No squeaks, no streaks: What to know before buying windscreen wipers

By DPA | 5 December 2020

BERLIN: Your windscreen wipers may be working overtime this season - so if you're due to replace them, here's a few things you might want to bear in mind.

You could install new ones yourself, in which case you can find new windscreen wipers at specialist shops or online.

Choose carefully, though, says technical inspector Achmed Leser who works for Germany's inspection giant Tuev. Windscreen wiper blades are not universally exchangeable so won't necessarily fit each and every car.

"Many new vehicles nowadays have blades that are a different length on the driver side and the passenger side," says Leser. Windscreen wipers also have different systems to attach them.

So before shopping, dig out a few crucial details to make sure you get the right windscreen wipers, he says. "You need vehicle information such as the manufacturer, model and the year of manufacture - that's really important," says Leser.

You'll find the right ones for your particular car in specialist shops or if you look at special portals for spare parts online.

Some portals allow you to enter the vehicle identification number to search - you can find that on your vehicle registration document.

"Windscreen wipers are among the parts of the car that get the most wear and tear," says Leser. One sign they need to be replaced is if they're leaving streaky marks on your windscreen - as that means the rubber part has become worn or porous.

You definitely need new ones if you cannot see clearly through the windscreen anymore. Sound, too, can be a key. "You can often tell if your wipers are worn if they squeak or rumble," says Leser.

No huge amount of technical skill is needed once it comes to actually exchanging them, and it's something users can do themselves.

But if you'd rather not or don't feel like doing all the research to find the right model, it might be best to head to a specialist workshop.