In the world of windscreen wipers, flat’s where it’s at! Most modern cars are designed to take the latest flat, one-piece blades, which have a sprung metal spine that presses the rubber against the screen. We tested these in Issue 1,128.
If you have an older vehicle, you can still get flat blades, but a large adaptor is required to fit them to old-style wiper arms. Do they work as well? Or are you better sticking with conventional superstructure designs when you replace your blades? We test the best of both kinds. Bosch won our test of original-fit flat blades, so will it wipe up again?
Our 2006 model year Toyota Yaris test car caused a few problems for our wipers, as it combines a massive 60cm blade on the driver’s side with a tiny 35cm one ahead of the passenger. As always, though, wipe quality was a key part of our assessment, and we rated all our blades at motorway speeds using the screen washers. We also wanted them to be quiet, and measured noise while they swept a dry windscreen for a minute.
There were several solutions for fitting aftermarket designs to the Yaris’ wiper arms, so a comprehensive set of instructions was essential. Ease of installation was just as important, with the best products incorporating the correct adaptor, ready attached to the blade.
Price played a relatively small role; wipers are essential safety items, so we don’t think it’s worth skimping on cost. The figures quoted exclude delivery charges, and are for a pair suitable for our test Toyota. You can save a lot of money by shopping around online.
Astra 01952 608600 www.astraautomotive.co.uk
Autobulbs Direct 0844 884 2888 www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk
Halfords 0845 762 6625 www.halfords.com
TP 0871 918 2712 www.carparts-direct.co.uk
Wiper Blades (Valeo, Bosch) 01299 251130 www.wiperblades.co.uk
It’s a clean sweep for German producer Bosch, which narrowly takes the victory with its competitively priced conventional blade. On the screen, it was edged out in terms of performance by the flat-blade Valeo Revolution – but not by enough to overcome that £6 difference. Another retro-fit flat design completes the podium: the Wiper Blades product beat our Best Buy on price, but couldn’t repeat the feat on the windscreen.
1. Bosch Super Plus
2. Valeo Compact Revolution
3. Wiper Blades Universal Retrofit Flat Aero Blade