Maintaining Your Wipers and Washer Fluid
Under the hood of your vehicle is a plastic container that contains the fluid for your windshield wipers. Is it full of liquid? If not, you can fill it with any one of a variety of windshield washer solutions — you can even use a home window cleaner. Just don’t use detergent, which can leave a residue that can plug up your lines. Plus, it isn’t easy to drive with suds all over your windshield!
Pay attention to the kind of windshield washer fluid you use. Some are concentrated, which means that you need to mix them with water before adding them to the reservoir. If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, consider a premixed washer solution that contains antifreeze. This solution comes in quart and gallon sizes and keeps your windshield clean while preventing the liquid from freezing up in cold weather.
If your wipers have been making a mess of your windshield, buy new blades or new inserts for them. The rubber wiper inserts are inexpensive and usually just slide into place. The metal blades into which the inserts fit are a little more expensive, but if your old ones look corroded or generally aren’t in good shape, you should replace them as well. Consult your owner’s manual or auto parts store for the type and size of blades you need and for instructions on inserting the blades if you can’t figure out the instructions on the package. Be aware that some vehicles have different-sized wipers for the driver and passenger sides and that other vehicles have only one wiper. If your vehicle has a rear window wiper, don’t forget to check that, too.
To avoid being caught in a downpour with no visibility, change your blades after a hot summer, before an annual rainy season, or at least twice a year.