New Wipers--Same As The Old? We Try

May 20, 2011

Windshield wipers are one of those safety things that often go overlooked by many consumers. These pieces of rubber and metal sit outside of your car taking the abuse mother nature provides. From rain and scorching heat to snow and sub-zero temperatures, wiper blades are your line of defense against zero visibility on the road.

And visibility, ultimately, is what matters when you're choosing wipers. Will one wiper do a better job keeping the windshield clean than another?

Typically I have purchased Bosch wiper blades, ranging from the lower-end Excel+ to the top-of-the line Icons. The Bosch blades just always seem to work in any condition. But the Icon blades that are oh so nice, are oh so expensive. With a price tag of $22.99 per blade, you are throwing down nearly $50 after tax for a set of wiper blades. That's some price for rubber bits.

Michelin recently sent us a set of its new wiper blades dubbed Stealth. This new wiper blade is what you could call a hybrid; it combines the spring-loaded characteristics of a traditional wiper blade with the aerodynamic and anti-snow build up characteristics of a new beam-style (single-piece, more rigid) blade. Michelin claims this design offers more contact with the windshield and a better overall design.

The best part? The blades retail for $11.99 a piece. That's the same cost as the old style Bosch Excel+ blades and half the price of those Bosch Icon blades.

After spending a month with the new Michelin Stealth blades it is clear they are a value, but I'm not convinced they are really more aerodynamic than a traditional blade. They have the look of the beam blade, though the Stealth blades definitely are bulkier than the new beam blades.

As you would expect, the new Michelin Stealth blades do clear the windshield of rain as advertised, but not really any better than those cheaper Excel+ wipers would. The exception is that we suspect the Stealth blades do a bit better in a harsh Midwest winter.

At the end of the day, the new Michelin Stealth wiper blades give you a lot of bang for your buck. And isn't that what everyone is looking for these days?

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