Today’s Wipers Give You a Clear Advantage
Without a doubt, ensuring the vehicles in your fleet are running reliably, efficiently and most of all safely is a big job. But it's an investment of time and effort that’s proven their worth to fleet managers over and over again, in every aspect of transportation.
The good news? One of the most important systems to ensure your vehicles are ready to take on whatever winter can dish out is also one of the simplest: the windshield wiping systems, particularly the wiper blades.
Central to any windshield wiping system are the soft, flexible wiper blades. While they’ve been doing their part to keep windshields clear for better than a century, today’s blades are most definitely not your father’s blades. Improvements in design, materials and manufacturing processes have created wiper blades that outlast and outperform those of even a few short years ago.
While all of today’s wiper blades are the best they’ve ever been, one of the more notable rollouts in wiper technology is a premium product known as “beam” wiper blades.
Beam Blades: Ahead of the Curve
Right behind brakes, wiper blades are considered your fleet’s most vital safety feature. So clearly, equipping your vehicles with the optimal type of blade does matter. Between conventional and the new beam-type wiper blades, beam blades outperform in just about every way possible.
Let’s start with the basics. First off, windshields are never perfectly flat. In fact, today’s windshields are becoming more and more curved to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
At the same time, the quality of the wiper blade coverage on any windshield is based upon their points of contact, or pressure points. The greater the number of contact points, the greater the overall wiper pressure, and the better the visibility and driving experience. The problem lies with how traditional blades conform -- or rather do not naturally conform -- to the modern curved windshield.
Conventional wiper blades consist of a replaceable rubber blade that snaps into several contact points on a metal frame. Generally, traditional blades feature six to eight such contact points, each containing a spring that applies pressure to the windshield. Since there’s a limited number of springs on each blade, conventional blades tend to wipe windshields less evenly than beam blades. On a curved windshield, that means there will be gaps and some parts of the blade will not be in full contact with the windshield as they wipe.
Beam blades are designed differently. Rather than a few spring-loaded pressure points, beam blades offer an infinite number of pressure points. That means no gaps and consistent force is applied to the entire length of the wiper blade -- every part of it -- throughout the entire sweep of the blade.
Capturing the Wind
Due to their infinite-point-of-contact design, beam blades also perform better all year ‘round, in the widest possible range of inclement weather conditions. Keep in mind, overall blade performance isn’t based only on the amount of precipitation, but also on the intensity of the wind. High winds can produce a drag on the wiper blades that leads to “wind lift,” a condition in which the blade is lifted and separated from the windshield. As the wiper blades lose contact with the windshield, drivers lose sight of the road.
With their unique aero design and infinite surface contact, beam blades turn those winds to their advantage, creating a force that actually increases pressure on the blade and pushes it more tightly against the windshield. In other words, the stronger the force of wind hitting the beam blade, the better it will work!
From their durable spoilers, to the higher-strength steel and longer lasting rubber, premium beam blades have what it takes to topple some of the harshest weather conditions and still dole out optimal performance. In some instances, beam blades can be counted on to last 3X longer than conventional blades. Are they a little bit more expensive to purchase upfront? In most cases, yes. But when you consider you’re buying premium blades that outperform and potentially outlast traditional blades, the extra investment is well worth it.
Built Stronger to Last Longer
Another advantage that comes with premium beam blades is that they utilize high-strength steel and higher quality blade materials. This helps them last longer and endure harsher road conditions. Additionally, they have no exposed parts, which helps prevent ice and snow buildup. For fleets that operate in areas with harsh winters, unpredictable summers, and everything in between, beam blades are often the superior choice.
Why Should You Consider Beam Blades?
- Unlike conventional blades with relatively few pressure points, beam blades are made to provide an infinite number of pressure points along their entire length. That difference results in a blade that hugs the windshield tightly, eliminating gaps and providing better, more consistent wiping coverage.
- Aerodynamic design prevents wind drag, helping to prevent them from lifting away from the windshield when winds are high.
- Beam blades are more durable than traditional blades requiring virtually no need to replace due to damage or defect.
- Beam blades are one piece. Fewer moving parts means no clogs, and reduces the chances of wear, breakage and replacement due to damage.
- Beam blades are smaller and lighter, thus out of sight and less exposed to chances for damage.
Pick the Blade Made For You
They say “The best wiper blade, of course, is the one that fits your vehicle and performs well throughout its service life.” But there are other factors to consider, and even the best quality blade may perform poorly if it doesn’t fit correctly.
So in addition to choosing between conventional and beam design, what else should you consider? Will you select silicone, which can last up to 60 percent longer than rubber wiper blades? Or will dual rubber or natural rubber composition suffice? Which is the right attachment style for your specific vehicles? How about the right size?
All good questions … and all questions Imperial Supplies can help you answer. Try our new Wiper Blade Finder and pinpoint the ideal solution for your needs. If you have further questions, your Dedicated Account Advisor can assist in making sure you’ll be seeing what’s ahead, all winter long.
Wiper Blade Performance Tips
- Make it a habit to check your windshield wipers every time you stop for fuel. This will help you identify wear and tear earlier, leading to a better-maintained blade.
- Consider using a wiper blade that’s slightly shorter than the recommended size to reduce drag. The difference in the area wiped is hardly noticeable, and you’ll be saving the wiper motor some trouble, extending its overall life and improving wiper performance.
- When one wiper blade is due for replacement, make sure you also switch out its mate. That keeps them working in sync, without any streaks, gaps, or skids.
- If you live in colder climates with frequent frost and snow, make sure to never use your windshield wipers to de-ice your windshield. This practice will wear them out quickly, costing you more in replacement costs in the long run.
- Extend the life of your wipers by cleaning the windshield frequently. This will remove dirt and debris that can otherwise weaken the rubber of the wiper blades.
- You can further improve the performance of your windshield wipers by giving them a good cleaning every once in a while. This will help prevent wear and tear, and it will ensure that your wipers are making good contact with the windshield, keeping them working at peak level.