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Replace Your Windshield Wipers

The summertime is notorious for sudden, violent thunderstorms. When buckets of water are beating against your windshield, you need wipers that really work. Even more so at night, when a rain storm can decrease visibility to 15 or 20 feet in front of your vehicle.

 

driving in a storm
Altrendo Images/Getty Images
Powerful storms can dump a lot of water on your car. Can your windshield wipers handle the downpour?

Winter can be tough on windshield wipers. Ice, snow, salt and extreme temperatures make cracks and tears in the rubber that lower the effectiveness of the wipers. If your wipers are leaving visible streaks or take several passes to clear away light rain, they need to be replaced.

When replacing a wiper blade, it's better to replace the whole blade, not just the rubber part [source: NAPA Online]. Go to an auto parts store and they'll be able to give you the right blades for your make, model and year. If you've never replaced wiper blades before, it can be a little tricky. Just take your time, read the instructions carefully and everything should work out. It's also a good idea to observe the way your original wiper blades were attached. This may prove more valuable than anything printed on the new wiper blade box.

Clean Your Battery
Baking soda paste on car battery
Mark Weiss/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Corroded battery terminals prevent your car from running at its best. A paste of baking soda and water can clean it off.

Wintertime is notorious for dead batteries and early morning jumpstarts. But the truth is that hot weather is even tougher on your battery.

Summer heat can speed up the chemical reaction inside a battery, causing the battery to be overcharged [source: CBS News]. This can dramatically shorten the lifespan of your battery. Heat can also damage the battery by evaporating internal battery fluid [source: Car Care Council].

The best way to keep your battery running smoothly is to keep it clean. Regularly detach the battery cables and wipe off the terminals. Make sure the battery is strapped down tightly and that all connections are secure.

If you suspect that your battery is being overcharged or isn't holding a charge well, take it to a service shop where they can run a quick battery inspection. And if you need to replace the battery, make sure that it's the right battery type for your specific make and model of car.

Source: How Stuff Works.com

Posted 9:30 AM  View Comments

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2 Comments

auto inspection services said...
Is there anything else I should be cautious of when cleaning the battery? Also is there a reason why its better to change the whole wiper blade rather than just the rubber part?
MONDAY, AUGUST 15 2011 1:12 PM
Melissa said...
In response to auto inspection services- A few ways to be safe when cleaning your battery are to
1. Wear skin and eye protection and
2. Always remove the cable clamp from the negative terminal first. (Marked with a minus sign " - ") Do the reverse when replacing the replacing the cables, connection the positive terminal first. (Marked with a plus sign " + ")

Also some other helpful hints are:
1. Should damage appear, replace cables and clamps.
2. Check the battery case for cracks, if any are found, replace the battery.
3. Use baking soda and a toothbrush to clean the posts.
4. Dry everything thoroughly with a clean, lint-free rag.
5. Smear grease or petroleum jelly onto posts and cover all metal surfaces on the battery posts, cables, and clamps.
6. Replace rubber boot or plastic shield that covers the positive terminal.

As for the wiper blade-
Replacing the whole blade rather than just the rubber part is preferred for a few reasons. Although it is cheaper to just replace the rubber part of the blade, changing the whole wiper blade is easier, faster, and will perform more efficiently. Also when replacing just the rubber part, the wiper blade structure will weaken over time possibly causing it to crack or break completely.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 23 2011 1:48 PM

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