I am the viper. I come to vipe the vindows.
November 24, 2007 7:33 PM   Subscribe

When running the windshield wipers in my car, the center of the blades skid across the glass with an incredibly irritating sque-e-e-eking sound (sort of what it sounds like when you rub an inflated balloon with your hand). For some reason, the blades seem to be encountering friction on the glass, and they're skidding across rather than wiping smoothly (the amount of rain or wiper-fluid doesn't seem to make any difference). This results in a series of jaggy wet lines across the windshield, right across my field of view - not to mention the grating sound that is very nearly driving me insane. So what can I do about this? I've tried wiping off the blades and the glass by hand, but that rarely works for more than a day. Could I put WD-40 or some kind of lubricant on the blades, or would that just make things smudgier? What about something like Rain-X? If it matters, the car is a 2007 Honda.
posted by AngerBoy to Travel & Transportation (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Rain-X would help a lot... I use Rain-X, and never have problems like you describe with my 2000 Honda that sits out in the sun all the time.
posted by SpecialK at 7:34 PM on November 24, 2007

RainX works great, you won't need the wipers anymore but that doesn't solve the problem. Take the thing over to the dealership. I am guessing the car is still under warranty seeing how it is a 2007 model. There might be a tension setting that can be adjusted so the blade slides lighter along the glass.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:39 PM on November 24, 2007

Oh, and generally what this means is that there isn't enough water on your windows to, er, lubricate things. You might try turning the wipers to a lower setting, or alternately, try turning them off and only pushing down the lever to run them when you can't see. (RainX will help with this too. I never turn the wipers to 1, much less 2 or 3, these days.)
posted by SpecialK at 7:40 PM on November 24, 2007

N-thing the Rain-X.

Hadn't used the product for a while and applied it to my windshield just last week. Firstly, it's not necessary to use the wipers as much as under most conditions the rain and snow just rolls off. When wipers *are* required, it's all but completely eliminated the annoying wiper judder you've described.
posted by deCadmus at 7:42 PM on November 24, 2007

The model of car I have is well known for poor wiper behavior. That is comprehensively cured by using silicone wiper blades (mine are PIAA but there are several manufacturers). WD-40 isn't a good choice because it will help dust stick AND make a smeary mess.
posted by jet_silver at 7:49 PM on November 24, 2007

You might just need new wipers, and the silicone thing sounds interesting, as well as the tension. I don't know about the Rain-X, because it made my wipers start squeaking.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 7:56 PM on November 24, 2007

I replaced the wiper blades when my car was doing the same thing, and there was a big improvement.
posted by Jeanne at 8:02 PM on November 24, 2007

new wiper blades? they don't cost much.
posted by thinkingwoman at 8:04 PM on November 24, 2007

New wiper blades is the key--I replace mine every 6 months or so with the more expensive ones (not worth it to go cheap) and there's a huge difference.
posted by DMan at 8:08 PM on November 24, 2007

New wipers. They actually make specially curved wiper blades now, more flexible and such, so that they hug the contours of new cars' windshields better.

I applied Rain-X exactly once and spent an entire afternoon removing it. If you like really ghosty/foggy windshields when you put the wipers on, go for it, but it wasn't for me.
posted by sanka at 8:20 PM on November 24, 2007

Another vote for replacing your wiper blades every six months. They just don't work well for much longer than that (in fact, in my experience, even at six months it's a huge improvement when you replace them).
posted by winston at 8:26 PM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, try some new wipers, I had a car when i first moved north that liked different wipers once the temp dropped below a certain point. The 'standard' ones got stiff and didn't conform to the window as well...
posted by pupdog at 8:43 PM on November 24, 2007

Interesting. I have a 2006 Civic and the blades have just started doing this. It seems to be the blades themselves, and you should probably replace them about every eight months to a year. I believe it happens when the blades get more stiff due to exposure to the elements.

If you want to get Honda OEM blades at reasonable prices, check out College Hills Honda or H and A Accessories. I get the cabin air filters, normal air filters, and wiper blades for my vehicle from there. I've also purchased some of the OEM accessories, such as rubber floor mats (which I strongly recommend) and prices are always cheaper than any of the local dealers.
posted by c0nsumer at 8:55 PM on November 24, 2007

They actually make specially curved wiper blades now

The ones you want are the Bosch Icon. I have a set and they are great.
posted by kindall at 8:56 PM on November 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

My husband was the product manager for wiper blades at Bosch. We change ours every six months.
He says if you change your blades and you are still having issues - you likely have an issue with the tension on the arm or the arm could be bent.
He's also sitting next to me ranting about the evils of RainX - but we'll save that for some other time...
posted by Wolfie at 9:45 PM on November 24, 2007

Best answer: I never realize how bad my blades are until I get them replaced. Whatta difference! You should replace them now, especially since the rainy season is nigh and your old blades have been sitting in the sun all summer.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:52 PM on November 24, 2007

Best answer: AngerBoy, I have a 2006 civic. I just replaced my blades a month ago after they started making noise & they stopped. Maybe you drive more than me.

BTW, I went to the dealer and they just replaced the rubber bit, it was pretty cheap. I haven't seen that before & I didn't quite catch the terminology but apparently it's cheaper than getting the full blade assembly from schucks or something. It couldn't have been more than 2-3 bucks more than the online price & it'd be worth watching them do it at least once.
posted by Wood at 10:30 PM on November 24, 2007

Wolfie, maybe you could give us a couple of sentences about the evils of RainX? Like, why that wouldn't be a good solution for this kind of problem?
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:11 PM on November 24, 2007

New blades, especially if your car spends time parked in the sun. A bit of detergent in the wash bottle can help, too, but mainly: new blades.
posted by flabdablet at 1:21 AM on November 25, 2007

Every six months?

Holy crack cocaine of wiper blades.

I think I've replaced blades once every couple of years tops.
posted by so_ at 1:44 AM on November 25, 2007

Best answer: You can use a bit of sandpaper to scrub off surface oxidized dead rubber from a wiper blade - just lightly sand it, one stroke at a time on each side, the whole length of the blade, as if the wiper blade were a knife edge you were whetting, for 5 to 10 light strokes, on each side. But you then may also need to make sure the blade's rubber insert can move freely along its length against the 3 or 4 pressure distributing spring points of the blade. That can be a bit trickier, and if there is rust or corrosion on the metal strip of the wiper blade insert or on the 3 or 4 contact points of the wiper blade body, it's an impossible task. The wiper insert needs to move lengthwise in the blade spring mounts quite easily, in order to reliably conform to curved glass windshields, throughout the stroke length of the blade.

For that reason, in recent years, wiper refills are only supplied by some manufacturers as complete wiper blade cartridges, so that you get new springs and new insert strips together. Even if you have the choice of buying either complete cartridges or just inserts, unless you know your wiper blade springs are perfect, it makes sense, for the additional few dollars involved, to replace complete cartridges, instead of just buying insert refills.

And if you have a commute that calls for regular driving into a setting or rising sun, stay away from Rain-X.
posted by paulsc at 3:17 AM on November 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think I've replaced blades once every couple of years tops.

Yikes! Mine get smeary and streaky after six months or so, so I replace them pretty often. It's cheap, and means you can see in the rain, so I don't understand why one would avoid replacing them (unless you lived somewhere where it didn't rain, or somehow have found amazing wiper blades that don't wear out).

I do it myself, but the guys at the local NAPA are happy to do it for you, and I suspect other car parts places are similar.
posted by Forktine at 6:38 AM on November 25, 2007

Just a note, in that it can be extremely easy to replace wiper blades by yourself. A guy at the dealership, when I had my car in actually just showed rather then pay them to do such a simple thing. Usually, its just a snap and click sort of deal. You'll probably need a flat head screwdriver or something to undo the snap part (press down on something) to get them off, then you just slide the new ones on and SNAP.
posted by Atreides at 7:04 AM on November 25, 2007

Atreides, that "snap" deal is how I've always replaced wiper blades in the past. However, with my 2006 the replacement part was just a floppy piece of rubber. There was no snapping. It was more like sliding the old rubber out, along with a metal spine and then sliding the new rubber with the old spine back into the blade assembly.
posted by Wood at 9:20 AM on November 25, 2007

Response by poster: Sweetness. Thanks, all.

I spoke to my next-door neighbor as well, and he confirms what HotPatatta says above: the combination of Texas sun and a quick-onset frost in the late fall apparently wreak havoc on the soft rubber of the wiper blades.

I'm gonna try paulsc's sandpaper hack first (if only because it sounds wicked cool), then pick up a new pair o' blades.

Thanks again, guys.
posted by AngerBoy at 10:33 AM on November 27, 2007

« Older College Admissions process?   |   Where to buy emergency kit items and water rations... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.