Lucas reveals true causes of windscreen wiper issues

Increase customer satisfaction by offering simple but effective advice when selling or replacing blades

Lucas reveals true causes of windscreen wiper issues
Streaking, chattering, smearing and noise are all common wiper blade problems.

Lucas say wiper blades should be checked every six months, or roughly every 7,500 miles and cleaned or replaced as appropriate.

As the winter months draw closer, drivers should ensure that the rubber has not been damaged or worn by ultraviolet rays and higher temperatures during the summer.

They should also be checked at the end of winter, after the ice and cold temperatures have taken their toll.

Depending on environmental conditions, the lifespan of wiper blades can vary dramatically, therefore such regular checks are vital.


Narrow streaks left on the windscreen or bands of water that remain after each stroke can simply be caused by dirt, dust or debris between the blade and the windscreen.

Thoroughly clean the screen and gently clean the blades.

If the blades brittle or cracked ultraviolet light and ozone may have caused the rubber to dry out.

Water on the screen passes through the cracks causing the narrow streaks and the blade must be replaced.


If the wiper blade skips or judders across the windscreen causing noise and banding, check the angle of the wiper arm.

A smooth motion requires the blade to sit perpendicular to the screen otherwise the blade will face resistance as it is pushed across causing skipping or juddering even if the blade is box fresh.

Remove the blade at rest and lay the arm carefully on the screen.

Take a line from roof to bonnet, where the arm touches the screen it should be flat on that line, if not then very carefully twist it back into profile.

Extreme temperatures and extended periods of non-use can cause the rubber blade to curve, changing the contact angle and causing the judder – in this case the blade will need to be replaced.

Missed areas

Ensure the blade is free from tree sap and other foreign matter and check for splits in the rubber, separating it from the wiper.

General ageing usually causes this and again ultraviolet rays from the sun are a contributing factor.

A split wiper blade will need to be replaced.


Start by ensuring that the windscreen is thoroughly clean.

Stubborn contaminates that may not be obviously visible can come between the wiper and the glass causing noise.

If the squeaking persists check the wiper assemblies and in particular the spring tension.

If they are too loose air will get trapped between the blade and screen causing a squeak, too tight and the blades are more likely to drag and chatter across the screen.

Old blades may start to squeak as the rubber hardens; in this case replacement will be required.


Smearing in both directions usually indicates a dirty blade or screen.

Again, thoroughly clean the windscreen and gently clean the blade. If the problem reoccurs later try using a higher quality screen wash.

Smearing in one direction is common in cold conditions but can be a sign that the blade is deteriorating.

For more Lucas TechAssist advice and to find out more about Lucas, select ‘More Details’ below.

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