Windshield Wipers Leave Streaks – How Can You Prevent It?

You may ask “Why do windshield wipers leave streaks, and how to avoid it?” if you’re tired of encountering this problem. Worn-out, dirty, and overworked windshield wipers will leave ugly streaks.

Windshield Wipers Leave Streaks

You may also see streaks if the washer fluid is dirty or if the windshield is cracked. Read on to discover how you can prevent streaks after running your wipers.

Why Do Your Car Windshield Wipers Leave Streaks? 

Your car windshield wipers leave streaks because the wiper blades are worn-out, dirty, cracked, or overworked. Perpetual dirt and cracks or chips will also lead to streaks. A clean wipe requires clean washer fluid and firm contact between the wipers and the windshield.

– The Wipers Are Overworked

Windshield wipers are made of a piece of rubber supported by a metal frame. The wipers are designed to clear your windscreen, especially on rainy days. The wipers do not replace the thorough cleaning your windshield requires for visibility.

If your windshield is full of dust and debris, running the wipers over the dirt overworks them. They will leave annoying streaks because they carry more weight than they are made to handle. The problem, in this case, is not with the wipers but with the accumulated dirt on the windshield.

– Old Wiper Blades

Worn-out blades leave streaks as you clean because of the hardened and cracked rubber underneath. Streaking occurs because the cracked rubber misses some parts of the windshield. The streaks will appear when you run wipers until you replace the cracked rubber.

Why Do Your Car Windshield Wipers Leave Streaks

If the windshield wiper streaks in one direction, it is either old, hard, or the wrong size. The metal frame may also bend over time, causing the wipers to miss some areas while cleaning the windshield.

– Cracks on the Windshield

The windshield wiper blade may be in good condition, but the windshield is chipped or cracked. The wiper blades will skip the cracks or chips on the windshield, leaving ugly streaks as they navigate the obstacles.

Repairing any cracks on the windshield is necessary to protect the wipers. Sometimes the blades fail to navigate the cracks and are caught in the cracks. The result is premature wear and tear. The metal frame may also break as you overwork the blades on a cracked windshield.

– Dirty Washer Fluid 

Windshield wipers will leave streaks if you are running a dirty washer fluid. The fluid may have some debris or dirt if your blades are clean and perfect.

You could have added contaminated washer fluid or poured the clean fluid into a dirty container. In addition, the fluid may also freeze in cold weather, causing the blades to skip some parts of the windshield.

– Dirty Wiper Blades

If you are asking “Why does my new windshield wipers leave streaks?” then the problem could be dirty blades. The wiper blade accumulates debris or dust as you drive. Hence, your weekly car wash should include cleaning the wipers thoroughly.

If you clean the windshield and ignore the edges on the wipers, the windshield will have streaks. The wipers should be clean and dry to work efficiently.

How To Prevent Windshield Wipers From Leaving Streaks

To prevent windshield wipers from leaving streaks, inspect the wipers regularly for any cracks or keep the windshield clean. Wash the wipers with soap and water and dry them with a microfiber towel. Consider buying a premium washer fluid and replacing the wipers every year.

– Regular Inspection and Maintenance 

The rubber edge on windshield wipers wears out with time, causing the wipers to be ineffective. Inspect the wipers regularly to ensure that the rubber is in good condition. Check for any cracks, holes, tears, or corrosion on the metal frame.

Ensure that the edge makes firm contact with the windshield when you run the wipers. In addition, ensure that the metal frame is properly installed without any bends. Maintenance should also include cleaning the wiper blades with soap and water.

Preventing Windshield Wipers From Leaving Streaks

One important tip on how to clean wiper blades properly is to use a microfiber cloth and alcohol to dry the edge after washing. The alcohol speeds up drying and conditions the rubber. Remember to wipe the edges in the same direction until they are dry.

– Keep the Windshield Clean 

New wiper blades not cleaning properly means that the problem lies with the windscreen. Perpetual dirt on your windshield leads to streaks, but cleaning it regularly can prevent them. If your regular routes are dusty, consider cleaning the windscreen daily or several times a week. Use a chemical cleaner to remove all the dirt, and then wipe with a microfiber cloth or towel — air drying may leave the streaks you are trying to avoid.

Picking the right glass cleaner can help you avoid streaks. Any cleaner made of ammonia will damage the protective layer on your windshield. In addition, such a cleaner is highly likely to leave residue on the glass.

Another important tip is to pick a covered area to clean your car. Cleaning under direct sunlight will cause the water and washer liquid to evaporate faster, leaving some residue on the glass. The residue will appear as streaks the next time you run the wipers. Regular car waxing is also recommended for a clean finish.

– Avoid Extreme Driving Conditions 

Driving through extremely dusty roads often causes perpetual dirt or debris on the windshield. In addition, driving under heavy rains or extremely cold weather overworks the windshield wipers.

Avoid such driving conditions as much as possible to protect your wipers and other car parts from premature wear and tear.

– Buy Premium Wipers and Washer Fluid 

You need to replace windshield wipers every year. If you are already experiencing inefficiencies with the current set, consider a premium brand when replacing them. Once you find a premium brand that works efficiently, save the name because you will need it after a year.

Premium Car Wipers

You do not need a mechanic to replace windshield wiper blades. You can uninstall the old wipers and install the new ones within 10 minutes while following the user’s manual. Ensure that the metal frame is firmly fixed to give the blades firm contact with the windshield.

Additionally, consider changing the wiper fluid while shopping for wipers. A high-quality washer fluid gives a streak-free clean when used with quality wipers. You can change the fluid as well without a mechanic.

– Avoid Running Icy or Dry Wipers

Running dry or icy wipers on a dry windscreen leaves streaks and damages the wipers. You may cause permanent scratches on the windscreen, forcing you to replace it.

In addition, the metal frame on the wipers is built to run on a wet windscreen and not a dry or icy windscreen.

– Replace a Chipped Windscreen 

A cracked windshield always has streaks, even after replacing the wipers and washer fluid. You can drive with a few scratches, but you need to budget for a new windshield. Preventive measures such as avoiding dry or icy wipers will protect your windshield. In addition, consider a car cover and secure parking spaces to avoid scratches.

In case of an accident that shatters your windshield, ask your mechanic to replace it immediately. Driving with a cracked windshield is risky, especially in extreme weather conditions and on rough roads.

– Treat the Windshield With Water Repellent 

Another important tip on how to get rid of windshield wiper streaks is to apply water repellent on the windshield. You can apply the repellent after thoroughly washing and drying the windshield.

The water repellent causes water droplets to bounce off the windscreen. Consequently, you do not need to run the wipers as much when driving.

Why Do Windshield Wipers Leave Streaks and Preventing It Conclusion


Windshield wipers help you maintain a clean windshield when driving.

Here are some tips to remember when you notice any streaks on your windshield:

  • A cracked or chipped windshield will cause streaks even when wipers are functional.
  • Wipers wear out over time and lose their efficiency in cleaning the windshield.
  • Perpetual dirt on the windshield overworks the wipers, leading to streaks.
  • A contaminated washer fluid leaves ugly streaks when you run the wipers.
  • Avoid running dry or icy wipers to protect your windshield and wipers.

A weekly car wash is necessary to keep your windshield and wipers clean. Wipers are ineffective in cleaning accumulated dust on the windscreen.

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