On a car, good windshield wipers are kind of like good brakes: when you need them, they must work.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to see. And you’ll run into something.
To drive well, you must see well.
For much of the time, your wiper blades sit there, inert, underlining your windshield. But then you find yourself driving through a summer thunderstorm in Oklahoma, or going over Donner Pass in a blizzard, with passing semis depositing a gloppy mixture of slush and road grime on your windshield an inch thick. That’s when your trusty wipers need to save the day.
Or you might live in Portland, Oregon where you have to use your windshield wipers for days at a time.
So, for this crucial yet oft-neglected piece of automotive equipment, what wiper blades are the best?
Well, you see, that’s not as important as you might assume. Because there is something even better than a competent windshield wiper blade, a secret weapon that helps clear your windshield so that even the $5.88 wiper blades you buy at Walmart (not recommended by me, by the way) work pretty well, and top-rated wiper blades work superbly.
The secret weapon? A windshield glass treatment.
A windshield glass treatment is a chemical solution that plugs up the microscopic pores found in glass. Once the pores are filled in, water, snow, and sleet bead up and slide off the windshield much more easily. (See the video below, which demonstrates how the glass treatment from Rain-X works.)
The two best windshield glass treatment products are Aquapel and Rain-X Glass Treatment. Once applied, you will note how much easier it is to see through your windshield when driving in a rain storm, in snow, and in sleet (even when you’re not using the windshield wipers). The glass treatment also makes it much easier for your wiper blades and windshield washer fluid to remove dirt and bugs.
When it comes to Aquapel vesus Rain-X, Rain-X Glass Treatment and Aquapel perform about equally well when it comes to repelling water, sleet, and snow. An application of Aquapel will generally last longer before re-application is required than an application of Rain-X (months for the Aquapel as opposed to weeks for the Rain-X), but Aquapel is also more expensive per application than Rain-X.
You can buy Aquapel online from Tire Rack — which is a good recommendation for the product in itself, since Tire Rack is a business that has built a reputation for only carrying products that perform reliably.
You can get Rain-X Glass Treatment from Advance Auto Parts, which is one of the best general-purpose auto parts and auto equipment dealers around. Some of the Rain-X Glass Treatment products from Advance Auto Parts cannot be shipped, but not to worry… You can still order them online (and often take advantage of online discounts and promo code deals) and then pick up your product at one of the many Advance Auto Parts stores — they have nearly 3,800 locations nationwide.
While discussing Rain-X, I should mention another product you should be aware of: Rain-X 2-in-1 Windshield Washer Fluid. This is a windshield washer fluid that you put in your car’s windshield washer reservoir. Every time you use it, it not only cleans your windshield, it applies the Rain-X water-beading technology to the glass, which is a very convenient way to take advantage of this water-repelling s0lution. This product is rated to be usable at temperatures well below zero, and it will also help remove ice more easily from your windshield. Aquapel does not have an equivalent windshield washer fluid.
However, the best way to ensure that water slides off your windshield the most easily is to apply either Aquapel or Rain-X Glass Treatment directly to the glass by hand. (Be sure to carefully follow the directions for application.)
What about the best windshield wiper blades? There are 4 top-rated brands below.
I’ve been researching the best windshield wiper blades for some time. Turns out there are a number of good aftermarket wiper blades you can put on your car. According to professional reviews, customer reviews, consumer tests, recommendations from mechanics and auto technicians, and automotive forums, no wiper blade is perfect (and you’d think car manufacturers would have done something about that by now), but there are certain brands and models that stand out above the rest. Used in conjunction with a windshield glass treatment, the best wiper blades will ensure that you preserve your vital visibility when driving in hazardous, inclement conditions.
The top-rated wiper blades on the market are Rain-X Latitude Wiper Blades. These are probably the most-liked aftermarket wiper blades. You can find many positive customer reviews and “best-buy” recommendations for Rain-X Latitude Wiper Blades, including a recommendation from Consumer Reports. Actually, all windshield wiper blade models from Rain-X get good reviews (including Weatherbeater and Fusion blades).
You can get Rain-X Latitude Wiper Blades from Advance Auto Parts online. Check for their current online discount deals. You can find more info about Rain-X wiper blades and other products, plus installation instructions, on the Rain-X site.
The other generally recommended wiper blades are Bosch Icon Wiper Blades. These have almost as many positive reviews as the Rain-X Latitude Blades. When it comes to performance (clearing your windshield), these two brands are about equal, but Rain-X gets the edge because they last longer, sometimes months longer than other brands. Aside from how well they clean your windshield, you won’t need to replace the Rain-X blades as often.
You can find Bosch Icon Wiper Blades at Advance Auto Parts. On the Advance Auto Parts website, check the many positive customer reviews for these blades.
Or, when it comes to replacing wiper blades, you can also simply find the OEM brand that originally came with your car and get the same kind if you’re happy with how they work. Just be sure to use them along with a windshield glass treatment for best performance.
Additionally, I should also mention the two brands of windshield wiper blades carried by Tire Rack: PIAA Silicone Wiper Blades and Valeo Wiper Blades. Both PIAA and Valeo have their dedicated fans. (PIAA blades seem to be particularly appreciated by owners of high-performance cars. And Valeo makes many of the OEM wiper blades used by a number of different auto manufacturers.) Use the search functionality on the Tire Rack site to enter the information about your car to see if wiper blades from PIAA or Valeo will fit.
Bottom line: you probably cannot go wrong with any of the top-rated wiper blade brands and models mentioned here. Use them in conjunction with Aquapel or Rain-X Glass Treatment and avoid loss of vision when driving.
Regarding how important windshield wipers can be to your safety, here are some interesting facts from Rain-X:
- 90% of the decisions you make when driving are based solely on vision.
- During National Car Care Month, a survey of vehicles going through check lanes showed that one in five vehicles had deficient windshield wipers and windshield washer systems that could result in serious impairment of the driver’s vision.
- Many drivers wait several years to replace windshield wipers that wore out after only 6 months to 1 year of use.
- Since 1 in 5 vehicles have deficient windshield wiping and cleaning systems, that means that in the United States, approximately 46 million drivers are putting themselves (and others) at risk during stormy weather.
Don’t you be one of them. Use the windshield products reviewed in this post, see well, drive safely.
Here’s the video about how Rain-X Glass Treatment works:
With the right wiper blades (and windshield treatment) on your car, you’ll be able to confidently enjoy the road, rain or shine!