CLEVELAND — The snowy weather often means extra work for car owners, but there’s one shortcut that could cost you in the long run.
You may notice in the winter, many drivers put their windshield wipers straight up into the air to keep them from freezing to the windshield, but it also means you’re putting stress on the spring that holds the wiper arms against the windshield.
“I guess that would definitely assist you in scraping your windshield off if the wiper blades were frozen to the windshield, but it can be a very costly mistake in high winds,” said William Robinson, general manager of Terry’s North Coast Auto.
Robinson said leaving the wipers up exposes the plastic gears and other mechanical components that could be weakened or damaged by forceful wind gusts.
The exposure to the elements could also cause the rubber blade to be blown off.
“If the winds catch that or somebody bumps your car, and that wiper blade will slam against that cold windshield and crack your glass,” Robinson said.
An alternative way to save time is to cover the entire windshield with a blanket, tarp, or even a piece of cardboard to prevent show and ice buildup: another essential winter addition—winter wiper blades.
“The winter blades are referred to now as profile blades, and they don't have the little plastic junctions and pieces that can move,” Robinson said. “It's all one-piece wiper blade, and it doesn't have any pieces on it that can freeze and stop it from working properly.”
Another big mistake Robinson’s shop sees the most in the winter is driving with old or worn-down tires. You can use the coin trick to inspect your tires.
If you insert a penny or quarter into the tread and see either George Washington or Abraham Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.
“Having good traction in the front and the rear is very important regardless of the drive type of your vehicle, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive,” Robinson said. “It’s important to have good tires, not the rear of your vehicle, so your vehicle doesn’t lose control while at higher speeds and taking corners.”
Jon Rudder at WEWS first reported this story.