Windshield wiper blades are essential safety equipment for any vehicle. In addition to choosing the right type of blades, it is also necessary to get the right wiper blade size for each windshield wiper on your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual for your vehicle or measure your current blades before buying auto parts online or at a nearby store. Find out more about the main types of wiper blades.
Beam Wiper Blades
Most new cars come with beam wiper blades. These blades have tensioned metal flexors that support the full length of the rubber element. An integrated spoiler uses pressure generated by air flow to keep the blades in place. Beam blades have a close-fitting profile that matches the windshield shape.
Beam or flat blades provide consistent pressure across the entire contact edge for better performance. The hingeless structure does not become impeded by snow or ice. Beam blades can simply be slapped against the windshield to dislodge frozen precipitation.
Standard Wiper Blades
Standard windshield wiper blades preceded beam blades as the most common design. These blades have a metal or metal and plastic structure with a central bridge and articulated links. Spring flexors on each blade distribute force over four to eight pressure points, depending on length.
Metal frames hold rubber squeegees in place on standard blades. This design is prone to accumulating ice, which can prevent the rubber edge of blades from making contact with the windshield and reduce wiper effectiveness. Vehicles with standard blades can be upgraded to beam or hybrid blades and are also compatible with winter blades.
Winter Wiper Blades
Winter blades are standard seasonal windshield wiper blades. The metal frame of these blades is encased in a protective rubber boot to prevent ice and snow from collecting and keeping wipers from making contact with the windshield. This wiper design should not be used during the summer, as heat causes the rubber boot to deteriorate.
Hybrid Wiper Blades
A combination of conventional and beam features unite in hybrid blades. These aerodynamic blades feature frames that function as an integrated spoiler along the full length of the blade. Pivoting suspension points improve windshield pressure. Hybrid blades cost less than beam blades but are more expensive than standard blades.
Rear Wiper Blades
Some vehicles have a wiper on the rear window. Rear wiper arm designs and connectors are vehicle-specific. While this wiper may not be in use as often as front windshield wipers, exposure to the elements will cause the rubber blade material to wear out and necessitate regular replacement.
Beam wiper blades can provide up to a year of reliable use before being replaced. You should switch out standard blades every six months. Hybrid blades may last longer than standard blades. The original wipers on your vehicle determine which replacement blades you can use. Cars that come with standard blades may be replaced with beam or hybrid blades. Vehicles that come with beam blades cannot use standard blades. Knowing more about the major types of windshield wipers can help you select the best blades for your vehicle.