Fun With Winshield Wipers

Several weeks ago in preparation for our trip to Yellowstone (which I’ll say more about soon) I purchased a new wiper blade for my driver’s side windshield wiper. The old one was coming apart and rain was predicted for our trip.

Broken Wiper Blade

A trivial task you say? Nothing is too simple that I can’t screw it up.

At Walmart I perused the options and went with a premium blade–guaranteed for two million wipes!–because, hey, nothing but the best for my 2012 Camry. The packaging touted its new blade material. So when I removed the blade from its packaging and saw that the wiper part was blue and felt hard, I thought cool, that’s the new advanced material. My windshield will be spotless.

But when after installing the blade I tested it with washer fluid, the results were disappointing. Instead of wiping the fluid away it just spread it around. Being somewhat slow on the uptake, I thought it probably just needed to be broken in. Heh.

Two weeks later in Yellowstone it started to rain. After a few minutes of smearing water over the windshield it became obvious the breaking in wasn’t happening. I stopped the car and examined the wiper. Thinking maybe I had installed it going the wrong way, I removed it and discovered it would only go on the way I had first put it on. In the process I noticed that the actual (blue advanced composite) blade seemed to be coming loose from the arm that held it. It stopped raining.

Twenty minutes later as we were parked, it started raining again, this time pretty hard. My wiper was useless; I didn’t think I could drive with the darned thing. My complaints were loud and bitter. The rain stopped once more. I drove off not a little worried that if it started to rain again we’d be in trouble. I couldn’t let the problem go and thought about the loose blade I had noticed. Stopping once more I decided I’d better make sure the blade was secure. When I lifted the wiper from the windshield and grabbed the blade this is what I found.

Blue Plastic Wiper Sheath

Surprise! The smart folks who manufactured the wiper had enclosed the actual blade in a hard plastic sheath that was not in fact an “advanced composite.” Chagrined is not a strong enough word to describe how I felt upon re-entering the car after my discovery. Humiliated may be better. The wiper of course worked perfectly once I actually, you know, installed the wiper. I was gratified, though, to be able to provide the lovely Marianne with hours of entertainment for the remainder of the trip as she pointed out each time a rain drop hit the windshield how well the wiper was working.

The moral of the story is…I don’t know. Don’t be stupid, I suppose.

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