the entire arm may need to be replaced.

#6 Skipping wipers

Do the blades seem to hop across the windshield? Add some Rain-X water repellent to the windshield to help the wiper blades glide more easily, clear away dirt and move rain away from the glass quicker. If this doesn't work, replace the blades.

Be proactive with your car care. Change your windshield wiper blades every six months so you don't run into issues in the first place! And tell us in the comments which auto-maintenance tasks you've been tackling this season.

Last updated June 13, 2023