Driving in the snow can be some of the most fun you might ever have off-roading with your Jeep as long as you have the right tires and proper aftermarket bumpers, in particular steel bumpers. Yet you do need to be able to see in front of your windshield to fully and safely enjoy yourself.
Windshield protection like the ViCowl can help; however, you still need one essential item - good windshield wipers. Available in many types, windshield wipers are critical to your fun in the snow, even in the mud, and if you get caught in the rain. These common vehicle additions are actually not as simple as they may seem.
Wiper Blade Condition Matters
All windshield wipers wear out after a while and need to be replaced. Unless the rubber stays soft, pliable, and conforms well to the shape of the windshield, they won’t actually clean your windshield to give you clear visibility. Although the addition of a ViCowl protector can help protect your windshield and light your path, it can't clear your windows.
The rubber on wipers that have frozen repeatedly or baked onto the windshield time after time can become brittle, crackling, and peeling. Any time your wipers go through these conditions or you notice streaking on your windshield, it is time to get a new set.
How to Check Your Wiper Blades
Other than looking for the obvious sign of poor windshield wiping, there are other ways to check the condition of your wiper blades to know when it’s time to replace them. Every time you clean your truck after a day on the trail, take a few minutes to inspect the windshield wipers, starting with the rubber blade.
Lift the wiper arm and look along the wiping edge of the blade for tears, cracks, missing rubber, or separation from the steel squeegee, which should still be flexible and able to shape itself to the windshield so the entire rubber blade makes contact.
Replace your blades if you notice any of these problems, they no longer wipe cleanly, or are over 6 months old as rubber typically begins to degrade at that point. Degrading rubber can become embedded with dirt that will scratch your windshield. If there's one thing you probably have more than enough of after taking your truck out, it’s dirt.
Different Types of Wiper Blades
Just like the different types of bumpers that can be added to your off-roader, there are different types of windshield wiper blades available for easy windshield wiping under various weather conditions: standard, steel covered, and beam.
==>>Standard - Conventional wiper blades are made from a squeegee arm and rubber blade held by blade claws and built into a steel wiper frame that attaches to the wiper arm on the truck or Jeep. The squeegee is flexible so the blade can conform to the shape of the windshield and wipe it evenly. Although many tend to leave these blades on year-round, they are best for use in warm weather. In colder weather, snow and ice that gets trapped inside the claws and frame structure can affect their performance or even damage them.
==>>Steel Covered - For cold weather driving or having some off-roading fun in the snow, you can switch standard blades for covered or stealth blades. These are wiper blades that have a steel cover over the blade framework to prevent snow and ice from affecting how the blade functions. With the framework covered, you won’t have to leave your truck to de-ice the blades.
==>>Beam - Another option for cold weather off-roading are beam wiper blades. These blades are comprised of flat spring steel with the wiper squeegee mounted to the underside. Since the blade is a single unit with no movable parts, it will not become clogged with ice or snow. The spring steel holds the squeegee and blade snuggly against the surface of the glass so the blade swipes cleanly and evenly. Premium quality beam blades are also made from rubber that contains silicone, Teflon, or other agents to reduce the chance of freezing and improve blade performance in colder temperatures.
When doing maintenance on your off-road truck or Jeep, it’s easy to overlook something like the windshield wipers. Even if your Jeep has a ViCowl protector, good wiper blades are still an essential part of your off-road equipment like aftermarket bumpers or heavy-duty steel bumpers, especially if you like to drive in the snow, water, or anywhere else your windshield will get wet.
Before you head out next time, check your blades to make sure they’re in good condition and work well. If you plan on doing a lot of driving in the cold even during warmer weather trips to the mountains, consider a seasonal upgrade to steel covered or beam blades so you get better performance, just like you do when adding aftermarket bumpers. Make clear visibility a priority to stay safe!