According to the Federal Highway Administration, the number of car accidents due to poor visibility in 2022 is estimated to be 38,700.
Although the weather is usually the most significant factor in visibility, the state of your windshield and wipers should not be ignored.
In this article, let’s take a closer look at the connection between these two critical components and how they work together to keep you, and your passengers safe on the road.
- A clear windshield is crucial for safe driving, providing a clear view of the road ahead and protecting the driver in case of collision or rollover.
- Windshields are made of two layers of glass with a plastic interlayer that holds it together in case of breakage.
- Wipers clear away rain, snow, and debris and are powered by a small motor controlled by a switch inside the car.
- Wiper blades are made of rubber and plastic and deteriorate over time.
- The washer system helps keep the windshield clean by using wiper fluid sprayed by nozzles under the hood, and you should choose the right type of wiper fluid to prevent freezing in cold temperatures.
The Importance of a Clear Windshield
We must emphasize that a clear windshield is crucial for safe driving. Its primary function is to provide you with a clear view of the road ahead.
Aside from visibility, the windshield helps to protect you in the event of a rollover or collision.
It’s made of two layers of annealed glass fused by a layer of plastic.
The plastic layer in between is called the interlayer. It helps to hold the glass together if the windshield is broken.
It also helps to block UV rays, which can cause damage to your car’s interior, such as headliners and upholstery.
According to a study conducted by the University of Utah Department of Dermatology, the front windshield of a car blocks 94% of UVA rays.
The finished windshield is usually about 0.25 inches thick. If it is cracked, it must be replaced as soon as possible.
Driving with a cracked windshield is unsafe since even small cracks can expand quickly with the wrong temperatures. So you should have your car inspected by a trusted mechanic.
Read related: How to Remove Inspection Sticker From Windshield to Reuse.
How Wipers Work
Like the windshield, your wipers are an essential component of your car’s windshield system.
They work by moving back and forth across the windshield, clearing away rain, snow, and other debris.
Have you ever wondered how the different components of the wipers work?
A small motor powers them, and a switch or lever inside the car controls them. The motor turns a spindle that connects to the wiper blade.
It is controlled by a switch or lever near your car’s driver seat. When you flip that switch, power is sent to the motor, which moves the wiper back and forth across your windshield.
If you notice your wipers are slow, you can’t change speed, or it’s not moving at all, the motor is most likely failing.
Although broken relays, fuse, and wirings may also be the culprit.
The blades are made of rubber and covered in a thin plastic film. The blades are the only part of the wipers that make contact with the glass, wiping away raindrops and other debris.
Because blades are made of rubber and plastic, they’re prone to deteriorate over time. The rubber can dry out and crack, which makes it less effective at wiping away moisture.
Depending on the brand and environmental factors, on average, wiper blades can last anywhere from six months to a year.
One of the common signs that you have to replace your wiper blade is when the wiper is not touching the glass anymore.
The washer system helps you keep your windshield clean and clear. It uses wiper fluid sprayed onto the glass by nozzles under the hood of your car.
The wiper washer system is composed of the following components:
- A reservoir that holds the washer fluid
- Pumps and valves to distribute fluid to the windshield nozzles
- Nozzles that spray the fluid onto the windshield
- Wiper blades that wipe away dirt, grime, and water once they’re sprayed onto the glass
- A fluid level sensor that alerts you when it’s time to refill your washer fluid tank (although in older car models, this feature is not available)
If the washer fluid doesn’t come out of the nozzle, it could be one of the following:
- Empty washer fluid
- Clogged nozzle
- Bad fuel pump
- Busted fuse
The Importance of Choosing the Right Type of Wiper Fluid
Sometimes, more than enough wiper fluid in the tank is needed.
Water or DIY wiper fluid alone won’t do because it freezes at a lower temperature than anti-freeze. It would be best if you also chose the correct fluid type, which is especially important during winter.
Types of Wiper Fluids
There are five types of windshield wiper fluid: standard, all-weather, bug remover, water-beading, and de-icing fluids.
- Standard wiper fluid is commonly used during mild temperatures. It’s a mixture of water and alcohol, preventing ice and snow from freezing on your windshield during the winter.
- All-weather fluid is a blend of de-icing and standard wiper fluid that keeps your windows clear in all weather conditions—even when it’s below zero degrees outside.
- Bug remover is a special wiper fluid to remove bugs and debris from your windshield.
- Water-beading fluids are silicone-based formulas that force water drops to bead up on your windshield instead of running down it.
- De-icing fluid is an anti-freeze that prevents ice from forming on your blades and windshield wipers. It’s often used in colder climates, where temperatures drop below freezing.
If you have to defrost your windshield and don’t have access to a heater, there are easy DIY methods that you can try.
The best way to defrost a windshield without heat is by pouring a mixture of alcohol and water.
How to Check Wiper Fluids
To check the wiper fluid level in your car, follow these steps:
- Locate the wiper fluid reservoir. The reservoir is usually located at the back of the engine bay, near the base of the windshield.
- Release the latch of the car’s hood and hold it open with the hood prop rod.
- Check the wiper fluid reservoir. It’s often near the front fenders and sometimes near the base of the windshield.
- Check the wiper fluid level. Many washer fluid reservoirs have marks to show the fluid level.
- If needed, fill the container to the top before pressing the cap back into place.
You should refill the wiper fluid every month, replace the wiper blades every 6 to 12 months, and use bug wash in the summer but empty it before winter.
This will ensure that the wiper blades and fluid always work effectively, keeping your windshield clear while driving and preventing potential damage to the wiper system.
Keeping Your Windshield and Wipers in Good Condition
It’s essential to keep your windshield and wipers in good condition to ensure they work correctly. This includes checking the wipers for signs of wear or damage and replacing them when necessary.
You should also check the wiper blades to ensure they are clean and in good condition. If you notice a chip or crack, you must get it repaired as soon as possible.
Your car’s windshield and wipers are two of your essential safety features. They work together to keep your visibility clear in all weather conditions, which is critical for safe driving.
By keeping them in good condition, you can ensure that they work properly and keep you safe on the road.