Know your wiper blades

Know your wiper blades

wiper blades photoDENSO Aftermarket Sales UK is encouraging mechanics to familiarise themselves with the many types of wiper blades to ensure they are offering the best advice to drivers come the wet winter months.

DENSO’s Technical Expert, Alan Povey explains a few simple ways of identifying quality wiper blade types. He said: “At first glance most wiper blades all look the same, but on closer inspection there are a number of simple identifiers that easily separates quality blades from poor alternatives. It is essential to understand this difference, as wiper blades have an essential role to play in ensuring the safety of those in the vehicle. If the wipers should fail then visibility from the vehicle is greatly compromised, therefore it is essential to have wiper blades that perform to their maximum efficiency.”

Several points of contact
A good quality blade should have between six and eights points of contact along the blade. This enables maximum surface area contact, meaning the blade will be more effective. Poor quality blades can have as few as three points of contact, ultimately meaning that much of the blade length is wasted and inefficient at cleaning the windscreen, and therefore increasing the risk of accident.

Natural versus synthetic material
The material of which a wiper blade is made of is hugely important. Synthetic or composite materials are less stable and are prone to degrading quicker.  New rubber material is ideal for use as a wiper blade, as it is strong, flexible and long lasting. Synthetic materials may be cheaper but the long term value far outweighs the initial outlay for a rubber blade.

When considering the harness of the blade, look out for hard wearing metal rather than plastic casing. Plastics are not photostable; therefore constant exposure to sunlight will speed up the degradation of the plastic.

Thickness of blade harness
The blade harness is vital in ensuring the blade itself stays in place and maintains contact with the windscreen. A thicker harness provides additional support as opposed to a thin harness, which is often a characteristic of cheaper, poor quality alternatives.

Industry standards
All wiper blades sold in the UK must pass the industry standard of a 1000 hour salt water test. This test identifies areas of weakness such as corrosion of materials, weakening of connections and discolouration. Any blade that has not passed this test should not be used on a vehicle as they could ultimately compromise visibility.

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