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What to Do if You Have Squeaky Windscreen Wipers?

There are certain noises in life that raise the hairs on the back of the neck.

Fingernails down a blackboard, the sound of screeching tyres behind you, for some it is even the chewing of a loved one…

However, when you’re driving, there is another one that takes the cake. And it gets a whole lot worse if you head out knowing it is already going to rain. What is it? Well, have you ever flicked the windscreen wiper switch and heard that loud squeak? Yes, we have too…with every back and forth, it is like teeth being pulled.

So if you find yourself in this position, what should you do?



It’s potentially a combination of factors, but happily, it’s a short list. There are only two, three depending on how you look at it, things that are involved. One is the windscreen itself. The second and potentially third are one or both of the wiper blades.

Given the most likely source of the squeaking is the blade/s, these would be the first port of call for a visual inspection. Lift the wiper arms up from the windscreen. Detach the blades from the arms and, using a good torch, inspect the blades themselves. Feel the blades with your fingers. Do they feel soft, malleable, easy to flick back and forth? Or are they dry, cracked, and brittle?

If any signs of a failing blade or blades are noticed, then a visit to your local auto parts retailer is in order to source new wiper blades.

Once new blades are fitted and lowered, get the hose and give the windscreen a good squirt. Activate the wipers and listen. Still noisy? Then having eliminated one part of the equation, the other has to be the windscreen itself.

Specific window cleaning products do a fantastic job, but the condition of the glass is critical.

Again, eyeball the window. One method is to get that torch onto it at night and shine across the window. Look for a straight beam of light bouncing off it. If the reflection looks scattered, it’s likely the same reason we polish cars. The windscreen is likely to be pitted, scratched, and this form of damage will grab onto a wiper like a child to a lollypop. Hence the squeaking that follows.



Depending on the condition of the glass, it may be useful to apply a treatment of IPA (iso-propyl alcohol) to further remove dirt and grime that may have become embedded and not removed by previous cleaning. IPA may also be used, gently, to clean blades that are dirty but fine otherwise.   Professional services can offer a polishing of the glass and this does need to be professionally applied.

Unfortunately, the worst case scenario, but one that dramatically lifts the safety factor, is a windscreen replacement. Not only will new and smooth glass reduce friction and allow rainwater to run off easier, forward vision is far less likely to be reduced thanks to light scattering from the tiny scratches.

Auto parts websites have plenty of information about the right replacement blades to suit your car, and this is also one of the most common DIY auto repairs. So if you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for help.