Windshield Wiper Care During The Winter

scraping snow off windshield in winter

Preparing for winter driving requires two levels of vehicle preparation.  The first includes the bigger ticket items such as putting snow tires on or at least having your all-season tires checked and at proper air pressure; making sure your coolant system is properly maintained; and checking your car’s battery to make sure it has a strong charge.  The second level has smaller items – more easily done and usually less expensive if they do need updates – but they are vitally important.  And at the top of this list is one that is frequently overlooked: making sure your windshield wiper fluid never runs out and your blades are in good condition!

WIPER FLUID – Often, especially when the weather is nicer, running out of windshield wiper fluid can be a slight annoyance.  We may even have a nice spring shower or summer downpour to clean it up and then we forget about it until another day.  But in the winter, running out of wiper fluid can turn from minor nuisance to major road hazard – anything that is a SIGHT annoyance certainly is not a SLIGHT annoyance!  Going dry on your wiper fluid is a huge danger in winter conditions.  A great tip is simply to remember that if you’re filling it up yourself, don’t drain the entire container.  That way, if you do run out, you can always pull over and use your reserve if need be.  It’s the next best plan to having a full bottle on reserve at all times.  And in the winter weather months of Western New York, make sure your fluid is the kind that can sustain sub-zero temperatures.  These are simple steps to avoiding what can be a potentially serious issue.  Driving a few miles in foul weather with minimal visibility is an accident waiting to occur.

WIPER BLADES – Obviously, the other important aspect in keeping your visibility clear in the winter months is that you have blades that are in good shape.  You can have all the fluid cleaner in the world, but if it’s only being sloshed around by bad blades, you’re not doing yourself much good.  Have a dependable auto tech check your blades for you, making sure they’re not showing wear and tear, and that all your electronics in the car that control them are in fine functional order.  Beyond that, though, do your own inspection and gentle maintenance when there is a lot of precipitation.  Heavy snow can hold blades down, and when it starts icing over, blades can literally stick in place.  But blades being iced-down is an issue that reveals itself quickly.  What happens more frequently and more insidiously is that the blades are coveed with a thin layer of ice – or chunked ice at places on the blades – and this can cause dangerous smearing across the windshield.  You don’t want to find this out in the middle of an expressway when you’re doing 60 mph.  Before you start driving, you can clean the blades by simply lifting them up carefully and manually removing any ice build-up with your hands or gently tapping it off with your ice scraper. 

Whatever you do, keep your windshield and windows clear in the winter time!  The best way to avoid an accident is to see it before it happens.  For any transportation needs or questions, call the experts at Metro Trans and we’ll be more than happy to serve you or a loved one in any way possible!