When it is time to change your windscreen wipers
Windscreen wiper blades are an essential component of any vehicle and are also one of the many parts that are checked during an MOT test.
According to a 2021 report by the DVSA, windscreen wipers were one of the top 10 reasons for MOT failures in the UK accounting for 2.7% of all MOT failures.
In this blog, we'll cover everything you need to know about windscreen wiper blades, including giving you 7 signs you should replace them, telling you how to replace windscreen wipers, and breaking down the cost of replacing them by car brand. Whether you're a new driver or you’ve been around the block, this guide will help you stay safe on the road by keeping your windscreen clear and your vision unobstructed.
7 signs that you should replace your windscreen wiper blades
The recommended time to change your windscreen wiper blades is ever 6-12 months or at the first sign of wear. Some of the signs that your wiper blades need to be changed include:
- Streaking or smearing: if your windscreen wiper blades are leaving streaks, smearing the water across the windscreen, or obstructing your view of the road in any way, they need to be replaced. A common cause for streaking is dirt and debris build-up so ensure to wash your wiper blades regularly
- Skipping or chattering sounds: if your windscreen wiper blades aren’t operating smoothly and have a slight bounce, this indicates that the wiper blades aren’t gripping properly due to wear or damage. Often, you’ll find that this can cause wiper blades to leave large unwiped areas across the windscreen
- Worn or torn rubber edges: this can lead to poor wiping performance and reduced visibility
- Uneven wear: if your windscreen wiper blades are bent or warped in any way, or if they have evident cracks or splits, this can cause streaking and reduce your visibility
- Corrosion on the wiper frame: this can cause the blades to not make proper contact with the windscreen, and can also damage or scratch your windscreen
- Unsecure windscreen wiper blades: if your wiper blade separates from the wiper frame it can heavily reduce its performance and your visibility
- Old wiper blades: according to Ford, windscreen wiper blades should be replaced approximately every 12 months, however when driving in colder climates like the UK, they may require a more frequent replacement
How to change a windscreen wiper
Often, replacing windscreen wiper blades can be costly and time-consuming if they’re replaced by a professional. The good news is that replacing your windscreen wipers can be an easy and cost-effective task to do yourself, even if you're not mechanically inclined. Here’s a quick guide:
- Purchase the correct size and type of wiper blades for your vehicle. Check your vehicle manual or ask a professional if you're not sure what size or type of wiper blades you need
- Lift up the wiper arm away from the windscreen until it stays in a raised position. Make sure the wiper arm is supported and won't accidentally fall back onto the windscreen
- Locate the small tab or release mechanism on the back of the wiper blade where it connects to the wiper arm
- Press down on the tab or release mechanism and gently pull the wiper blade away from the wiper arm
- Once the old wiper blade is removed, use a soft cloth or towel to clean the wiper arm and the area around it. Make sure there is no dirt, debris or rust on the wiper arm that could affect the performance of the new wiper blade
- Take the new wiper blade out of its packaging and locate the small hook or clip on the back of the blade
- Hook the new blade onto the wiper arm, making sure the hook or clip clicks into place. Make sure the new blade is properly aligned with the wiper arm
- Gently lower the wiper arm back onto the windscreen, taking care not to let it drop suddenly or hit the windscreen too hard
- Repeat steps 2-8 for the other wiper blade, if needed
- Test the new wiper blades by turning on the wipers and checking for streaking or skipping. If the new wipers are not performing properly, check to make sure they are properly aligned and securely attached to the wiper arm
If you’re not comfortable with these steps, your next option would be to get them replaced by a professional.
How much does a windscreen wiper replacement cost?
The cost of replacing the windscreen wiper blades can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. On average, the cost of replacing windscreen wiper blades is between £10 and £25 per blade. However, the cost can be higher for luxury or high-performance vehicles.
Here are the average prices of wiper blades by brand of vehicle:
- Chevrolet: £10-£25
- Citroen: £10-£25
- Dodge: £10-£25
- Fiat: £10-£30
- Ford: £10-£30
- Hyundai: £10-£25
- Kia: £10-£25
- Mazda: £10-£30
- Mitsubishi: £10-£30
- Nissan: £10-£30
- Peugeot: £10-£25
- Renault: £10-£25
- Suzuki: £10-£25
- Volkswagen: £10-£40
- Jeep: £15-£35
- Subaru: £15-£35
- Honda: £15-£35
- BMW: £15-£50
- Audi: £20-£45
- Volvo: £20-£50
- Lexus: £20-£50
- Infiniti: £20-£50
- Mercedes-Benz: £20-£60
Please remember that these prices listed above are for guidance only and may vary based on various factors such as location, type of wiper blade and retailer. Need to get your wiper blades replaced?
Can the rear wiper cause an MOT failure?
This depends on whether your vehicle has a rear wiper attached to the vehicle.
Rear windscreen wipers are not a legal requirement for all vehicles in the UK and therefore their absence alone would not result in a car failing an MOT test.
However, if a car does have a rear wiper, it will be checked during an MOT test to ensure that it is in good working condition and that it effectively clears the rear windscreen. If the wiper blade is worn or damaged, or if the wiper arm is loose or not operating properly, this could result in the car failing the MOT test.
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