Windshield Wipers

Windshield wiper blades typically need to be replaced every 6 to 12 months, or earlier if they no longer clear water/snow from the windshield decently. The washer fluid level should be checked at least once a month, or at every fill-up.

Checking Wiper Blade Condition
Wiper blades can be checked with a simple visual inspection of the rubber blade surface, and by looking at the wiping pattern. Have your wipers replaced if they:


  • Leave streaks or smears, even after being cleaned

  • Squeak, shudder, or skip across the windshield

  • Have any tears or cracks in the rubber blade

  • Are damaged in any way​

​Cleaning Wiper Blades
To clean wiper blades, lift them off the windshield and wipe the rubber surface with a damp paper towel or cloth. Hold on to the wiper as you do this, and set it back down on the glass carefully when you're done. This prevents the wiper from snapping back down and hitting the windshield too hard.


Good wiper blades will easily and quietly clear water from the windshield.
windshield wiper.jpg by Cujaniene - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Ice and Windshield Wipers
In the winter, consider lifting your wiper blades off the windshield when you park your car to help prevent them from freezing on to the glass. Some vehicles allow for this, others do not. 


  • If you leave your wipers down during inclement weather, but sure to check that they aren't stuck to the windshield before you turn them on. Turning on the wipers when they are froze to the glass can damage the wiper motor.


  • Clear as much ice off your windshield as possible if you plan on using your wipers. Wiping over chunks of ice can damage the rubber part of the blades, leading to streaks and noise.


  • Be careful not to rip the rubber part of the blade when trying to free frozen wipers from the windshield.

  • NEVER pour hot water on a frozen windshield.


  • In the winter, be sure to put in windshield washer fluid that is designed for freezing temperatures. If washer fluid freezes, it could damage the washer pump or crack the reservoir.


Checking the Washer Fluid Level
To check your vehicle's washer fluid level, simply look at the reservoir. Almost all washer fluid reservoirs are an opaque white plastic, and you should be able to see the level through the side of it. The cap on a washer fluid reservoir is usually blue, and often has a windshield washer symbol on it.


  • Most SUVs and minivans have a washer for the rear window as well as the windshield. Quite often the front and rear washer will share the same reservoir, but some vehicles may have a separate reservoir in the back (see your owner's manual).


  • If the level is low, use only windshield washer fluid. Avoid using water, as it can freeze in the winter, leave mineral deposits that can clog spray nozzles, and doesn't clean as effectively as washer fluid does.

Adding Washer Fluid
Adding washer fluid is just as easy as checking it:


  1. Open the hood and locate the washer fluid reservoir

  2. Lift up or remove the washer fluid cap

  3. Pour in washer fluid until the level reaches the full line

  4. Put the cap back on

If there is no line indicating where “full” is, add washer fluid until the level is just below the top of the reservoir. Also, be careful not to turn on the windshield washer if the reservoir is empty. Running the pump dry can damage it, and using wipers on a dry windshield can damage the blades or scratch the glass.