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The different types of wiper blades explained

The different types of wiper blades explained

Wiper blades need no introduction, but they're a vital safety component fitted to every car. Nor are they as straightforward as you'd think, with several different types being available. 

Wiper blades generally come in one of three different styles, 'conventional', 'flat', and 'hybrid'. Conventional wipers have an articulated metal frame with the blade attached, whereas flat wipers are comprised of a thick rubber blade with a connection block in the middle.

Hybrid wipers are kind of a cross between the two, but the frame the blade is attached to acts as an aerodynamic spoiler which pushes the blades onto the screen.

If your car has conventional-style wipers you can still fit flat, or hybrid wipers, and they're commonly fitted to give both a performance and visual upgrade.

If however, your car came with a flat blade as standard, you can't then fit a conventional style blade.

Most cars feature 'normal wipers' which pivot from a linkage which is fitted behind the metal panel immediately in front of the windscreen, some cars have wipers that pivot from the corners of the windscreen, and 'park' in the A pillars when not in use.

Many wipers can be removed and replaced with them in the 'park' position, but others with hidden wipers require them to be put in the maintenance position. Details on how to do this will be in your handbook.

Wipers come in many different lengths so you want to make sure you get the correct length for your car. While many retailers will sell model specific sets that are the correct length, it's always worth measuring your existing blades to be on the safe side.

It's not just the length of the blades that you need to take note of, there are a variety of fixing mechanisms, but the two versions you're most likely to come across involve the wiper arm either being straight, or hooked.

On both wipers the blade can be released by squeezing a pair of tabs, or by sliding a latch.

This will allow the blade to be removed – either by pulling straight off, or, when the arm is hooked, by unclipping the blade so it effectively slides back down the arm.

Some wiper kits come with the correct attachment for your car and others are 'multi-fit' and come with a selection of different fitments. If yours is the latter compare what's on the current wiper to make sure you select the correct one.