Wipers streaking during RETURN sweep

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May 9, 2003
Fayetteville, NC
This happens with 2 of our cars; the Elantra and the Mazda (a bit).

The driver side wipers wipes clean on the cleaning sweep, but suring the RETURN sweep it smears and RE-APPLIES water on the windshield ! drives me NUTS!
OEM whatever on Mazda
Bosch Icons on the Elantra (which is a lot worse than the Mazda in this regard).

windshield is very clean, and no visible damage on the wipers in question.

Why does this happen? does the wiper not SIT tight on the w-shield? are any brands NOT prone to this?
Try this, it may help.
Bring the wiper arm up where you can work on them.
On the wiper arm put a piece of tape in the middle then use a small adjustable wrench to twist the arm very slightly one way or the other usually the opposite direction from the clean sweep.
This also cures chattering.

Do not tweak the arm too much, it only takes a little and not much pressure to achieve the result.
Originally Posted By: 97tbird
windshield is very clean, and no visible damage on the wipers in question.

But are the wiper inserts clean and not greasy?

Maybe you could try some rubber cleaner/conditioner on them? Just be careful - some of those chemicals might actually dry the rubber out too much and shorten their life.

If all else fails, how about just getting new rubber inserts? They can't possibly be that expensive.
Get a cloth and spray some WD-40 on it and vigorously clean the wiper and let it dry. This will usually improve it by cleaning it and softening the rubber. But the asymmetrical wiping is also caused by the wiper having folded over and not standing up straight. Sometimes you can restore this by popping the wipers up so they aren't pressed against the glass and leaving the car in the sun for a few days.
Pete: yeah the inserts are clean.
Trav: I will try the bending trick. Don't know if I can do it with Bosch icons well.
Charlie / Qwerty dude: will try cleaning them with WD 40 and rubber conditioner and see if the trick with letting them stand up straight would work.

Thanks, all !
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I had a lot of issues on my 'F150 with this. The blades it had when purchased used did it REAL bad, replaced with Napa winter blades which were as bad. Picked up some cheapy Raineater Element blades for $2 from menards and those worked pretty good for a couple months. Now I'm wearing Goodyear Assurance blades from Costco. Can't guess how long they will last but so far performance is not good- its perfect.

The two cars I've used Rain-X blades on never had an issue.
Agree about the quality of the Costco/Goodyear blades. They work perfectly, and they usually go on coupon in the fall months.
When you pick up the wiper blade look at the actual rubber squeegee part. It ought to be as close to vertical as possible. If it is permanently bent to one side or the other you may get streaking or skipping on one direction, but not the other. All rubber blades will do this eventually, but the rubber "spine" itself looses flexibility over time and that plays into the issue.

Factors that affect how long it takes for this to happen include quality of the rubber, exposure to chemicals, exposure to UV light, and exposure to heat. My blades last a very long time these days because my car is "indoors" all the time (garages at work and home). If you have an outdoor car the lifespan of your blades/refills can be as short as six months.
Yeah the Beater Elantra sits outside all the time.
Mazda is garaged at home, but outside at work...

Might try Rain-X wipers next time on the Elantra.
Honestly I've had the best luck with the cheapest wipers you can buy. Being in Phoenix it doesn't really matter which brand you get if you park in the sun because they dry out at the same time regardless.
There are no RIGHT wipers. If you care, you have to experiment to find the best. It's not always OEM. But, I've never found ONE wiper that worked well with all cars.
Clay the windshield, then wipe the glass down with IPA.

If that doesn't work, then go play with the wipers.
Originally Posted By: 97tbird

The driver side wipers wipes clean on the cleaning sweep, but suring the RETURN sweep it smears and RE-APPLIES water on the windshield ! drives me NUTS!

Turn the wipers end-for-end.

(half-kidding, someone had to say it...)
Wax from shampoo can couse this. Also if car sits for longer period it's good to pull wipers upright from windscreen. Rubber deforms from pressure over time.
Originally Posted By: The Critic
Clay the windshield, then wipe the glass down with IPA.

If that doesn't work, then go play with the wipers.


Then clean the blades with rag soaked in 91% ISO alcohol. Afterward treat with Meg's interior protectant or equivalent. You'd be surprised how well they work.
I agree that not all wiper brands works well on every car, it's hit & miss!

I have also read from others that, interior/exterior treatments such as tire/dash dressings, will work well on the rubber wiping edge of the blades. I have never tired this but, I may!

I have been using on all of our car in my signature...Rain-X Glass Treatment and Rain-X Latitude Beam Style Wiper Blades.
(I have no ties to the Rain-X brands of products).

Often, I clean the wiper blade edge with CRC Silicon(dry)Spray Lube from Walmart*. It dries quickly and leaves no residue like many other silicone spray lubes.

This technique has given us the best results for a clean windshield in the foul weather and winter cold.

I don't like using alachol on the wiper blades as it tends to dry the rubber causing tooooooo much chatter in colder temps although, it's fine for the summer time.
My driver's side does this as well -- on my Jeep. It's quite annoying. I flipped the blade around, and it helped for awhile. I'm using the GY blades from Costco. I haven't had problems using them on other vehicles. I'll have to try clay + IPA as well.
I've tried a lot of things on my DD...I've cleaned the windscreen with white vinegar, Bon Ami, professional glass cleaner, a Rain-X cleaning kit with claybar, 0000 steel wool, used expensive silicone blades, cheap-o blades, even replaced the arms. Found that the cheap-o blades worked the best, but still not very well. Everything squeaks and streaks. Almost seems like the only cure will be a new windscreen and I'm not having that...
Yeah I guess I'll just have to live with it while experimenting with different types/brands of wiper blades.
It's not horrible, or severely obstructing vision; but i just keep noticing that 6" x 6" area that's always smeared/streaked - moderate annoyance.

Thanks for all the comments, and if I find a pair that doesn't do it after some use, I will update here.
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