We have noticed something odd about car information. There are plenty of articles about things like car models and tire quality. There is almost nothing about windshield wipers. As Houston windshield replacement experts, we found that surprising. After all, it is important to see where you are going?
After digging around, we did find a couple of reliable sources. Here is the gist of what they said, along with links back to the sources so you can do your own research.
Science in Action
In 2008, Consumer Reports published the results of their scientific test of wiper blades. Writer Ed Grabianowski, of The Sweet Home, was intrigued by this, and wanted to know more. He learned that testing wiper blades accurately is really hard to do; so much so that Consumer Reports has no plans to do it again.
Here is what was involved: Thirteen models of wipers were tested. They were installed on 185 cars owned by Consumer Reports staff. A special statistical program was used to make sure the testing would be fair. Each car got two models of wiper blade, so they could be compared against each other in real time over a period of nine months.
If that sounds complicated and expensive, consider this: when The Sweet Home contacted a third party lab about running their own tests, they got a bad case of sticker shock. The lab could not share any existing data they had from running tests for manufacturers, but they could offer a selection of a la cart tests which would run into five figures.
The Sweet Home opted to run their own, less scientific test. It provides a pretty good basis for selecting the best wiper blades.
The Sweet Home ran a test with drivers using specific wiper blades over a period of time. Their testers used the wipers in a range of climates and weather conditions. After a year, they determined that the Rain-X and Valeo wipers were roughly equal in quality and durability. Both lasted between nine and twelve months. Any unusual problems could be attributed to environmental conditions such as parking under messy trees or having huge clumps of ice form around the wipers when parked. The Rain-X wipers did better in snowy conditions, probably because they had beam construction. The blades from Valeo used the older bracket construction, which allows snow and ice to build up around the blades.
For general use, the Rain-X Latitude took the top spot. The Sweet Home liked the beam design, which uses a curved steel beam inside a rubber casing to keep the wiper blade pressed firmly against the windshield. Rain-X wipers also showed superior durability in the Consumer Reports test. Users reported good performance in snowy conditions, with little to no streaking and a very long product life.
The Valeo 600 was the overall choice for budget wipers. This model works well in areas with no snow, since the bracket design will allow ice clumps to form.
For a more high-end solution, the SI-Tech from PIAA did very well. This is a silicon wiper blade with beam construction. It is a step down from PIAA’s Forza Hybrid, which is a top choice of rally car drivers. The SI-Tech offers good performance for most drivers, along with the potential for longer blade life in sunny conditions.
Depending on your budget, the best wiper blades for most cars are the Rain-X Latitude, Valeo’s 600 model or the PIAA SI-Tech. Houston auto glass is exposed to different environmental challenges than windshields in other parts of the country, so be sure to keep your wipers free of oil, grit or other debris such as tree sap or bird droppings. You can expect most wiper blades to last about a year. Check them frequently for signs of wear; worn blades damage your windshield.
If old windshield wipers have left you peering through lines of scratches, contact S Delta Auto Glass for the best in Houston auto glass repair. We also provide Houston mobile auto glass repair. We come to your home or where you work to repair or replace your auto glass.