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What are the different types of wiper blades?

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Updated 11 Oct 2019Rachel White
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There are different types of wiper blades? Yes, there are. And everything from trains to aeroplanes to boats use them. They are, in fact, a legal requirement. And for good reason.

When you think about it, the wipers are an essential “must work” item on any vehicle. Imagine the chaos if there were no wipers and it started to rain. We wouldn’t be able to travel anywhere.

So, if we want to travel in enclosed cabins, out of the elements, we need wipers to clear the field of vision so we can see what's up ahead.

While the humble wiper blade may seem like a simple piece of kit, it has not been overlooked as automotive technology continues to evolve.

How do wiper blades work?

Wiper blades fit onto the metal wiper arm which connects to the wiper motor and it is most common for the wiper motor to be manually activated by the vehicle’s driver.

Some modern windscreens are now fitted with rain-sensing technology - who would have thought! - and this automatically activates the wiper motor when rain is detected.

Most vehicles will have at least one to two wipers on the front to clear the windscreen. Hatchback models will usually also have a rear wiper to clear the back window.

What type of wiper blades are there?

If you thought there was just one type of wiper blade, you probably wouldn’t be alone. Surely they all work the same way, right?

Well, just like the many varieties of shoes, one size doesn’t fit all. Some work better in certain weather conditions than others and if you get the wrong ones you could soon be falling on your derrière.

Frame-style wipers

: Are a conventional design that has been around for years. Some call them the coat hanger design of wiper blade as they consist of a metal frame that holds the rubber wiper refill. This blade has spring design pressure points built in to keep the rubber flush on the windscreen. The refill rubber can be replaced when the old one deteriorates.

Beam-style or Flat blade wipers

: Are becoming the wiper design-of-choice for new vehicles. Instead of a frame, they utilise a tensioned metal strip that runs internally along the length of the rubber blade. This design allows a more reliable clean sweep due to the wiper conforming to the bend in the windscreen. They are also flat, so they fit nicely under the bonnet edge.

Winter wiper blades

: If you live in extreme weather conditions, a winter wiper blade might be best until the sun returns. These are a more durable blade that can hold up better in extreme cold. The frame is heavy-duty and can withstand the extra workload and freezing conditions.

Wiper refills

: Wiper refills are replaceable rubber blades used in the older frame style wipers or coat hanger design blades. They are a rubber blade with a connector that slides and clicks into the frame. The refill is convenient as you don’t have to replace the whole wiper frame.

Wiper blades are important in clearing obstacles from a vehicles field of vision. Be it rain, snow, fog or even the delightful; bird poo and chook feathers from the poultry truck in front!

It is illegal to drive without functioning wiper blades and making sure your wipers are working at there best is important for safe driving.

WIPER BLADES Stop them squeaking!

It’s a good idea to have your wipers replaced as soon as you see the signs that they are failing. When you book a service with an awesome AutoGuru mechanic ask them to replace your wiper blades to ensure the clearest view.

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Written ByRachel White

Rachel spent her early adult life around cars, motorsport and hands-on with her own cars.

This interest moved into various careers within the Automotive industry. Joined with her passion for writing, Rachel loves putting the two together to share her experience, so we can all become AutoGuru’s.