Signs of Wiper Blade Wear

Extended exposure to temperature extremes, UV, ozone, road salt, oil, automatic car washes, and of course regular use can all contribute to wiper blade wear.

Worn wiper blades can limit driving visibility, which is potentially unsafe. Experts recommend that you check your blades at least once every six months and replace them if they are worn. But what are you looking for?

To help you recognize the signs of blade wear, here is a list of the five major signs of wiper blade wear. These include:

Streaking – Cracked and hardened rubber leaves bands of streaks

Visual inspection of the wiper blade reveals rubber that has hardened and/or cracked due to exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, tree sap, and road tar, automotive chemicals like oil, brake fluid, coolant, and road grit. Bands of water remain after each wiping stroke.


Chattering – Rubber develops a set or curve that causes blade to skip and vibrate

Extreme hot or cold temperatures or extended periods of non-use can cause blades to exhibit chatter, as the blades skip and vibrate over the windshield. The characteristics to look for include a choppy wiping action or an overall performance set or curve to the blade rubber in one direction and a smeared windshield appearance while wiping.


Smearing – Age or physical damage that results in unwiped areas

When the wiping edge of the blade is no longer sharp, but rounded in shape or appearance, the wiper will smear the water across the windshield instead of clearing it off. This causes cloudy and impaired visibility.


split rubber – Age or physical damage that results in unwiped areas

Age or physical damage to blades can result in unwiped areas. A visual inspection of the blade can help determine if there is physical damage.


squeaking – Rubber does not move quietly across the glass

The old or worn rubber of the blade does not move quietly across the windshield.