- Streakers - blades leave smears on the windscreen, obstructing vision
- Squeakers - blades make an audible noise while in motion, causing irritation
- Soakers - blades fail to clear water away properly, blurring their view
- Scratchers - blades are in such bad condition they actually scratch the windscreen, risking permanent damage
In the annoying sound stakes, it jostles for pole position with fingernails scraped across the blackboard. For thousands of motorists, all too many a winter journey is accompanied by the cacophony of wipers making their squealing progress back and forth across the windscreen, jarring our aural sensibilities while leaving us with a smeared field of vision.
Yet Kwik-Fit rightly points out that this is a torture of our own choosing – the fast fit network’s research shows that one in three British motorists are driving with defective windscreen wipers blades and 56 per cent of us don’t check this easily and affordably replaceable item from one year to the next.
According to Kwik Fit’s study, motorists reported four main wiper blade faults:
Streakers - 16% or 5.4 million motorists’ blades leave smears on the windscreen, obstructing vision
Squeakers - 13% or 4.5 million motorists said their blades made an audible noise while in motion, causing irritation
Soakers - 3% or 1 million motorists said their blades fail to clear water away properly, blurring their view
Scratchers - 1% or 200,000 motorists admitted their blades are in such bad condition they actually scratch the windscreen, risking permanent damage
Motorists under 25 years old are the most likely to have worn out wiper blades with 58% reporting a problem. Conversely older drivers aged 65 and over take the best care of their wiper blades with nearly three quarters (72%) reporting they’re in perfect condition.
Ian Fraser, chief executive at Kwik Fit, said: “It’s easy to overlook worn wiper blades or just wait for them to be replaced at the next service or MOT but in poor winter weather when conditions are already tough the last thing motorists need is impaired visibility. The extra workload placed on wiper blades this time of year can quickly finish them off but replacing them is cheap, quick and potentially life saving.”