Which windscreen wipers does your car have
Check which size you need for your car
What are windscreen wipers?
Windshield wipers are used to clean the windscreen of a car. This allows a driver to see the road without being obstructed. A common wiping angle on a passenger car is about 67 degrees. The blades are 12-30 in (30-76 cm) long and the lengths increase in steps of 2-5 cm.
The history of the windscreen wiper started with the invention of the automobile. Most transport vehicles at that time did not have wipers. Horse-drawn carriages and trucks moved at low speeds and glass was not needed to protect the driver or passengers, so there was no need for it until the advent of the automobile. These transport vehicles had higher speeds and in bad weather visibility was poor.
The first windscreen wipers were brushes. Inventor JH Apjohn devised a method of moving two brushes up and down a vertical glass windscreen in 1903. In the same year, Mary Anderson devised a swinging arm that wiped the rain off the windscreen.
Anderson patented her invention of the mechanical windscreen wiper in 1905 and it was standard equipment for a car by 1913. Electric motors were not yet used to power essential cars or accessories, and Anderson's device had a drawback. Without another power source, a driver had to move the lever himself with one hand. With the other hand, you could then drive the car.
From brushes to rubber
In 1905, the brushes were replaced by rubber strips. The dangerous necessity for drivers to wipe down windscreens while driving was only eliminated in 1917. The solution was to use an electric motor, but this stopped after every movement. The Hawaiian dentist Dr Ormand Wall invented the automatic wiper by placing an electric motor in the centre at the top of the windscreen, so that the wiper bent over the bonnet in a semi-circular or rainbow shape. Wipers were one of the first electrical devices in cars after the electric starter was developed in 1912. Most wipers on cars before 1930 hung from the top of the windscreen. They were moved to the bottom of the windscreen as electrical systems became more complicated.
In the 1960s, the interval mode was introduced
Windshield sprinklers were added to the wiper on/off handles, and windshield nozzles were added. A tank for wiper fluid in the engine compartment and electrical connections to make these operations possible. In 1962 Bob Kearns invented the wiper with intervals and speeds that the driver could change. The advent of electronic systems with fuses and circuit breakers to control, regulate and coordinate electrical components increased the possibilities for more diverse wipers. Wipers were added to headlights in the 1980s, requiring connections between the lighting and wiper systems. In the 1990s, microsensors were built into windscreens to detect rain on the windscreen. Nowadays known by the term rain sensor.
Windscreen wipers material
To make a wiper, several components are needed. These are wiper arms, the rubber and the plastic coating. Most manufacturers do not produce these components themselves but buy them in semi-finished form. The connection and drive links and the pivot points that move the wipers are made of galvanised steel. Galvanisation is the process of applying a zinc coating to steel to prevent corrosion.
The wiper frame is made of aluminium. The wiper itself that sits against the windscreen is made of natural rubber or synthetic compounds. Some rubber blades are composites of soft rubber.
The design of windscreen wipers
Windshield wipers are designed and made to wipe water from the windscreen. Most cars have two wipers on the windscreen and they have one on the rear window and sometimes one on each headlight. The wiper parts that are visible from outside the car are the rubber blade, the wiper arm that holds the blade, a spring connection that presses the wiper against the windscreen. The wiper itself has up to six parts called pressure points or claws. The claws distribute the pressure of the wiper along the back of the blade. This is described as a spring-loaded balance beam, where the wiper is the beam and the claws are the suspension parts. The claws hold the blade curved against the windscreen to distribute even pressure so that the glass is cleaned along the blade. More claws usually distribute the pressure better and are suitable for large or strongly curved windscreens.
Replacing windscreen wipers
The wipers should be replaced from time to time. Usually this is done every 2 years. When you start getting streaks and squeaking sounds, it's time to replace them. How to do this is described in the article:
replacing windscreen wipersThis article discusses the hook wipers and the newer flat blades.
Which windscreen wipers? Search in all car brands
- Land Rover
- Mercedes Ben's