Believe it or not, under certain circumstances, the very windshield wipers that are in place to protect you by ensuring your visibility can actually hurt you by impairing it. Worn-out, damaged, or improperly installed/maintained windshield wipers can scratch your windshield, which will affect your ability to see out of it properly and, depending on how long it takes you to notice the scratches, will require anything from a small windshield repair to a total windshield replacement.
We at Three Rivers Auto Glass know you want to keep your vehicle in top-top shape and stay on top of any type of damage. So, we’ve come up with the following guide to help you better understand the causes and effects of windshield wiper scratches, so that you can identify, repair, and, ultimately, prevent them.
What Causes Wiper Scratches?
Your vehicle’s windshield wiper blades are made of metal and rubber components, which, like anything made of metal and rubber, are capable of getting dirty, whether in use or idle. What’s more, as they’re used, regardless of what they’re clearing, they accumulate more dirt and everyday “wear and tear” are put on them.
All told, these things can cause the rubber edges on your wiper blades to become thin, tear, or be displaced, thereby exposing the metal. When your wipers are turned on, the exposed metal comes into direct contact with your windshield, and, as the oscillating action of the wiper system moves the blades back and forth, the metal digs into the glass. This can cause scratches of various sizes, in various places; and, if left unattended, these scratches could, and usually do, get deeper or feather out.
How Can I Tell if I Have Wiper Scratches?
If you notice any of the following, you should call your local Three Rivers Auto Glass shop to schedule an appointment to have your car assessed for windshield wiper-related damage:
- “Twinkling” spots or flecks throughout your windshield, especially at night or under bright light conditions
- Scraping, grinding, or other unusual sounds when your wipers are in use
- Uneven cleaning or streaking
- Water droplets that appear to be “trapped” in the windshield after all other water is cleared
- Pieces of rubber dangling or displaced from the wiper blade(s) or clearly exposed metal
What Are the Effects of Wiper Scratches?
If your wiper blades are, in fact, causing windshield damage, you’ll need to get your blades replaced and have your windshield serviced.
Be advised, even if you caught the scratches early on—even if there only appears to be a small amount of damage to your windshield—simply replacing your blades is not enough. You’ll still need to have your windshield assessed by an auto glass professional, as there are still a number of serious complications that could arise.
Left unresolved, wiper scratches could cause:
- Continued visibility problems, including, but not limited to
- Intensified light reflection
- Distorted, magnified, or limited vision
- Inability to properly judge distance
- Driving distractions due to uneven or incomplete window cleaning, or streaking, when the wipers are in use
- Additional windshield damage, including cracks, from trapped or frozen water and/or other debris
How Do I Repair Wiper Scratches?
If you suspect that your windshield has wiper scratches—or any other type of damage—call Three Rivers Auto Glass to set up an appointment at any one of our six greater-Pittsburgh area locations. From buffing out small scratches to replacing your entire windshield, we’re here to serve your auto glass needs and give you the premium service we’re renowned for.