2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
With the end of summer, the time for windshield wipers begins again. To avoid rubbing and squeaking, the rubber lips in particular should be examined before use.
By Heiko Haupt
You could think of it as an act of revenge: When the rain suddenly patters from dark clouds onto the car, the windshield wiper, which has often been ignored for several weeks before, acknowledges the request to start work with clearly audible scratching noises and leaves streaks that can hardly be seen through instead of a clear glass surface. That could be prevented if drivers were to take care of this often ignored add-on part of their car. After all, windshield wipers are faced with major tasks again in autumn and winter.
Remove residues on the disc
From scratching to squeaking, the range of noises a windshield wiper can make is extensive. And in the long run it is annoying for the driver. However, the reasons for this are easy to analyze. If it's a new car or one with fresh wiper blades, the reason for the noise is usually not the material. Rather, from the last car wash - presumably with wax treatment - there are still residues of such seals or care products on the window. Thorough removal of residues with suitable cleaning agents prevents the noises - and helps to improve visibility.
However, such noises often occur with older wipers. Behind this is the fact that the fine rubber lips on the wiper blades also age. "Over time, the rubber becomes harder, for example from exposure to sunlight," explains Stephan Kraus from the manufacturer Bosch in Stuttgart.
99 percent at rest
This increasing hardness of the material is also problematic because the wipers spend around 99 percent of the life of the car in the rest position. “The so-called parking location is always the same,” says Kraus. This means that in the rest position the rubber lip rests on the disc at an angle in one direction for a very long time until the next use is due. A prerequisite for perfect wiper operation, however, is that the rubber adapts to the respective direction of travel of the wiper and folds down accordingly.
“The familiar rubbing occurs because the rubber lip, which has become harder, no longer folds over,” explains Kraus. The wiper bumps slightly over the glass, which leads to a scratching noise. Squeaking can have a similar cause: the wiper scrapes the windshield with an incorrectly folded rubber lip.
With regard to the state of aging, a look at the windshield wiper can help: "The manufacturer often has adhesive dots on the wiper arms," says Arnulf Thiemel from the ADAC technology center in Landsberg (Bavaria). These stickers are black when new, then fade over time and turn orange or yellowish. If such a color change can be seen, it should at least be tested whether the wiper is still working properly.
Another well-known and unpleasant phenomenon are streaks or streaks of dirt left behind after the wiping process. The main cause here is not the age of the wiper, but mostly ignorance and improper use: a new rubber wiper has a very fine and sensitive edge. Especially after the summer months with plenty of insect corpses on the windshield, damage may have occurred here, which is responsible for any streaks. "Insects usually have hard chitin shells that have a destructive effect on the edges of the wipers when the remains have dried on the windshield," says Thiemel. Therefore, when removing with the windshield wiper, the water from the wipe-wash system should be used extensively - cleaning the windshield by hand at a gas station is even better.
Consideration or "acts of revenge"
According to Alfred Fuhr from the Automobile Club of Germany (AvD) in Frankfurt / Main, there will be another “killer” for windscreen wipers in the colder months that follow: “If a frozen wiper is simply switched on, the micro-edge of the rubber can be torn or torn."
A frozen window is therefore not cleaned with water and a windscreen wiper. Ice or snow are removed with the scraper beforehand. The heating and ventilation should then warm up the windscreen so that the contact point of the wiper thaws. Those who do not show such consideration have to be prepared for further acts of revenge by the damaged wiper. (dpa / tmn)
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