Are Silicone Wiper Blades worth the Money?
Like Rubber Wiper Blades and just about every other product or service, Silicone Wiper Blades come at different Price Levels, and buying the dearest doesnt necessarily mean getting the best.
In order to make an informed decision, we need to be able to spot quality features in Wiperblades, and understand what influence they have on Safety, Life and Performance.
Next we need a method of measuring the cost of Wiperblades against their useful life. We do that by dividing the cost of a single wiper blade by the number of 100,000 cycles in its expected life. A cycle being 1 wipe in each direction.
The cheapest and most basic Wiper Blades have a moulded rubber blade with an arrow-head profile offering a single wiping edge. Theyll also have a very cheaply constructed frame. Differences in Frame Quality are more difficult to spot, but usually, the blade quality is a good indicator of the overall quality of the Wiper Blade. Most un-branded Wiper Blades fall into this category.
Single edge Wiper Blades have a typical life of 200,000 cycles, and can cost as little as 3, so they cost at least 1.50 per 100,000 cycles
Most Motorists seek comfort in the big Global Brand Wiper Blades. They know theyre probably not getting the best value for money, but its a safe bet. Of course the big brands arent slow to take advantage of that, and so their prices arent always cost-effective.
Global Brands (and some smaller Brands) offer good quality Wiper Blades. They are easy to spot because the rubber blade has a profile like a small screwdriver instead of an arrow head. This means there are 2 Wiping Edges instead of one. As the Wiper Arm moves in one direction the blade flexes and trails, presenting one of the tips “corners” to the windscreen. On the Return Wipe, the blade flexes in the other direction, and uses the opposite edge to wipe the screen.
Quality Twin Edge Rubber Wiper Blades are good for around 500,000 (half a million) wipes. They reduce the risk of unwiped areas, and are much smoother and quieter than cheaper wiper blades. Typically they cost around 10 each, and so cost around 2 per 100,000 cycles.
Every pack of Rubber Wiperblades that Ive seen carries a warning that they should be replaced between 6-12 mnoths. Thats because U.V. Ozone and Pollution all combine to attack the Rubber Wiper Blades, even when theyre not being used. Thats really bad news for Low-Mileage Drivers and Classic Car Owners, because the Wipers often rot away before theyve done much work!
Silicone Wiper Blades wear much slower than Rubber ones. A good quality Silicone Wiper Blade has an expected life of 1,500,000 (one and a half million) cycles. Good Quality Silicone Wiper Blades cost slightly more than Premium branded rubber ones, about 12 each. Giving by far the lowest Cost over life of 0.85 per 100,000 Cycles – Obviously, thats great news for High-Mileage Drivers.