Q: How do you stop windshield wipers from flopping against the window frame? Mine make noise and the ends of the blades wear out quickly and shred. These are the original, correct wipers and I don’t understand why they operate this way. Could you help? — Mavis in Troy, Mich.
A: Your problem is much more common than you’d think. New vehicles are coming out of the showrooms with this issue and the dealers’ shops can’t do much about it. Sometimes the wiper arms are adjusted incorrectly but more often, the wiper blades are too long for quiet operation. Why is this the case? Because for safety reasons, there are federal regulations relating to the “swept area” of windshields. As windshields get wider and narrower and raked at shallow angles, it’s more difficult to engineer wipers to clear the required area without adding a third one or engineering articulated systems. It’s cheaper to put a long blade on them and let it thrash itself.
Blades are sold in one-inch increments and often you can replace the original ones with shorter versions. If not, I just cut off an inch or two of the blade as long as its mounting points don’t interfere. It’s a crude fix but an effective one.