Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wind Shield Wipers=Limpador de Parabrisa

I have had numerous bad experiences with wind shield wipers.

1.  When Matt and I were just barely dating, I went from my parent's house in Central WA to Seattle to visit him.  The passes (highway over the mountains) had been closed for several days due to the excessive amount of snow that had fallen, but it just so happened that the roads were ok when I had decided to go.  My wonderful, adventurous sister Katie came along with me.  Being the responsible driver that I am, I made sure my Dad had the oil changed, and he also arranged to have the wiper blades changed because it was about time.  Great!  My sister and I took off, no problems.  It was such a nice comfortable drive, that my sister dozed off.  At the top of the pass, it started raining/snowing.  I turned on the windshield wipers.  After about 10 minutes, the DRIVER'S SIDE windshield wiper FLEW OFF.  Yes, it launched off the arm into oblivion.  I was driving close to 50 mph on the freeway, with lots of traffic, so there was really no way I could retrieve said windshield wiper.  I frantically woke my sister up, and told her she had to be my eyes, because I couldn't see a thing.  Meanwhile, the wipers are still going, and the wiper-less one on my side is now scratching the windshield.  Great.  Thankfully, we were able to exit the freeway pretty quickly.  We pulled into the first gas station we found, and I went in to ask for some help.  But because the passes had been closed and people had been forced to essentially camp at the gas station until the road opened, they were entirely sold out of EVERYTHING.  Seriously:  the shelves were bare.  The attendant told us that there was a truck stop another 10 miles down the freeway that had gotten a shipment of stuff in earlier that day, and we might be able to find wiper blades there.  We went back to the car, and I was able to find surgical tape in the glove compartment (??!?) so I wrapped the wiper arm to prevent any further scratching of the windshield.  I then went on to drive 10 miles on the freeway, in the rain, with my sister guiding me, to the truck stop.  The truck stop did happen to have a wiper blade.  FOR USD $75!!!  I had no choice but to put it on the credit card.

2.  Flash forward a few years to when Matt and I were almost married, and I was living in Eugene, OR.  Anyone who knows anything about Eugene, OR knows that it rains A LOT.  Within a few months of moving there, I had to replace my windshield wipers.  I vividly remember going to the auto supply store, and using their machine to make sure that I was buying the right size for my Toyota Corolla.  I returned home, and went to replace the wiper blades, and for the life of me, I couldn't get the old ones off.  My year in Walla Walla, WA had some how rusted my wiper blades to the arm! After a lot of work, and a lot of WD-40, I managed to get them off.  But then I found out that the blades I had purchased didn't easily attach to the arm.  I don't remember exactly what I did, but I recall using some kind of McGyver technique to get the blade to stay on the arm.  Arg.

3.  Flash forward another few years, and we moved to Tempe, AZ.  Anyone who knows anything about the desert knows that it doesn't rain very much.  But when it does rain, it rains like crazy.  By that point we have graduated to the ranks of the Toyota Camry, and I never once changed the wiper blades on that car the ENTIRE 9 YEARS I LIVED THERE.   Every time it rained, I thought "I've GOT to change these!"  as the mud slid across my windshield.  But then it wouldn't rain again for another 6 months.

4.  Flash forward to Brazil.  We lived without a car for 9 months.  I lost 20 pounds.  Then we bought a Fusca (VW Bug).  We owned it for about 2 years, and again, every time it rained I thought about how I should go out and buy wiper blades.  But then we bought another car and sold the Fusca.

5.  Flash forward to now.  Those of you who know Belo Horizonte know that for about 6 months of the year it doesn't rain, and then for 6 months it rains.  In the rainy season, it will rain probably about once a day (this is a very broad generalization) but it rains hard.  We bought a new car right before the rainy season.  It started raining, and it became clear that we needed a new wiper blade.  But we'd never bought one in Brazil before.  Where the HECK do you get wiper blades?  I saw a guy on some random street corner selling them for about R$30, but of course, I didn't have any cash on me.  I was getting gas at the station one time, and the attendant told me I needed a new wiper blade.  Duh.  I asked him how much it was.  He went to look, came back and said "eight."  Really!?!! Could it be that wiper blades were that cheap!!?!  I was so excited!  He tried to put it on, but realized it was the wrong size.  He came back with another one and said it was more expensive, like R$100.  Huh?  He said the first one was "eight-Y."  Oops, a case of hearing what I wanted to hear.  But little did I know that I should have just shelled out the money.

We then proceeded to drive 6 weeks with the same bad wind shield wiper.  We even drove to Tiradentes with my parents in a RAGING rainstorm that shut down the Maria Fumaça.  It was a very stressful drive.  We came back to BH.  I saw a place that I thought sold wipers.  My husband went back, and turns out they don't, but they told him somewhere else to go.  He went there.  He bought something that they said would work.  He tried to install it, and it was the wrong size.  He went back, and convinced them to exchange it.  He came back, wrestled with it for a while, and got it to work.

And you know what?  It hasn't rained since!


  1. You should be able to find wiper blades at Walmart, cheap and they do have all sizes, in any Auto Supply store around Belo Horizonte, or windshield replacement stores!!
    Good luck!!


  2. Hi Ray--funny that you mention Walmart, because my husband happened to go there last week with a friend. We honestly haven't seen any Auto Supply places! I'm sure that we've driven by them, but we haven't noticed, and when we have asked Brazilians here, they don't know what to tell us. The place my husband went to was out because the rain had been so bad...But like I said, thankfully he was able to find a solution!

  3. Of course it didn't rain anymore... Murphey's Law!!! ;)

  4. "Limpador" instead of "Limpiador" (blame it on Spanish: I always do).

  5. You're welcome. And thank you for inspiring my latest masterpiece.

  6. Sounds like windshield wipers have given you a lot to talk about. Make sure you keep windshield wipers fresh to keep the windshield in good shape. ----Sam AutoWorx Auto Glass -