The Evolution of the Wiper Blade

Posted on: 20th March 2024

Possibly one of the simplest vehicle components, the conventional wiper blade has been a simple design for many years. But what’s changing? We take a look at the evolution of the wiper blade and what this means for retail, the automotive industry and consumers going forwards…

When something works so seamlessly, it’s often overlooked or forgotten in its existence altogether. However, when a new, better alternative is created, it becomes clear that improvements can be found in the smallest of changes. The humble wiper blade is experiencing just that right now. Possibly one of the simplest vehicle components, the conventional wiper blade has been a simple design for many years. But what’s changing? At Simply Brands, we want our Simply Auto products to offer the latest and greatest in technology for our distributors and stockists, so we’ve done our research to share the latest news with you…

Why is the wiper blade design and quality so important?
Having reliable and good quality wiper blades can be an absolutely crucial element to a driver’s safety. According to a study by The Department of Transportation and National Safety Council, 47% of accidents happen during precipitation, and 90% of driving decisions are based on what you see. Blades that are not properly maintained or replaced every 12 months can reduce their effectiveness and create issues such as streaking, chattering, squeaking and smearing; all of which reduce visibility and the ability to drive safely.

What’s a ‘conventional’ wiper blade?
The traditional wiper blade has a simple ‘hook’ connection and a small number of parts within it and is relatively easy for retailers to stock (just 15 parts will cover 98% of cars with conventional blades). They’re also quick & easy for consumers to install. Their shape is relatively straight as they were originally designed for the flatter style windshield of older vehicles and are made of high-quality rubber. They have around six to eight contact points on the windshield and provide highly effective window cleaning with proper use.

What’s a flat wiper blade?
The flat wiper blade (also known as a ‘beam’, ‘jointless’, or ‘aero’ blade) was introduced in the early noughties, this blade offered more even pressure across the whole windshield of modern vehicles which no longer have a ‘flat’ windshield. The curved design provides consistent pressure for a stronger, clearer wipe and results in more even wear across the whole blade length instead of wearing prematurely on just 6-8 pressure points. Flat blades also incorporate a spoiler (airfoil) to help stop the blade from lifting away from the windscreen at high speeds. Whilst these blades deliver better performance for the driver, they can be harder for retailers to stock due to an increased number of SKU’s, and more complicated for consumers to fit due to different wiper arm connections and fitting clips.

How does a hybrid wiper blade work?

Appreciating the effectiveness and improvements made with the beam wiper blade and the sturdy design of the traditional wiper blade, the hybrid wiper combines a number of positive design elements. This has a sturdy frame as found in the conventional wiper, but also the sleek, contemporary design of the new, beam wiper blade. They have enhanced durability with a sleek plastic shell which creates a contemporary look and feel and acts as a spoiler to reduce wind lift. Combining traditional and modern technology to create a hybrid result enables the automotive industry to offer tried and tested technology but adapted for upgraded performance.

Are hybrid wiper blades commonplace?
The design is still relatively new and although only around 5% of vehicles on the UK roads currently have them fitted, this is rising every year, and more than 20% of new vehicles are fitted with them as standard. They are particularly common on Japanese & Korean manufactured cars from Kia, Hyundai & Toyota; as well as some European models including Opel Insignia, Mini One, BMW X5 and more.

How does Simply Brands accommodate the wiper blade market?
Simply Auto is extending the wiper blade range to include both conventional and multi-fit flat blades to cover over 95% of cards on the road. This means the excellent quality and value you know you get from Simply Brands, available in options suited to pretty much all cars out there! Simply flat blades are designed with a simple “multi-clip” fitment which means that not only are they easy to stock and fit, but they will also replace both conventional and hybrid blades to make flat blade technology available for all vehicles.
However, due to the importance of keeping a clean, clear and safe windshield when driving, there are other ways to protect that visibility. Using a frost shield during colder weather when the vehicle isn’t in use, keeps the windshield dry and free from leaves, dust and dirt that are swept through the air. Using a good quality ice-scraper to remove any ice and frost that does accumulate is also key to reducing the risk of scratching, as well as regular cleaning.

If scratches and chips do occur, you can use our Simply Auto Chip Repair Kit for professional results quickly and easily.

Back to previous page