When Minnesota motorists talk about vehicle safety, they think of tires and brakes. But do we think about our windshields? Isn’t the ability to see a prime safety factor when it comes to driving around North Dakota ? Yet we often don’t even notice our windshields until we can’t see through them, or until our wiper blades fail.

It’s estimated that around 46 million people are driving with wipers that won’t keep their windshields clear during a storm — that’s 46 million people with impaired vision during a storm. For safety’s sake, Minnesota motorists need to change the way they think about wiper blades. Most of us, 78% in fact, only change our wiper blades after they fail. In other words, we don’t get new ones until the old ones become a detrimental safety hazard. Instead, we Minnesota auto owners need to make wiper blades a vital part of our preventive maintenance routine.

Wiper blades should be changed twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. In North Dakota areas that experience harsh winter weather, special blades are available that prevent ice and snow from collecting on the wiper. Ask your kind and professional Kennedy Transmission Brake & Auto Service service specialist about wiper blades that repel ice and snow.

No matter what blades you use on your vehicle in the winter, don’t expect them to clear the ice and snow from your windshield after your vehicle has been parked for a while. Using your wipers will shred your blades and may even damage your wiper motor. And don’t drive on Minnesota roads with a frosted windshield. That’s a serious safety hazard. It can cause accidents, and you could be held liable.

Wiper blades are subjected to harsh conditions in Minnesota. They’re out in the Kennedy Transmission Brake & Auto Service sun and in the cold. Over time, they become hard and brittle and lose their flexibility. Then they start to tear. Without flexibility, wipers just can’t clear a windshield of water or snow. And torn wipers can actually scratch your windshield. Then the entire windshield has to be replaced — along with the wiper blades. It’s a prime example of how preventive maintenance could have saved you a steep repair bill.

Minnesota drivers can purchase new wiper blades at an auto service center or at any Minnesota auto parts store. They cost about the same. But the auto service center will throw in the installation.

Once you have good wipers installed, don’t forget to top off your windshield washer fluid. If you take your vehicle in for a full-service oil change at Kennedy Transmission Brake & Auto Service in Minnesota, your washer fluid will get topped off then. But it’s good auto advice to purchase a jug of washer fluid to keep at home — just in case. And pack it in the car when you go on long trips.

While we’re on the subject, Kennedy Transmission Brake & Auto Service advises Minnesota motorists to always fill their washer fluid reservoir with window washer fluid. Don’t ever use water. Water can freeze in the reservoir, which can damage it. It can also freeze onto your windshield. Besides, plain water just can’t get a windshield clean. Think about it. Do you use plain water to clean your bathroom mirrors? And a bathroom mirror doesn’t get exposed to anything near the gunk that can end up on your windshield. Windshield washer fluid was designed to do one thing — to clean windshields. Let it do its critical job.

A clean windshield is not just good car care for Minnesota car owners — it’s a vital safety feature. Let’s keep it that way.

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