When was the last time you had a conversation about your windshield wipers? Well here in the San Francisco East Bay we are now in the fall season and rain is right around the corner, here are a few things to think about as the rainy season approaches.
- Ensure your windshield is clean so your wipers will work more efficiently. Any stuck on bugs or other debris will inhibit your wipers from clearing the windshield, making it tough to see, and can even damage the wiper blade
- Inspect your wiper inserts, the rubber portion, and check for any cracking and that the wiper edge is not dull or square.
- Inspect you wiper blade, the metal portion. Make sure all the hinge points are not frozen or rusted and the blade still provides good tension on the windshield.
If you find any concerns with the items listed about what can you do? First lets talk about the glass itself. A clean and well maintained glass is the first step to be able to see as you drive in the rain this winter. Start by cleaning the glass with a sponge and soapy water. Then run you hand across it, it should feel smooth like a freshly washed dish. If you feel any bumps or your hand does not glide across easily think about how difficult it will be for your wipers to clear the windshield at 60 mph! So you do feel some surface tension, what can you do now? The simple solution that works 90% of the time is a “scrunge”, you know that sponge/scrubber you have in the kitchen. Take an old one and use the scrubber to really get the glass clean. You should be able to feel the difference when you are done. In extreme cases you can use steel wool and car polish to really get a windshield back in shape but I would save these advanced techniques for the pros! One important note: Glass can and will scratch if you use something to abrasive. If you would not use it to wash your good dishes then I wouldn’t use it on your windshield.
OK my windshield is clean and smooth, now what? New wipers work amazing on a fresh clean glass and it is recommended to replace your wipers every 6 months. Now if you live up north where it rains 9 months out of the year I can see doing that but here in the San Francisco East bay we only get rain maybe 5 months out of the year so you really only need to do them once. Here at BMW Concord we recommend you replace them right around October. This is early enough to catch any fall showers and not so early that the hot sun will bake your new wipers.
Some may ask should you buy OEM or Aftermarket? OEM wipers inserts are made to fit correctly so you won’t have to force them into the blade, this is important because you do not want the wiper insert to interfere with the blade hinge points. An improper fitted insert will provided inconsistent tension, you will get the center wiped clear and the edges not at all. They are manufactured to fit your BMW’s windshield so you can be sure they will give you a consistent clear view. The wipers are engineered to fit the glass correctly taking into account the windshield surface area and convex. this is not to say that all aftermarket wipers are bad. We here at BMW Concord feel that no matter what you drive, Toyota, Lexus, Mercedes, Audi, or even GM the wipers were manufactured by the car company to fit that car and not a general wiper that will fit most anything.
I read an article on how to replaced your wipers. The article shows you step by step directions on how to replace your wiper inserts. I find this to be a good set of directions for most “do it yourself” people and if you don’t feel comfortable replacing them you can always pull into our service drive, purchase them from parts and we will install them free of charge. We will even inspect your windshield. If your under the BMW Ultimate Service plan remember that an annual wiper insert replacement is free of charge.
For all of you snow lovers, don’t forget to get your washer fluid mixture checked. The importance of washer fluid is to ensure the fluid in the container does not freeze. The mixture should be 50/50 water & washer fluid. The fluid also adds a nice smell and will blast the road dirt off so the wiper can continue to clear the windshield.
Happy travels !!