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Interior & Exterior

Beginner’s Guide to Wiper Blades: Are Wiper Blades Universal?

Are Wiper Blades Universal
Written by Nick Steiner

Wiper blades are so commonly used that most of us have taken them for granted. However, they are responsible to make your driving safer as they increase the driver’s field of vision when needed. I’m sure you’ve felt the importance of a windshield wiper when you’re driving in rain or snow.

If you notice abnormalities in the performance of your wiper blades, it’s time you should replace it. However, replacing them is a bit tricky as there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to windshield wiper blades.

This article will discuss different kinds of wiper blades and when should you change your one. Join us as we try to explore what type of wiper blades to choose and when to replace your existing ones.

Are Wiper Blades Universal?

Types of wiper blades

Unfortunately, no. Wiper blades aren’t universal. Just as there are a lot of variations in car shapes and windscreen sizes, there are also multiple types of wiper blades available.

To find out which type of wiper blade will fit on your car’s windscreen, check the user manual of the car or consult a technician.

Types of wiper blades

Standard

These are the most commonly used type of windscreen wiper blades. They fit most regular car types and resemble a coat hanger. However, the usage of standard or conventional wiper blades are declining as new and improved types are being available.

Standard wiper blades use a spacial wiper arm fitting that looks something like a hook. The size usually ranges from 10-28 inches. These wiper blades have a structure that consists of a central bridge and articulate links. These wipers clean the windscreen by applying uniform pressure through 4-8 pressure points.

Flat

These wiper blades are becoming the standard in newer cars. Instead of having a metal frame with the looks of a coat hanger, these wiper blades utilize a tensioned strip(metal) that runs through the rubber structure of the blade.

This design helps to reduce wind noise through a flatter, more aerodynamic shape. Flat wiper shields are also smaller in size in comparison to the standard ones. As a result, they minimize obstruction to the driver’s field of vision.

Spoiler type

As you’ve guessed by now, these types of wiper blades come with a spoiler across the length of the spoiler. The spoiler is located on the driver’s side. The primary job of this spoiler is to keep the blade closer to the windscreen when you drive at higher speeds.

Just like a standard type windshield wiper blade, the spoiler-type blades also use a wiper arm fitting (hook-shaped) to secure its position on the vehicle.

Specific fit

Some vehicles come with specifically designed wiper blades and the original replacements of those wiper blades usually refer to “specific fit” type blades. They are mostly seen in rear windshields, but can also be fitted into the front side.

These blades can either be flat or the conventional type, according to the size and shape of the  vehicle. For more information, please check your car’s user manual thoroughly.

Hybrid type

When you combine the solid structure of a conventional blade with the aerodynamic shape of a flat one, you’ll get the hybrid blade type. This type of blade uses its articulated plastic frame to structure the aerodynamic “skin” of the blade, providing a smooth airflow.

There is also a steel sub-structure beneath the skin that provides support. This type of wiper blade provides smooth, quiet, and efficient performance.

How Long Do Wiper Blades Last?

Usually, standard wiper blades last about 8-12 months. However, the lifespan of your wiper blade will largely depend on the driving condition and the weather. Road salts and extreme temperatures are two of the main reasons that wiper blades deteriorate over time.

If you notice weird noise, chattering, streaking, cracking, or skipping in your windshield wipers, those are clear signs you need to change your wiper blades soon.

Why changing your wiper blade is important

Visibility is really important when you’re driving your car, especially if you’re in rough weather. Dust, snow, and rain can seriously reduce your visibility. This will bring hazards not only to you but also to the drivers and passengers nearby.

Wiper blades clean the dust, rain, and snow and help the driver to see clearly ahead/behind. Also, if you’re driving in the UK, not having working wipers can cause you to fail your MOT (car fitness – UK version) and receive a hefty fine.

Changing wiper blades regularly will not only save you from getting fined but it’ll also increase road safety for your and your nearby people.

How to choose the right wiper blades

The easiest way to choose the right wiper blade for you is to use your car’s registration number online. Once you enter your v vehicle’s registration number, the website will show you a list of compatible wiper blades that you can choose from.

Checking your car’s user manual will also help you figure out the best replacement wiper for your specific model of car. If that too, doesn’t seem viable, you can also consult your local technician. They’ll help you choose and install the best wiper blades for your specific vehicle type.

About the author

Nick Steiner

Nick has been a car nut for his whole life as far as he can remember. His father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. As a result, Nick had the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and learned to get his hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

Nick is a great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity. His deep passion lies in older models that he believes have a flair that takes him back to his childhood. He also loves their durability and reliability when compared to the modern models.

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