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When you think about vehicle maintenance and safety, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It is probably safe to assume that the windshield and windshield wipers are not at the top of the list.

The purpose of the windshield is in its name. It is a shield, there to protect the driver and passengers from the elements and debris. Think of the windshield as a sort of “glass sandwich”; two layers of glass with a polyvinyl layer of glass in between. It connects to the car with silicon, it is water resistant and provides protection from the outside world. Just think of all the things your windshield protects you from:

  • Rain or snow
  • Dust and rocks
  • Pollen
  • Leaves and grass
  • Trash
  • Tire pieces
  • Bird droppings
  • Insects

The windshield should be considered an important safety feature of your vehicle. In the event of an accident, there is a chance that the glass could break, but the flexible polyvinyl it contains will help soften the blow. Many years ago, windshields were made of typical window glass, but over time and after many harmful or deadly accidents, auto manufacturers realized that this is not a good idea. Several years and experiments later, experts discovered the ideal combination of glass and polyvinyl used today, increasing motorist’s safety levels. Advances in technology have even lead to the development of windshields that contain UV layers to protect motorists from radiation and tinting for protection from the sun and increased visibility.

Speaking of visibility, according to repairpal.com, around 80 percent of motor vehicle accidents are contributed to poor visibility. Your windshield, as well as your wipers, are extremely important factors in your ability to see well while driving. Windshields can become damaged and cracked by some of the debris that they encounter. Cracks can become rather large putting you at risk in a couple of ways. One is that the crack impairs your ability to see out of the windshield clearly. The other is that when a windshield is severely cracked it becomes weak and shatters more easily in the event of an accident. Keep in mind that windshields cannot be repaired. If they are damaged they must be replaced. Cracks that are 18 inches or longer, or are edge cracks, should be replaced immediately for your safety and the safety of others.

All the above listed items that your windshield protects you from can gather on your windshield and need to be cleared off while driving for your best visibility. This is where the wipers come into play. If you need to clear debris, rain, or other build up from your windshield and your wipers are worn, you could instead smear the contents around creating a bigger blur as opposed to clearing it up.

Like your belts and hoses, the wiper blades are typically made of rubber which breaks down over time. In contrast to the belts and hoses, the wipers are openly exposed to the elements, causing them to break down quickly, especially in the hot summer months. For this reason, the wipers should be changed at least every six months, but never longer than once a year. Unfortunately, as stated by repairpal.com, the average driver only replaces their wipers every two and a half years- which could explain the high accident rate associated with poor visibility. Signs that your wiper blades need replaced include:

  • They leave streaks on the windshield
  • They are skipping across the windshield instead of a glide
  • They are visibly worn down
  • They have started splitting
  • The frames are bent

It is hard to deny the importance of your windshield and windshield wipers. If your windshield is not as clear as it should be you should make it a priority to have it taken care of as soon as possible.

At Meridian Automotive we are here to help you with all your auto repair needs. We provide complete automotive repair in Meridian, Idaho, for most cars, light trucks, and SUV’s. For over 20 years we’ve been Meridian’s auto repair experts. Don’t just trust anyone, trust the experts at Meridian Automotive. Call us today (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.