Driving with wiper blades that aren’t clearing properly can be more than just frustrating; it can be dangerous. Streaks and sections that don’t clear can obstruct your clear view of the road. Normally this is caused by bad wiper blades that need to be replaced. The rubber edge is torn or nicked and water is able to sneak by without being wiped away.
Bad windshield wiper blades can cause more than just streaks on your windshield. Torn wiper blades or wipers missing the rubber blade edge can often leave deep scratches on your windshield. Many wiper blades used today have thin metal strips in the wiper blade that can make contact with the windshield and cause scratches as well. The scratches left on the windshield:
- Are just as distracting as streaks
- Reflect sunlight and headlight beams from other traffic
- Channel water past wiper blades
- Can cause premature wear of new wiper blades
In some cases where the scratches are really minor, it may be possible to polish the scratches out of the glass. The process is quite delicate, and polishing your windshield can cause it to warp, distort, or even shatter if not done correctly. You may only be able to minimize the appearance and effects of the scratches in the windshield, even if they are only minor.
If you notice that your windshield wipers are in poor condition, the rubber blade edge is torn or hanging off, or leave streaks on your windshield, have them replaced right away.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Can Bad Wipers Damage or Scratch the Windshield? and was authored by Jason Unrau.