Five tips on wiper care for your car
The Corona lockdown has resulted in many unused and dirty cars. The monsoons and rainy season have also arrived, so here are five tips for an unused car's wiper care.
1) Clean Windscreen and Wiper Blades:
Windscreen wipers are amongst few of the features in an automobile that see seasonal use in a tropical country like India. For most of the year you may not use them all that much, but come the monsoons, and they become very important safety features. Visibility reduces in the rains and it's the wipers that play a very crucial role in keeping the windscreen clean.
In the recent lockdown many vehicles have been sitting out in the sun gathering dirt. So before you use the wipers, it's advisable to first remove all the dirt and debris as they can get between the wiper blade and windscreen and not only scratch the glass, but also damage the blade. So once you have cleaned the windscreen with water and soap or a shampoo, apply some glass cleaner too. Then clean the wiper blades properly with a clean cloth soaked in soapy water. Using hot water works better on the rubber blades.
2) Smoothen Rough Edges:
Wiper blades tend to gather dirt and grit when they sweep across the windscreen and over time, this can cause small deformities and unevenness in the rubber blades. If it's really bad, replacing the blades may be the only option.
Personally I always like to try a DIY (do it yourself) solution. These days you get wiper blade restoration tools for around Rs 500 or so. You can just run the blade through this tool to smoothen away the rough edges. Or you could gently wipe down the blades with a fine grade sandpaper. This removes any accumulation of dirt and also exposes a fresh bit of rubber. This helps the blades move the water out in a better manner and also prevents any streaking.
3) Moisten and Soften the Rubber:
The hot Indian summer can make the rubber of the wiper blades harden and this could result in cracks or loss of some flexibility. Again if it's really bad, you might have no option but to replace the blades. Or you could try softening the rubber by applying petroleum jelly, more commonly known as Vaseline. Petroleum jelly is a mixture of natural waxes and mineral oils and is very versatile with excellent lubricating and moisturizing properties. So just put a bit of petroleum jelly on a piece of cloth, and wipe it all over the rubber. Pull the wipers back from the windscreen and let the jelly soak into the rubber for about 30 minutes. This should soften the rubber and improve its grip on the windscreen glass, which will also enhance its cleaning performance.
4) Tighten Wiper Arms:
This is something one should do before the onset of the monsoons because now you will be using the wipers far more frequently and do not want the pivot nuts to be loose. So first remove the plastic dust cap covering the nut with a screwdriver and then tighten the nut with a spanner.
In case it's already tight and does not move, do not overtighten it.
5) Spray WD-40 on Wiper Arm Springs:
The wiper arm springs put tension on the arms and assist in better contact between the wiper blades and the windshield. For me the multi-purpose spray WD-40, is an amazing tool with some great properties. Spraying it on the wiper arm springs will loosen any rust and free any stuck portions and help the spring function better.
Once you have sprayed the WD-40 lift the wiper blade off the windscreen and then release it and allow it to hit the glass. This spring action will adjust the tension in the wiper arms and ensure better contact between the blades and windscreen.