Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Free safety winter wiper blade check

Winter can be a dangerous time to be on the roads, even for the most experienced drivers out there. To help motorists to stay safe this winter garages can offer a free winter wiper blade check.

Trico Wiper
Vehicles with heated front screens may well reduce the expectations placed on a wiper blade to clear the screen, but for many, an assault of some type of de-icer fluid is often deployed. Other symptoms include: shuddering and scraping, smearing and streaking.

Whatever conditions and treatment the wiper blades are subjected too, Trico product and brand manager Sam Robinson adds: “We estimate that the general life of a wipe blade is approximately six months and should be changed at these intervals to ensure maximum rain clearing effectiveness and visibility.”

Trico have a compiled a ‘6 point check’ that garages can use to easily assess blade condition, identify when a wiper blade might need replacing, & ensure vehicles leave with their blades & windscreen in the best condition:

Wipe check
using the washer spray or a mister bottle to spray the glass, operate the wipers and check there are no missed areas, water smears, or multiple streaks that impede vision. Any light misting remaining after the wipe should disappear quickly (within 1-2 seconds). Any blades that are impeding vision with streaks/smears/misting should be replaced immediately.

Lift the blades from the screenBe careful as on many modern cars the wiper arms will hit the underneath of bonnet and not lift. In this case you usually turn the engine on then off, then press the wiper stalk down once. This will move the blades up into the service position where they can then be lifted up. If this does not work, consult your manual.

Blade edge check
Gently clean the rubber blade edge with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any dirt & residue. Check along its length for any imperfections in the rubber, in particular check at either end that the rubber has not ‘split’. Ensure that the rubber element returns to a central position and is not ‘set’ flipped over in one direction. If the blade fails any of these checks, it is recommended to replace it immediately.

Safe and secure fitment
Check the blade is securely fixed to the arm. The blade should rotate freely parallel with the wiper arm to allow it to flex over the screen, but there should be no wobbling or movement perpendicular to the arm. This could be a sign of continued wear from the blades flipping over and could eventually cause the blades to come apart during use. If the blade is showing excessive movement, replace it immediately.

Screen clean
Ensure the windscreen is thoroughly cleaned using warm water or specialist glass cleaning fluid. In particular pay attention to the areas at the top and bottom of the wipe area as dirt and debris collects here. Also check the glass for any cracks or chips – these are a safety hazard in their own right and can also damage the wiper blade rubber.

Lower the blades
Lower the wiper arms gently back on to the screen. If the wipers have failed any of the above checks, purchase and fit new blades as a matter of urgency to ensure continued safety when driving.

Sam concluded: “This is a significant opportunity for garages, and demand, for upgrading or retro fitting of beam blades as a replacement for the traditional, conventional blade. Trico estimates that as much as 60% of beam blades supplied are fitted as a replacement so that drivers can enjoy the advanced technology beam blades deliver over conventional wiper blades. Another opportunity is the increasing number of vehicles with unique rear wiper blade designs. Although many of these blades look similar, they are specially developed and unique in fitment. The Trico Exact Fit rear blade programme is comprehensive in coverage to accommodate the wide variety of applications.”

The Trico marketing programme for 2016 has been enhanced to support trade customers. This will include application data in printed and electronic format that is constantly being up-dated and available on the new Trico website, as well as mobile enabled vehicle lookup using QR code technology. Application and cross-reference date is also available on MAM Autocat and TecDoc and can be supplied for use in customers’ own catalogues.