Car Care: Stay singing in the rain
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Here’s your windscreen 101 to prevent vision impairment.
If your wipers smear in both directions, your blades are probably dirty or worn, your windscreen may be dirty or your wash fluid could be contaminated.
If your blades aren’t old, they probably just need a clean with a cloth dipped in hot, soapy water. Rubbing the blade with alcohol afterwards will also work wonders.
If the smearing is in one direction, it could be because your blades are too hard, or the wrong size. Either way, if this is the case, they’ll need replacing.
Water beading is supposed to be a good thing, helping water slide off the windscreen. This is what windscreen wash additive does.
If the water is clinging to the glass obscuring your vision, it may be due to a build up of pollution, residue or grime on the windscreen, causing water beads to stick.
Give the screen a good clean and ensure your washer fluid is up to strength. If you want a longer-term solution, you can even treat the screen with a water repellent such as Rain-X.
The sound of wipers screeching or chattering against the windscreen is bad enough, but it also leaves a smear across the face of the screen.
Once again, this can be attributed to a dirty screen or blades, but can also be a result of a bent wiper arm reducing the blade tension or wiper angle, preventing the blade from doing its job.
Your service technician can help with this.
Lack of washer fluid
The wiper wash motor can sit immersed in water in summer with barely any use so, when winter falls, it may need some gentle persuasion to reactivate.
If it fails to operate, give it a tap with something hard.
Lack of use may also result in the motor struggling to operate properly, squirting a dribble that won’t come close to reaching your windscreen.
If this is the case, first take a look inside the wash bottle. Open the lid and take a whiff as your nose will be the best guide to telling you whether the fluid has gone stale and turned to glue.
If this happens, it’s best to remove and flush out the bottle and lines, and fill them with fresh water and a good windscreen additive.
It’s worth noting that it’s not a good idea to mix solution types. They may not be compatible, and can cause these types of problems. You have been warned.
The last thing to check is the windscreen squirter nozzles, especially after the car has just been polished. Dirt can get stuck in the opening and block the jets.
An easy fix is to take a pin and clean them out, but be careful not to disturb the nozzle alignment.
Like lights, wipers are one of those fundamental functions that you don’t think about unless something goes wrong and you find yourself struggling to see out of the windscreen.
Regular maintenance and a keen eye (and nose) are the best ingredients to keep these problems at bay.