How can I find great-quality windshield wiper blades?
February 2, 2006 6:10 PM   Subscribe

How can I find out who makes great-quality windshield wiper blades?

I live in Seattle, and it's been raining for about a month and a half straight now. Stock wiper blades on my '03 Honda Accord are not bad, but they're getting old.

What I USED to do in that situation is just listen to whatever sales-pitch the oil-change-people would give about "great wiper technology" and after a week they'd start streaking & squeaking and I would quietly seeth at my gullibility. Those days are over.

I'm skeptical of any information on a manufacturer's website, but can't seem to find any Consumer-Reports-like comparison about what makes blades "quality" or not, or any "user reviews" of particular makes & models (like I was easily able to find with, say, tires)

I don't mind paying for quality. I just spent $600 for 4 Goodyear TripleTred tires (#1 Consumer Reports-rated) for their longevity and the confidence that I'm going to be able to stop at least as fast as the person in front of me on the rainy freeway.

Good would be some firsthand reviews of particular blades (especially if the reviewers have also had some experience with BAD blades).

Better would be links to sites or articles that independently compare and review them according to qualitative measures, especially as it relates to heavy use & rain (as opposed to snow, I guess, which we don't get much of)... or message-boards or topics that deal with this issue.

Any ideas?
posted by stuckie to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There's a couple of manufacturers making silicone wiper blades now - same idea as the silicone baking pans, oven mitts and so on. I haven't tried them, but was planning to try a set the next time I need new wipers.

Are they any better? I don't know. But they sure do cost more, and that must mean they're better, right? :)
posted by jellicle at 6:38 PM on February 2, 2006

Get some Rain-X, try some wipers, try a different kind next time if you don't like them, repeat. You're way overthinking a fairly trivial (wrt. cost) purchase, especially since you're not going to do badly with whatever top-of-the-line Bosch or whatever brand you can find anyway.
posted by kcm at 6:54 PM on February 2, 2006

Review of siliblade, which apparently has a 5 yr warranty. And a discussion here, which mentions teflon blades. A person on the thread here suggest just replacing your blades really frequently instead of investing in high cost blades.

my personal windshield wiper review: Whatever blades they suckered me into buying at JiffyLube are crap. The part that doesn't wipe is about a third of the way up on the left wiper, which leaves an unwiped water smear right at eyelevel. So yeah, don't buy those.
posted by neda at 7:10 PM on February 2, 2006

I had really poor performance from Bosch blades, which I bought because of the brand name and the extra cost (supposed to indicate quality, right?) I replaced them with garden variety Amco and started using RainX. Excellent performance now, in rain, slush and snow.
posted by RMALCOLM at 7:51 PM on February 2, 2006

I'm very happy with my Bosch blades.
posted by I Love Tacos at 7:52 PM on February 2, 2006

(FWIW, the Bosch blades I have are OEM spec and not for a Honda. Surprised to see somebody posted that Bosch is bad, while I was writing my pro-Bosch post)
posted by I Love Tacos at 7:53 PM on February 2, 2006

I am from Seattle, too, and like you, I always seem to regret trying out new blades. The solution for me was going back to OEM blades from the (Honda) dealer. Changing them frequently also helps. So does keeping the windshield clean. ;)

Rain-X does help, but I don't like the process of applying it to the windshield. (Call me lazy.) The Rain-X effect is pretty cool, though, if you've never seen it.

How do you like your TripleTreds? I almost got those but opted for the Michelin HydroEdge instead (Costco). So far, after a couple weeks in our seemingly non-stop rainy weather, I've come to appreciate HydroEdge's wet/rain performance!
posted by Mike C. at 8:14 PM on February 2, 2006

These are intruiging (in a too-good-to-be-true sorta way). They're cheap, and have a lifetime guarantee. If you try 'em and they work, let me know.
posted by Oddly at 8:22 PM on February 2, 2006

I've had really good luck with buying the "spring loaded" blades, from various manufacturers. I think they are designed more for snow, but they work great for heavy rain.
posted by fshgrl at 8:52 PM on February 2, 2006

I had surprisingly good results with Rain-X wiper fluid. It acted pretty much like Rain-X but with zero additional effort.
posted by smackfu at 8:58 PM on February 2, 2006

Ditto to smackfu - the Rain-X wiper fluid additive works a treat, is relatively inexpensive, and seems to nullify bad wipers. The squeegee effect is way less important, as the rubber or silicone or whatever is just nudging the Rain-X'ed water out of the way.
posted by ZakDaddy at 9:18 PM on February 2, 2006

This is just anecdotal but I've had good luck with Trico brand blades and replacements. Buy the unit for each side once then you can buy just blades for like $10 for a pair of the nice Teflon coated. I experience the same situations you do down here in Oregon, wipers simply don't last as long with tons of rain and road crud being forced on them all winter/spring/summer/fall.
posted by asterisk at 11:04 PM on February 2, 2006

Mike C. writes "How do you like your TripleTreds? I almost got those but opted for the Michelin HydroEdge instead (Costco). So far, after a couple weeks in our seemingly non-stop rainy weather, I've come to appreciate HydroEdge's wet/rain performance!

We're really hijacking the thread, but I bought the Fortera TripleTreds a couple months ago for my RAV4 right after reading Consumer Reports. I live in Michigan and have had plenty of opportunity to test them. It is absolutely superb in dealing with wet and snow. The difference compared to the OEM tires is simply amazing. It is also much much better on ice, but still does not give you complete control (there is still some skidding, albeit much much less). The criticisms I have would be the noticibly harder ride and the somewhat increased tire noise.
posted by tuxster at 6:47 AM on February 3, 2006

Rain-Ex works long as you remember to re-apply it regularly. Rain-Ex now makes wiper blades now, too.

I really like Bosch Micro-Edge blades. The big problem I have with them is that the local auto parts places no longer carry the wiper refills. When I need to replace the rubber, I now have to purchase a complete blade. Truly sucks. But the ruber refills the do carry are crap, IMHO.

Just stay away from Trico blades. Utter suckage. Nice and cheap, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:02 AM on February 3, 2006

Speaking of Consumer Reports, their conclusion after testing a bunch of wiper blades was that the dealers' blades are generally superior to those you can buy elsewhere.

And Rain-X in any form is a major boon, even if 60 Minutes doesn't think so.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:03 AM on February 3, 2006

First step is that you should change your wiper blades every six months. If you haven't been doing this, then this will make a huge difference -- much more than the difference between different brands.

If you drive through snow regularly in the winter, you should have winter blades in the winter and summer blades in the summer.
posted by winston at 11:25 AM on February 3, 2006

If you don't like applying Rain-X (I certainly don't), check your local car washes. A number of them will Rain-X your windshield for $2-3, or your whole car for $5.
posted by I Love Tacos at 1:57 PM on February 3, 2006

You mean all the glass in the car, rather than the whole car, right? Does that include the headlights and mirrors?

You can extend the life of wipers some by applying silicone spray to the rubber periodically. Don't spray it on the glass, though.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:55 PM on February 3, 2006

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