By Gail Marsh
One very important RV maintenance project is keeping your windshield wipers in good working order. If it’s not already on your maintenance to-do list, consider that the American Optometric Association reports that 90% of all driving decisions are based solely on visual cues.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to ensure a clear view no matter what weather Mother Nature throws at you:
Do these for your windshield and wipers…
- Remove leaves and other debris from the bottom of the windshield where the wipers sit when not in use. Always keep this area clean.
- Give those wiper blades a good scrubbing. You can use soapy water and shop towels. Extend the wiper away from the windshield. Using a clean towel, rub up and down on the wiper blade, changing the towel frequently. When you no longer see dirt or grime, give each blade a quick wipe of denatured alcohol to condition them.
- Keep your windshield clean. Wash it each time you put gas/diesel in your vehicle. While you’re at it, clean the wipers, too. Simply wipe them down with a wet, clean towel.
- Upgrade to a better glass cleaner and wiper fluid. Household glass cleaner is not as effective in cleaning off road grime, oil, and bugs as a specially formulated auto glass cleaner. Some wiper fluids contain additives that will both condition the wiper blades as well as help the blades glide smoothly over the windshield.
- Lift wipers when you hand-scrape ice or snow off the windshield.
- Park in the shade when possible. A garage or covered space can also protect your wipers from damage due to extreme heat and/or cold temperatures which can degrade the rubber.
- If you won’t be using your windshield wipers for a month or more, keep them lifted off the windshield.
Don’t do these to your windshield and wipers…
- Never run the wipers on a dry windshield.
- Don’t use wipers to clean ice off the windshield unless absolutely necessary. Let the defroster do the job instead.
- Never let the wiper fluid reservoir run dry. You never know when you may need it.
- Don’t ignore wiper “chatter.” Check to see that the wipers are parallel to the windshield. If they aren’t, use some pliers to gently reposition (bend) the wiper arm.
- Some mechanics say that a combination silicone-rubber based windshield wiper will last longer than those you normally find at Walmart or your local auto parts store. These special wiper blades tend to be more flexible and not as apt to tear or degrade as quickly.
- Not sure what size wiper you need? Check your vehicle owner’s manual or ask your mechanic.
- Never learned how to change your wiper blades? Many auto parts stores will install them for you. Pay attention as they work so you can do it yourself next time.
- Speaking of next time … windshield manufacturers recommend replacing your wiper blades twice a year. Maybe some of the do’s/don’ts offered here will help extend the life of your blades. Make it a habit to check your wiper blades frequently, just to make sure they are in tip-top condition.