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Hope this isn't a repeat of an oft-asked question. I've been lurking for ~2 months and did a search on the subject, though I have to say I'm a bit skeptical of the new search engine's ability to find relevant posts... :)

My wife and I have a '97 Nissan Altima. We're relatively clueless about cars. I know enough to check the fluids, but for a "jump" I'd have to break out the owner's manual and don't even ask me about changing the oil myself! Yesterday, we went with our friends to check out the new Ikea in Stoughton, MA. On the way back, it was raining & I had the wipers running. They weren't doing a very good job. Every wipe would clear away most of the water, but drops of water would remain stuck to the windshield, making it hard to see.

My question is: what should I do? Is it just that I need new wipers? I have replaced them before, but it's been at least a year since I last replaced them. Should I try RainX (or something similar)? Do the wipers and windshield just need cleaning (with, say, Windex)?

If the wipers need replacing, is there anything I could do that might help them last longer? Does it help to cover them during ice & snow?

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice!

Puss
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I have replaced them before, but it's been at least a year since I last replaced them.

Well I'm about the same level of car knowledge as you, but I also think I have windshield wipers down... wipers are typically 6 months to a year, so you probably need new ones. Especially in the northeast (I'm in Marlborough, Ma) where the cold isn't exactly friend to the plastic.

One 'quick' fix can just be to wipe them down. Take a damp tissue and run it along the wiper blade. Chances are you'll get a bunch of black grime off on the tissue. Do this a few times to each and it may clear things up some for a while, but you're probably getting close to needing new blades anyway.

Of course, I recently screwed up a wiper's function while using too much force to get the durn-thing off... so you may not want to listen to me ;)
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RainX is nice. I try to apply it whenever I remember to do so. It rubs off pretty quickly though so you always need good wipers.

If it's been a year since you've changed your wipers they may be overdue. My philosophy on wipers is to just replace the rubber often and not bother with the expensive brands. I bought cheap Anco driver's and passenger side blades from AutoZone and bought a bunch of refills that I keep at home. I change the rubber refill (requires nothing more than a strong hand or a pair of pliers) at least at the beginning of the winter if not at the beginning and end of winter.

You can buy winter wipers that have a rubber coating over the wiper blade to keep ice from getting in there. I personally don't use them and simply clear the blades off before I start driving. If there's enough snow that it would accumulate while driving without the rubber coating I try not to go out. The winter wipers shouldn't be used year round as they're heavier and tax the motor more.
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Puss,

Wiper blades don't last as long as they used to. In climates where they get used a lot, every year isn't too short of a time to replace them, especially if you use the same set all year (I use winter blades in season.)

RainX is a good product, if you remember to reapply it as needed. I seem to remember only during storm driving ;)

Richard
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Okay, definitely time to replace the wipers :-) Quick question: is Target a reasonable place to get them, or will the quality/price ratio be better at an auto parts store like AutoZone?

Thanks again,

Puss
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FWIW, Rain-X worked great, until I went to the "touchless" car wash and opted for the Wax option.. it leaves a extremely thin layer over the whole car, windows and all, and the next time I used the windshield washer/wipers it fogged, smeared, almost to the point of not seeing.. So I quit using Rain-X.. Not sure what the drive through car washes use, but there was a conflict of interests, for sure! Seeing is good!

weco
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Not sure what the drive through car washes use, but there was a conflict of interests, for sure! Seeing is good!

Good to know, thanks Weco!

Richard
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