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Wipers: One of the first electrical devices created in cars

Wiper blades, let’s be honest, are not very exciting really, although blade manufacturers would of course disagree. But let’s take a moment to pay homage to the humble safety component, which has come a long way since its conception when glass windshields were introduced in the early 1900s. They originally took form as brushes and it was Mary Anderson who created a swinging arm that was activated by the driver using a lever inside the car. Rubber strips soon replaced the brushes and it was Hawaiian dentist Dr Ormand Wall who is responsible for the automatic wiper motion as we know it, placing an electric motor in the top centre of the windshield, moving the wiper across in a rainbow shape. 

The materials and technology have moved on somewhat, to promote clear visibility in all weather conditions with streak and judder-free performance. When a car comes in for a service, perhaps it is easy to focus on more pressing repairs, but it is worth checking these essential safety components to help keep your customers safe on the road. It is worth reminding them that if windscreen wipers don’t function properly, or there’s not enough wiper fluid to effectively keep the screen clean, they could be fined. 

If a car’s windscreen wipers are found not to meet the required standard, motorists can receive an on-the spot fine of £100, which could potentially rise to £1,000 if the case goes to court. Car insurers are also unlikely to pay out if they find that the faulty wipers were a contributory factor in an accident or crash.


Elta Automotive, distributors of the VISIONPRO programme of replacement mirrors, bulbs and wipers, says that technicians can demonstrate an extra level of customer care by offering the following practical advice to motorists: 

• Clean wiper blades regularly with a lint-free cloth or paper towel soaked with a mild detergent or windscreen washer fluid 

• Thoroughly clean the windscreen at regular intervals to remove abrasive particles and contaminants 

• Never use the wiper blades to clear a frozen windscreen 

• Keep washer fluid topped up – there is little more harmful to a wiper than travelling across a dry, dirty windscreen. 

About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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