Ninety percent of all driving decisions are based on a clear unobstructed view of the road, which means good visibility is absolutely essential; especially during wet weather when vision may be obscured by water, road splash, sleet or snow on the windscreen. But good visibility requires wipers that are in good condition. If the wipers are chattering, streaking or otherwise failing to wipe cleanly and consistently, you need new blades.
Cold weather can affect blade life, too. Freezing temperatures makes rubber hard and brittle, which increases the tendency to crack and split. The holders can also become clogged with ice and snow, preventing the holder from distributing spring tension evenly over the blade. The blade "freezes up" and leaves streaks as it skips across the glass.
You can usually replace wiper blades yourself, and can replace just the blade with a refill or the entire blade assembly. Refills will save you money. If you're installing a blade assembly, most come with some type of adapter to fit the arms on your vehicle. The old blades pull or push off the arm by pressing a release button or pin on the wiper holder.
For cold weather driving, you might consider installing a set of "winter blades" on your vehicle. These have an enclosed holder that prevents ice and snow from building up and interfering with the wiper's ability to do its job.
If the blades can be pulled away from the glass with little resistance, it's time for new arms. Most vehicle manufacturers publish tension specs for their arms. If the arm doesn't meet the spec, it needs to be replaced.
Bosch is a leading global supplier of automotive technology and services, as well as industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology. Each year, Bosch spends more than 8% of sales revenue on R&D, applying for over 3,000 patents worldwide.