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Wiper blades on cars are a necessity for half the year or less, depending on where you live. They clear away debris and rainfall from your windshield to allow you to see more clearly and make informed decisions about the road conditions. However, you’ve may have noticed that different vehicles have different types of wiper blades. Why is that? Why do some vehicles have wiper blades that pivot in one direction, while others have blades that pivot in the opposite, and some even have just one blade that sweeps the entire windshield? Here’s the breakdown: 

Tandem System: 

This system is where the blades are mounted closer together and wipe in tandem to clear the windshield. This mechanism is the simplest and cheapest system of wiper blades, also it’s one of the more effective kind. However, the system must change depending on whether the vehicle is sold in right- or left-hand drive markets.  

Opposed System:  

Opposed wiper blades are mounted on the beams of the windshield, opposite of each other. They clear a large area of the windshield, leaving only behind the review mirror part. This system doesn’t need to be adapted for right hand or left-hand markets however the system itself is complex and more expensive than the traditional tandem system.  

Single Arm: 

The single arm system comes in two types, controlled and not controlled. The controlled extends and retracts the wiper blade as it moves across the window while the not controlled just sweeps across the wind shield with a single length. Mercedes is partial to a single wiper blade system though the design of the controlled version is a bit more complicated than the duel wiper blade systems. While both versions of the single arm system provide decent coverage, they don’t provide as much coverage as the two-blade system and thus aren’t used as often.  

Overall, most people don’t really think about their wiper blade systems until they need them and even then, they don’t really consider the different systems used to keep their windshield clear. However, these parts are vital to your safety when operating any vehicle and it’s good to know which kind you have for repairs. Remember to change your wipers every six months or when you notice streaking, skipping and squeaking from the blades, including the rear windshield blade if you have one. Drive safe and watch for puddles.