snowy street seen through an icy windshield.

This time of year, drivers in Pennsylvania are battling all types of weather. One day it might be raining, which turns to sleet at night, and the next day we might get a snowstorm. Wet, icy, slushy and snowy driving conditions are constantly changing and present many dangers. It’s hard to know what to expect, so it’s best to be prepared for the worst.

Automotive experts recommend changing wiper blades about once a year. This is because the UV rays from sunlight break down the rubber and plastic components in the blades over time. This causes the materials to harden and become more brittle and prone damage. Then, when the driver activates the windshield wipers, instead of cleaning the windshield, they leave a messy streak across the glass. You can tell that your wipers are struggling in any season if you notice the following signs of poor wiper contact:

  • Squeaking,
  • Chattering,
  • Skipping,
  • Smearing,
  • Streaking.

When you’re driving down the highway or through town, you need to see where the car is going. Windshield covers can help, but – during the winter – conventional wiper blades just won’t cut it. With regular summer or all-season wiper bladess, snow and ice can build up in the framework which prevents the blade from flexing against the curved shape of the windshield. If the wipers don’t rest properly against the glass surface as they work, it becomes impossible for them to clear all of the snow and ice away.

Windshield Wipers that Are Better for Winter Driving

Consider upgrading your wipers for the season. Driving on slippery, icy roads is dangerous and you need the best degree of visibility possible to navigate these harsh winter conditions. For Pennsylvania winters, we recommend selecting top-of-the-line beam or specialized winter windshield wipers. While heated wipers beat out the other as the best option for snowy winter weather. Hybrid wipers are also an option, though they are better as an all-season solution.

Beam Windshield Wipers

This type of blade is fairly new to the market. It features a frame-less, or bracket-less, wiper structure with a steel blade that is integrated into the rubber. With a very curved shape, a beam blade that is able to put stronger, consistent pressure on the windshield surface and remain in contact with the glass. The smart design of beam blades help them to clear away rainwater and snow, while also working against strong wind resistance.

Beam wipers can be installed on most newer vehicle makes and models. Another advantage is that superior quality beam wipers tend to last longer than conventional blades. With high-strength steel and more durable rubber should work well for about 3 to 5 years before performance begins to decline. When you start to see the trademark smudges on the glass, it’s time to replace the wipers.

Winter Windshield Wipers

The main difference in this type is that the wiper’s metal frame is covered with a layer of rubber. This shields the structure of the wiper from extreme temperatures and prevents snow from collecting on it. As a result, the blade is able to flex better into the most effective curved shape. Additionally, winter blades are less likely to get slowed down or blocked by the snow and ice which accumulates around the edges of the windshield.

Hybrid Windshield Wipers

Brands, such as Michelin, have developed what’s called a hybrid wiper blades. This type looks like a traditional windshield wiper, with the addition of flexible springs. The springs help the blade adhere to the contoured glass and clean it even in tough weather conditions by increasing the amount of pressure on the blade.

Heated Windshield Wipers

For the ultimate in snow-plowing power, consider switching to heated windshield wipers. These innovative wipers are powered by the vehicle’s defroster system. Inside the blades are calibrated heating elements that rate warmth through the silicone blade. These wiper blades efficiently melting away ice and snow while also preventing accumulation. Heating elements also keep the wipers from getting stuck by melted water that can run down and freeze on the pivot points.

If your car doesn’t come with factor heated wipers, retrofit kits are available and are easy to install or get installed on virtually any vehicle.

Best Winter Windshield Wiper Brands

We recommend looking for high-quality wipers from the following manufacturers.

Watch this video for a review of this year’s five best windshield wipers.

If you are ready to purchase new windshield wipers for winter driving, check out this buying guide as well for the best options on the market this year.

Get more critical seasonal auto advice here: 10 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Winter Driving.

All-Season Auto Body Services

Since 2003, Badell’s Collision has been proud to serve the Delaware and Chester county area in Pennsylvania. Our two auto body shop locations in Malvern and Aston make it simple for community members to get the car care they need in the winter and summer, rain and shine. Contact your local all-season auto body specialists today to schedule an appointment or to get a quote online.

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