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Borgman How To: Pre-Winter Windshield Wiper Check & Maintenance

October 30th, 2017

Photo of a 2018 Ford Escape driving safely in the West Michigan winter weather, with the help of well-maintained windshield wiper blades.

How To Inspect Your Wiper Blades Before The West Michigan Winter Hits

During the warmer months, we only really use our wipers during a rainstorm or cleaning gunk off of the windshield. However, once the snow flies, making sure wipers can do their job becomes more of a safety issue. At the very least, worn wiper blades will make a lot of horrible noise and leave streaks on the windshield. When they get really bad, and especially during a snowstorm, they leave you with no visibility in an already precarious driving condition.

When wipers are in good shape, they will smoothly and quietly remove all water from their path. Checking your wipers for wear is pretty easy. Just pick it up and take a look for any ripples or cracks in the rubber. If you don’t see any glaring issues, sit behind the wheel and spray the windshield with washer fluid. When the wipers engage, keep an eye open for the following issues:

  1. Wipers do not clear all of the washer fluid in one stroke or leave streaks.
  2. Wipers make a lot of noise, even when wet.
  3. Wipers bounce up and down or stutter as they travel – indicating that some part of the assembly is bent.

Windshield wipers should ideally be replaced every six months. However, if you’re looking for an easier way to tell if your wipers need replacing, visit the Borgman Ford Service Center and ask about Motorcraft Wiper Blades with wear indicator. These wiper blades have a spot that will change from black to yellow when they need to be replaced.

Good Windshield Wiper Habits For West Michigan Weather

Wiper blades are a relatively low-maintenance feature of your vehicle, but there are a couple of things that will wear them down faster:

  • Operating while the wipers are dry
  • Operating while under excessive load

Both of these things usually happen completely by accident, and once or twice is probably ok. If they happen repeatedly though, it can damage the wiper, bend the arm, or even fry the motor. In most cases, “excessive load” means that the wiper motor is pulling against wipers that are frozen stuck or pushing big piles of snow off the windshield. Both can be prevented by making sure your wipers are off and at rest before getting out of your vehicle.

What’s the verdict on standing wipers up before a snow storm?

Whether you’ve seen this trend out in the wild or not, we want to address the idea of sticking wiper blades up before a snow storm. On one side, the claim is that by leaving them up, you prevent them from freezing directly to the windshield, and prevents damage from getting them unstuck. On the other end of it, people say that snow and ice can completely encase the blade, which can cause damage or bend wiper parts – especially in high winds.

Here’s our advice: Before you turn your vehicle off, always make sure that the wipers are switched off and have returned to their resting position. That way when the vehicle is turned back on, the wipers won’t automatically turn on either. Turn on the de-icer and start brushing off the snow and scraping away the ice as normal. It’s a good idea to check your tailpipe to make sure it’s clear too. By the time you get to the windshield, it should be warm enough to not even be an issue, and you’ll be able to simply pick them up and scrape under them. Some vehicles, such as the 2018 Ford Escape, come with windshield wiper warmers as an available feature.

Don’t pour hot water on your windshield!

There’s one more thing we want to discourage, however tempting it may be on a sub-zero morning. Never pour hot or even warm water on your windshield to clear away ice. Hot water will shock the glass on your windshield which can cause chips or even huge cracks. Warm water lessens this danger, but more often than not will just refreeze and make a bad situation worse. Washer fluid, which contains methanol and other de-icing agents, will work to break up frost on the windshield by lowering the water’s freezing point. Before you spray with washer fluid, make sure you’ve scraped the windshield as smooth as possible to avoid damaging the wiper blades!

Visit the Borgman Service Center For Quality Windshield Wiper Replacement in West Michigan

If you’re looking for quality windshield wipers that are a perfect fit for your vehicle, stop by the Borgman Service Center in Grand Rapids and talk to one of our parts specialists. We proudly stock genuine Motorcraft wiper blades, which come in four different varieties. Depending on your vehicle, preferences, and season we’ll be able to make a recommendation as to which one is the best fit for your needs. Many of these wiper blades also boast the yellow wear indicator feature.

Replacing wiper blades yourself is fairly easy, but if you’re short on time we’d be happy to do it for you. Contact our Service Center for hours and info!


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