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The Different Kinds of Windscreen Wipers

The Different Kinds of Windscreen Wipers

While you will need a professional to fit a new windscreen, windscreen wipers are something that you can fit and remove as you please. This is a great thing, as windscreen wipers need to be replaced regularly – certainly more regularly than most people think they do!

Why? Well, your windscreen wipers take quite the battering throughout the year. Whether they’re removing snow in the winter, rain in the spring or pollen and insects in the summer, they’re always working overtime to ensure your windscreen is clear enough for you to spot any hazards coming your way. And given that the majority of road traffic accidents are caused by poor visibility, it’s not difficult to see why it’s important to ensure your wipers are always functioning their best.

In this guide, the 1st Call Windscreens team will be covering the anatomy of a windscreen wiper, how often they need replacing and the three main types in depth so you can decide what would best suit you and your vehicle.

The signs that you need to replace your windscreen wipers

The rubber used for the edge of your windscreen wipers has been specifically designed to withstand a battering from the elements, but unfortunately it’s still going to deteriorate over time. Here are some telltale signs that the rubber on your wipers has begun to perish:

  • Your wipers have started to shake or judder when in motion.
  • Your wipers are noisy when in motion, regardless of whether they are dry or wet.
  • When you run your hand along the rubber, you can feel tears or bumps.
  • Your wipers just aren’t clearing away rain and debris as efficiently as they used to.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you can also fail your MOT if your wiper blades aren’t deemed to be effective enough, so don’t pay for any extra MOT tests when you don’t need to – get your wipers fixed as soon as they need it.

The anatomy of a windscreen wiper

the anatomy of a windscreen wiper

In order to extend, wipe and neatly fold away in the clever way they do, windscreen wipers need to have a number of different functioning parts. These are as follows:

  • Arm – usually made of metal, the arm connects to the blade and forms the main structure of the wiper.
  • Blade – the wiper blade is fitted with a strip of chloroprene rubber to ensure there’s no damage to the windscreen and as much debris as possible can be removed with each swipe.
  • Connectors – the connectors are used to fix the blade and the arm together. Use the wrong connectors and the wiper won’t operate smoothly.
  • Spoiler – the spoiler is fitted to the driver’s side on certain wipers to improve aerodynamics, as well as to ensure the wiper stays flush with the windscreen.

The different types of windscreen wipers

There are three main types of windscreen wipers that you need to know before you start shopping around, these are: standard wiper blades, flat wiper blades and hybrid wiper blades. Let’s take a look at each:

Standard – For many years, standard wiper blades were the most common type to be fitted to new vehicles and are probably what springs to mind when you think of windscreen wipers. They consist of both metal and plastic, and feature a very clear bridge that runs across the top of the wiper that creates a sort of bow-like aesthetic.

standard windscreen wiper Standard windscreen wiper

Standard blades tend to be the bulkiest of the three types and are often fitted with additional features, such as a spoiler on the driver’s side wipe to improve aerodynamic performance and a spray system for cars that have the washer jets attached to the wipers rather than the bottom of the windscreen.

If your car came with standard or conventional windscreen wipers in the first place, you will be pleased to know that you can swap them out for either of the other types of windscreen wipers, so you have a great deal of flexibility.

Flat – Flat windscreen wipers are essentially the new standard for windscreen wipers and you will see many new vehicles fitted with them. They have a much slimmer profile than standard wiper blades thanks to the removal of that bridge, meaning that they block less of the driver’s visual field and create much less noise. The shape is also more uniform across the structure of the wiper which, in turn, improves aerodynamic performance.

Flat windscreen wiper Flat windscreen wiper

It’s also worth noting that if your vehicle came fitted with flat windscreen wipers in the first place, you can only replace them with another set of flat windscreen wipers, or you can choose a hybrid set. This is fine though, as flat windscreen wipers tend to outperform conventional ones anyway.

Hybrid – Hybrid windscreen wipers are essentially a combination of both flat windscreen wipers and conventional wipers. This means that you get the slimmer profile of the flat wiper coupled with the spoiler and aerodynamic features of a conventional wiper. Like the conventional wiper, the spoiler on a hybrid wiper will only be on the driver’s side and ensures that the rubber edge maintains constant pressure on the windscreen for maximum performance.

Hybrid windscreen wipers Hybrid windscreen wipers

What’s the right type of windscreen wiper for me?

In terms of price, you probably won’t see much of a difference between the different types of wiper blades, so your best bet is to choose based on the style you prefer and, of course, what type of wiper can actually be fitted to your vehicle.

Most new vehicles can be fitted with flat wiper blades, so if you own a fairly new vehicle, we would recommend choosing this type as it offers great wiper performance as well as a clearer visual field. Hybrid wipers are also great though, so if you see a set that you would like, this could still be a good option for you.

The only reason we would recommend choosing conventional wipers would be if your vehicle requires you to stick to the wiper arm washer jet system. However, this would be a particularly niche scenario.

1st Call Windscreens are the leading windscreen repair and replacement specialists throughout the areas of Maidstone, Sittingbourne and the broader Kent area. We offer a fully mobile service, so no matter where you are – be it at home or out on the road – we can come to you and repair your windscreen. We’re all about making your experience as smooth as possible, so we can bill your insurer directly too. For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today – you can give us a call or use our handy online contact form.

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