Are expensive wiper blades worth it?
Expensive wiper blades can make for a good investment, especially if the costs reflect added features like rain repellent or silicone blades. If you can justify the larger cost up front, they’re typically worth it. However, there are cheaper wiper blades that do the job just fine—they just lack some key features that improve operation.
Bear in mind, if you live in a dry, arid region such as Phoenix or Las Vegas, premium wiper blades aren’t nearly as critical to safe driving as they would be if you live in, say, Portland or Seattle. It’s your car and your call.
Rubber vs. silicone blades: Which is better?
Silicone blades are built to last up to twice as long as conventional ones, and that durability can help them perform better than rubber blades in demanding conditions. However, silicone blades are still more expensive than normal rubber.
The big advantage to silicone blades is they stay pliable in winter and tend to not freeze to your windshield. In climates where that’s common, you know how valuable that can be.
How do I find out what wiper blade I need?
This can be easily done in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Just flip to the wiper-blade section, and it should plainly lay out the size you need. Calling a dealership for OEM wiper blades is the safest way to ensure you buy the correct blades, and calling an auto parts store works as well.
If your vehicle has a specialized wiper arm, you’ll need to verify that a wiper blade is compatible with that style. They usually tell you which styles work on the packaging and feature an adapter that will fit on your vehicle.
How often should I replace my wiper blades?
A good rule of thumb for this is every 12 months. But because noticing worn wiper blades is pretty easy, this is really up to you. If your wiper blades start streaking, squeaking, chattering, or just not removing water like they used to, it’s time to replace them. If you use your wiper blades on rough ice before it has melted, this will seriously decrease the lifespan of your wiper blades, so keep that in mind.
Why trust us?
Car and Driver and its sibling publications at Hearst Autos represent three of the most influential automotive publications in the world. With the legacies of Autoweek, Car and Driver, and Road & Track behind us, the Hearst Autos Gear Team doesn’t need to worry about our bottom line. Our picks and recommendations of products and gear are based on testing and knowledge, not hype.
For consistency, this test was conducted in an environment that provided equal testing procedures for each product: the Car and Driver garage. We tested the wiper blades on each wiper speed and with varying rainfall amounts. We then graded each wiper blade on ease of installation, water removal at each speed, squeaks, chatters, streaking, adapter quality, and, finally, price.
Upon tallying up our findings, we agreed that our test was fair, legitimate, and provided the most complete information for us to recommend our picks.
Read more about our product testing and evaluation process here.