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5 Signs Your Wiper Blades Need To Be Replaced

The function of a wiper blade is a humble, yet important job for your vehicle. The vast majority of time, it sits quiet on your windshield waiting to be forced into action when needed. Anytime there is Rain, Snow, Hail, Ice, Dirt, or Bugs on your windshield; the wiper blade performs its duty to clear your windshield making sure you see clearly when driving.

The more I think about it, wiper blades are kinda like the football player that holds the ball for kickers in the NFL. You don't think about them until they mess up!

When Wiper Blades Go Bad

Similarly, drivers never seem to proactively replace their wiper blades until they notice an undeniable difference in the performance of their wiper blades. It turns out, wiper blades should be replaced more often than you think! Major manufacturers and auto experts recommend every 6 months to a year. Of course, this depends how much you drive, where you live and how well you maintain your wiper blades.

Here are 5 Common Signs that drivers experience when their wiper blades are failing:

1. Your Wiper Blades Are Streaking and Smearing

Streaking Wiper Blades

When the rubber portion of your wiper blade begins to age, you will notice the rubber has hardened or cracked in certain areas. If you don't notice any of these problems on your wiper blades, check your windshield. Tree Sap, road grime/tar and other sticky substances on your windshield can cause your wiper blades to streak that material all over.

2. Your Wiper Blades Are Skipping

Skipping Chattering Wiper Blades


Skipping wiper blades is a bit trickier to diagnose. There are a possible reasons why your wiper blades may be doing this on your vehicle windshield.

  • The sun or other chemicals may have dried the rubber out on your wiper blades, dulling the edges.
  • If you haven't used your wiper blades in a while, such as leaving them in the parked position. The blades will temporarily stick to the curvature of the windshield due to long term heat exposure. This may cause the wiper frame to lose contact on other parts of the windshield where the curvature of the glass has changed.
  • Your windshield can have a thin film of sap, grim or other acidic materials that will dull the edges of the wiper blade causing it to skip.

    3. Your Wiper Blades Rubber Edge Has Worn Out

    Worn Out Wiper Blades

    This is probably the most common and easiest problem to recognize. When the rubber squeegee has dulled, the edge of the blade no longer makes a clean wipe on your windshield. Instead, it spreads the water on your windshield like a bread knife putting butter on bread. Of all the potential wiper blade problems, this issue tends to create the most hazardous driving conditions for drivers. Not being able to see through your windshield is extremely stressful. To make matters worse, most drivers tend to recognize this problem in the middle of a strong storm when driving. It's best to replace your wiper blades asap. 

    4. The Rubber On Your Wiper Frame has cracks

    Cracked Rubber Wiper Blades

    Imagine you sitting in the sun all day from dusk till dawn for a year straight. Your skin would be pretty dry wouldn't it? This is exactly what's happening to your wiper blades. No matter how strong the rubber in your wiper blade is, with time, the sun always wins. Depending on the quality of your wiper blades, cracks will begin to show in the rubber within a year of use. You can combat this by cleaning your wiper blades often which keeps them lubricated over time. Kinda like putting lotion on your skin, it won't stop the inevitable aging of your wiper blades but the preventative maintenance will go a long ways to preserving your wipers rubber.

    5. Your Metal Wiper Frame is Bent or Damaged

    5 Common Wiper Blade Problems

    If your your vehicle has traditional conventional wiper blades like the ones in the picture above, this is a common problem seen by many drivers. These types of wiper blades are more rigid than premium beam style wiper blades. As a result, they can easily bend when left in frozen snow and ice. Once the wiper blade is bent, you will notice inconsistent contact with your windshield resulting in poor wiping performance. Unfortunately, once they are bent, it's really tough to bend them back into the position they were when you first purchased them. At Otto, we don't sell these types of wiper blades. While they be more economical than a premium wiper blade, we are able to build and sell our premium wiper blades at a consumer friendly price!


    Regardless of all the potential wiper blade problems noted above, it's best practice to proactively replace your windshield wiper blades once or twice per year.

    When inspecting your wiper blades, make sure to look at the rubber squeegee portion and the wiper frame for wear and tear. Doing so will help you avoid common wiper blade problems like streaking, smearing, skipping, chattering and splitting. Each one of these problems is dangerous and can lead to reducing your visibility and reaction time when driving. 

    If you're planning to replace twice per year, we recommend changing them in the Fall and Spring. This ensures your wiper blades will perform optimally in the middle of Winter along with the weather swings that the Spring can bring. If you live in less active climates such as the Southwest, a good rule of thumb is once per year. Even if you don't get much rain, the hot sun mixed with standard debris and other contaminants on the road can wear down your wiper blades over time.

    High performing windshield wiper blades are just as important to your car as changing your oil and tires. Remind yourself to inspect your wiper blades often and change your wiper blades at least once a year for optimal driving visibility. 

    If you're in the market to replace wiper blades for your vehicle, check us out at We carry premium beam wiper blades for all makes and models. All wiper blades come with free shipping along with our industry leading 100 Day Test Drive! This gives you the ability to test drive our wiper blades in all weather conditions for up 100 days. If you're not happy with the performance of our wiper blades, you can send them back for a full refund.

    Drive Safe and Enjoy The Roads!

    The Otto Team


    Otto's Garage

    5 Signs Your Windshield Wiper Blades Need To Be Replaced