My windshield wipers suck! And I just put them on last year! What's the deal?
Talk about frustrating. You just put windshield wipers on and now they aren't clearing like they did when they were new, right? This is a very common call for us to get and, depending on where you live, it is a common call for most shops. I would say the exceptions would be in the Northwest where it rains and rains and rains. When I lived in Portland, which I did from 1996 to 2000, I don't remember ever replacing my wipers - but that could just be poor recollections of Stumptown.
Now, try and have a little empathy for that poor wiper. Here in Colorado, think about leaving a rubber toy out in the yard starting in the fall, then through the single-digit temps of winter, followed by the wet spring and finalizing in the scorching temps of the summer. How is that toy looking now? Something your kids are dying to play with? Nope. It's destroyed. But wipers don't just sit dormant like the toy, they are scrubbing away snow, ice, bugs, rain and whatever other junk decides to find it's way onto your windshield. Even if you're a sweetheart to the blades by leaving them off the windshield when it snows or freezes and using the washers regularly throughout the summer, that wiper is getting hammered. So, in short, don't be surprised when they need replacement every 6 months. This is common and should be expected.
We have done quite a bit of experimentation over the years of cheap blades, expensive blades, mid-grade blades, snow blades, and on and on. Here's the sad truth: they all go bad in the Mother Nature's care. So, you may ask, what kind of wiper should I buy? This is a great question. What we have found is that cheap blades typically don't clear right from the get-go, so it is best to stay away from those units. Really expensive blades really don't do much more than the mid-grade blades so why throw away your money on those unless they are the only fitment for your car (sorry Mercedes owners!)? Mid-grade is the way to go. We do like winter blades and uni-blade systems where the snow and ice doesn't lodge itself in the flexible portion of the wiper, so those are worth an extra few bucks. Good wiper blades can be found for between $15-$25. There's no real need to go beyond that price point in our opinion. And, it is good to baby those blades with a little moisture in the summer and by making sure the windshield is clear before using them in the winter. If you're one of those people who likes to use the wipers to clear 6" of snow off your windshield in the winter you're going to need a lot more than just replacement blades.
Other than that, there are plenty of good brands out there. Since you'll be replacing them every 6 months feel free to experiment!