Archive for November 2015

Is Volkswagen planning a 2015 Microbus?

VW Van

VW Van

Don’t believe everything you see on the web. Volkswagen is not poised to introduce a new version of its legendary microbus.

A spate of rumors and even a set of photos sprang up on the Internet this week, featuring stats, specs and details on the 2015 version of the German automakers leisure ride.

The website We Are Surfers said the new vehicle would be available with both four- and five-cylinder engines, and even had the MSRP ($25,000) and showroom date (early 2015).

This joins an earlier series of stories, including one in AutoWeek from May of this year, saying the vehicle known around the world as the Kombi, and in England as the Camper, was on its way back, though perhaps not for several more years.

A 2010 Car and Driver story said the van would be unveiled in 2013, and go into production in 2014.

But Volkswagen says there’s no such vehicle.

“This rumor has been floating around the Internet for a while and it just isn’t true,” said a company spokesperson.

Volkswagen did display a van-like concept vehicle, nicknamed “Bulli,” at the Geneva auto show in 2011. The spokesperson said the images being shown online may be based on that platform, though that vehicle was much smaller than the traditional VW van.

For now, though, the company said it has no plans to start building a new microbus.

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Automotive Industry

 

46.9 Million Americans to Travel for Thanksgiving, According to AAA

Thanksgiving Travel

ORLANDO, Fla. (November 17, 2015) – AAA Travel forecasts 46.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday, a 0.6 percent increase over the 46.6 million people who traveled last year and the most since 2007. With 300,000 additional holiday travelers, this marks the seventh consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29.

Holiday Travel

“This Thanksgiving, more Americans will carve out time to visit friends and family since 2007,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones.”

Additional Resources

Despite improvements in the economy, including steady wage growth, rising disposable income and a falling unemployment rate, consumers remain cautious about their finances. However, gas prices remain well below 2014 levels, providing an early holiday bonus to the more than 89 percent of holiday travelers who will drive to their destinations.

“One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Lower prices are helping boost disposable income, and enabling families to kick off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway,” continued Doney.

Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving

Nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving, an increase of 0.7 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase by 0.1 percent, with 3.6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will decrease 1.4 percent this Thanksgiving, to 1.4 million travelers.

Lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in seven years expected

Drivers nationwide continue to experience significant yearly savings in the price of gas and AAA estimates that consumers are saving nearly $265 million on gasoline every day compared to a year ago. This has helped boost disposable income, enabling many Americans to travel this Thanksgiving. Most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.15, 65 cents less than the average price on Thanksgiving last year ($2.80).

Airfares fall, hotel and car rental rates rise modestly

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, airfares are projected to decrease 10 percent this Thanksgiving, landing at an average of $169 roundtrip across the top 40 domestic flight routes. Rates for AAA Three Diamond Rated lodgings are expected to remain relatively flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel has risen four percent with an average nightly cost of $118. Daily car rental rates will average $60, eight percent higher than last Thanksgiving.

#AAAToTheRescue for thousands of motorists this Thanksgiving

AAA expects to rescue more than 360,000 motorists this Thanksgiving, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a holiday getaway. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.

Download the AAA Mobile app before a Thanksgiving getaway

Before setting out on a Thanksgiving trip, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Global Insight 2015 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast can be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. For more information about AAA Travel, visit AAA.com/Travel.

By eliminating spare tires, automakers leave motorists stranded

No Spare Tire

AAA Calls On Manufacturers To Stop Dropping Spares From New Cars

Automakers are shedding weight from vehicles any way they can in their attempts to meet stricter federal fuel-economy requirements. But by eliminating spare tires, they are causing problems for motorists.

More than a third of new cars sold today don’t contain one, and the lack of spares is leaving motorists in a lurch, says AAA. On Tuesday, the nation’s largest motoring organization called on automakers to halt the elimination of spare tires to better protect stranded motorists.

“Flat tires are not a disappearing problem, but spare tires are,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair. He said the organization responds to more than 4 million calls for flat-tire assistance every year. “… Advances in automotive engineering allow for weight to be reduced in ways that don’t leave motorists stranded at the roadside.”

The decline in spare tires has been striking. A decade ago, five percent of cars sold lacked a spare tire. Today, AAA says 36 percent don’t contain a spare. That number is only expected to rise as carmakers chase Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandates of 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025, and reducing weight is one of the key ways to reach the target.

In many cases, carmakers still offer a spare as optional equipment. When that’s not chosen, manufacturers have replaced spares with tire-inflator kits. Each four-pound kit eliminates about 30 pounds of weight. But these kits aren’t a comparable substitute, says AAA, which says they can cost up to 10 times more than a tire repair and have a shelf life of only four to eight years. Most importantly, they only are effective for a limited number of problems.

AAA evaluated the most common inflator kits on the market and found they work well in some scenarios. If an object that caused a puncture is no longer in the tire, a sidewall is damaged or a blowout occurs, a tire-inflator kit couldn’t fix those problems.

“Consumers may mistakenly believe that inflator kits are a one-size-fits-all alternative to installing a spare tire,” Nielsen said. “The reality is these kits can accommodate specific types of tire damage, but having the option to install a spare tire can save stranded drivers time and money.”

With spare tires vanishing, fewer new motorists are learning how to change a tire. Nearly 90 percent of all drivers ages 35 to 54 know how to change a tire – or at least claim such knowledge. But that falls to 78 percent for millennial drivers, those ages 18 to 34, according to an AAA survey. Gender differences also exist. Ninety-seven percent of men claim to know how to change a tire; 68 percent of women claim the same ability.

2017 Jaguar XE Will Offer a Manual Transmission in the U.S.

jaguar

2017 Jaguar XE S

With growing despair, we are watching the exodus of the manual transmission from some of our favorite cars. Despite our best efforts, in the form of the “Save the Manuals” campaign, the row-it-yourself gearbox has disappeared from a number of German premium cars (and from the Cadillac CTS-V, as well). But there is happy news from elsewhere: Jaguar is betting strongly on the manual, and we just got confirmation from the brand’s North American CEO Joe Eberhardt: It will be offered on the upcoming XE sedan.

Jaguar is already offering the manual on several versions of the F-type, where the customer take rate is at a solid 10-to-20 percent. “It is enough to be worth the investment, and we are happy with our decision,” Eberhardt tells us. And beyond just the numbers, he points out the benefits in image and performance credibility.



The manual transmission will be offered on the entry-level 2017 Jaguar XE 25t, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, we’re told. And while it won’t be available from the outset, it will come to market soon after the model line launches in mid-2016. Good. That’s yet another reason to put the XE on enthusiasts’ radar—besides its very impressive performance in our first test of the car. And we hope other carmakers take note.

Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2016

Kelley Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2016

By KBB.com Editors on November 12, 2015 6:08 PM
There are a lot of Car of the Year awards programs out there, and they certainly have their place. But with our Best Buys of 2016 awards program, we at Kelley Blue Book seek to do more than simply identify a great car, sing its praises and call it a day. Instead our awards program is designed to help car shoppers find the best values among the vehicle types that interest them most. Frankly that is a much tougher task than choosing the best vehicle in the new-car crop, but we find that it is also infinitely more satisfying because it is more valuable to you, our visitors.When it comes to assessing vehicle value, we are proud of the fact that Kelley Blue Book values have become the standard of the industry, and we can rely on our nearly 90 years of experience in every intricacy involved in that effort. With that as our bedrock, the Best Buy Awards are the result of a process that began more than a year ago when the first 2016 models were introduced. While our expert vehicle evaluators drove hundreds of new vehicles and reported on their findings at KBB.com, our KBB analysts collected a broad swath of vehicle-related data: vehicle sales, comprehensive pricing, costs of depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing, fuel costs and hundreds of other data points. Over the course of the past 12 months our vehicle experts also conducted a series of exhaustive Comparison Tests in the major high-volume vehicle categories to see how similar vehicles performed in similar circumstances.

Based on what we believe is the most comprehensive collection of vehicle value-related information in the nation, we on the KBB editorial staff nominated 49 vehicles in 12 vehicle categories that we believed had the potential to be the highest-value new cars and trucks available this model year. Since this is our second go-round at picking the best values in the market (see our 2015 Best Buy Award Winners), we benefited from the extensive experience that effort brought us. Among other things, it gave us a baseline vehicle in each category against which to compare others, because in every segment we invited last year’s segment winner to compete again. It also helped us quickly eliminate some very good alternatives based on the thinking if a model didn’t outdo the incumbent in the 2015 model year and neither had definitively changed, why would it do so in 2016?

But the nominees list was anything but static. Since the industry is always moving forward, new vehicles and all-new versions of vehicles with carryover names continue to enter the marketplace. We identified a select group of these all-new or heavily revised vehicles to compete against the incumbent champ in each category.

Testing & Evaluation Procedures: Crowning the Winners

Over the course of a 7-week test period beginning at the end of August, we tested and evaluated every one of the 49 contenders back-to-back in real-world driving situations. We examined not only how each vehicle rode and handled but also how easy or difficult it was to park, to get in and out of and to load with cargo. We examined the operation of infotainment systems, safety systems and electronic driving aids like lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control. For pickup trucks, whose hauling and towing abilities are an important part of their overall utility, we did tow and haul tests. And for the entire test period we lived with these vehicles in much the same way you and your family would live with them.

Based on the totality of this information – comparative market pricing, cost-to-own information, generational consumer reviews and ratings and, of course, expert evaluations based on extensive driving experiences – we on the editorial staff selected 2016 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award Winners in 12 vehicle categories and an Overall Best Buy Award Winner. Not only do we honor vehicles very worthy of accolades, in the process we have identified for all new-vehicle buyers smart choices that we expect to offer excellent value for years to come.

Overall Best Buy Award Winner 2016

Overall Best Buy

2016 Honda Civic

Already a high-value legend, a thoroughly impressive redesign has elevated Honda’s compact car to this year’s Overall Best Buy

See the new Civic

2016 Honda Civic

Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards Logo 2016

Category Best Buys

Small Car

No suprises here, this year’s Overall Best Buy and Small Car Best Buy are one and the same.

See the winner

Small Cars

Midsize Car

Redesigned-for-2016 challenger outpaces some serious stalwarts to grab the gold.

See the winner

Midsize Cars

Full-Size Car

Five unique takes on the full-size sedan, none more familiar than our repeat winner.

See the winner

Full-Size Cars

Small SUV

Last year’s winner fends off three newcomers to retain the title of Small SUV Best Buy.

See the winner

Small SUVs

Midsize SUV

One of these three-row SUVs was completely redesigned for 2016, and now we have a new Midsize SUV Best Buy.

See the winner

Midsize SUVs

Full-Size SUV

The category’s best-seller by far is also this year’s Best Buy in a landslide.

See the winner

Full-Size SUVs

Minivan

The built-in vacuum cleaner is cool and useful, but it’s just one of the cherries on top of this repeat winner.

See the winner

Minivans

Pickup Truck

Last year’s Pickup Truck Best Buy held off two all-new trucks and one enhanced model to retain its title.

See the winner

Pickup Trucks

Performance Car

Three American legends and a pair of affordable fun factories add up to five winners, but only one Best Buy.

See the winner

Performance Cars

Electric/Hybrid Car

This year’s Electric/Hybrid Car Best Buy has been completely redesigned for 2016, but it’s also a repeat winner.

See the winner

Electric and Hybrid Cars

Luxury Car

This year’s Luxury Car Best Buy was totally redesigned last year, and nobody has caught up yet.

See the winner

Luxury Cars

Luxury SUV

A total redesign for 2016 earns this SUV its first Best Buy Award, which surely won’t be its last.

See the winner

Luxury SUVs

Wink and Call Her Bela: Supercharged 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Looks Pretty in Patina

Super Charged 1956 Bel Air

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air "Bela"

It’s long been normal practice to name one’s car, and it’s fairly common for car buffs to treat their car like a glorious sea vessel and refer to it as a woman. Chevrolet Performance, then, would like it if you could refer to its rat-rod SEMA build, a ’56 Bel Air sedan, as Bela. We have no problems doing so, because Bela’s quite the lady.

Few cars are as inherently suited to hot-rodding as is Chevrolet’s mid-to-late ’50s coupes and sedans, and even fewer still can rock a scarred patina so effectively. Chevrolet Performance hits on both bogeys with Bela, which was given VIP parking in Mobil 1’s 2015 SEMA booth. To give you an idea of why the parking space in Mobil 1’s territory is a big deal, consider that last year, Porsche builder Magnus Walker displayed his favorite 911 there.

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air "Bela"

In an extensive build chronicled on Chevy Performance’s fan site theblock.com, a Chevrolet team purchased the ’56 and immediately set about mitigating Bela’s significant rust issues. Floors were replaced, body rust tempered, and everything generally cleaned up without ruining the aged finish. The frame was gone over and painted, while a Vortec-superharged GM LS3 V-8 was plunked into the front cradle. (A COPO intake manifold also was fitted, giving Bela a little drag cred, and the camouflage valve covers are unexpected.) Wilwood brakes at all four corners help this 400-to-500-hp dancer stay in control, while an air suspension tugs Bela’s bottom down low. A totally fresh interior brightens her inner glow.

1956 Chevrolet Bel Air "Bela"

We aren’t entirely sure whether Bela has a hood, but it wasn’t fitted at SEMA, and we really don’t care. She may be old, but she wears her years well. The build team’s rust-mitigation efforts appear to have turned Bela’s various rust spots from brown to black, giving the white-painted body sections a spotted cow–like appearance. In a good way! Sweet details such as leather straps holding down the trunk, amusing bumper stickers, a Mobil 1 pegasus grille badge, and a raccoon tail hanging from the side mirror highlight Bela’s laid-back cruising style. And this girl’s got a tattoo: On the gauge cluster there is a classic tattoo heart design inscribed “Bela.” We like her more and more.

Rear-Facing Car Seats Are Still the Safest Way for Young Kids to Ride

Car Seats

A recently released study on rear-facing child car seats may inadvertently be sending the wrong message to parents. The study’s results, while meaningful to improving the overall safety of car seats, look at just one small piece of the puzzle, possibly causing some parents to jump to conclusions.

Simply put: Rear-facing car seats are still the safest way for young kids to ride in a car.

The study, published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention, was designed to compare the performance of the different child-seat installation methods—LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children) versus the vehicle seat belt – in simulated rear-end crashes. But some media coverage may have created doubt for parents concerned about which seating orientation is safest for their children.

For instance, the Washington Post’s headline “Study of Rear-End Crashes Finds Head Injuries From Rear-Facing Child Seats” could suggest the study was a summary of real-world child injury data in rear crashes. It wasn’t.

Like much of the child seat testing we do at Consumer Reports, the authors of the study conducted tests that simulate the forces and motion that a child seat and child may experience during a rear-impact crash. Injury values were measured with instrumented child-sized dummies, just as we do. The results indicated that measurements used to predict head injury were higher (worse) for rear-facing seats installed with LATCH than for those installed with a vehicle seat belt. The study also indicated that some of the head injury values for LATCH installed seats exceeded head injury limits that could produce more serious injury in a 6-month-old child.

What This Means for Parents

Don’t prematurely move to forward-facing seats. These results should not be taken as evidence that you should move your child to a forward-facing orientation. Much more data shows that children are safer riding rear-facing and that they should continue to ride rear-facing at least until the age of two—even longer if the seat limits will allow.

Rear-end crashes aren’t as common. The results are important to consider when thinking of all of the crash scenarios that a child may experience in a car. But rear-end crashes are less frequent and typically cause fewer injuries to children than frontal crashes. Data cited in the article by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that rear-end collisions account for just 9 percent of injuries to children in car seats. In comparison, front-end collisions account for about 43 percent and side-impact crashes account for about 33 percent.

Proper fit-to-vehicle is key. Though this study shows better results for seat belt installed seats over LATCH installed seats, our extensive frontal crash tests and fit-to-vehicle evaluations show just the opposite. Our fit-to-vehicle analysis typically shows that LATCH provides an easier-to-achieve and more secure installation than seat belt installations for most seats. A seat that is securely installed is critical to protecting your child in all types of crashes.

Front- and side-crashes result in greater head injuries. Though the injury values in this study may sound alarming, we can assure you that the head injury values we see from instrumented dummies in frontal and initial side-impact tests are much higher than those in this study. In our own simulated crash tests, we also compare child seat performance based on a number of injury metrics that includes the head injury measurements used in this study. Based on that data, the contact of the child seat and child into the seatback in a rear-end crash is something to look at, but the potential for reducing injury and fatalities for kids in vehicle crashes appears to still be greater in the more prominent frontal and side crash modes.

Key Takeaways

If your child is two years old or younger, keep them in a rear-facing child seat and make sure you have a secure installation using LATCH. If you aren’t confident in the installation, have a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician double check your installation at a car seat check-up event near you.

Rainy Winter Ahead: Wiper blade buying guide

Windshiled Wipers

Windshiled Wipers

Getting started

It’s easy to forget that wipers are a safety feature–until you end up driving in heavy rain or snow, or are blinded by glare through dirty glass. An unclean or obscured windshield is a true hazard. Just as you typically don’t know the washer fluid tank is empty until it no longer squirts cleaner, drivers may not realize that the wipers are shot until there is an immediate visibility concern. By then, it can be too late, as many accidents are a result of poor visibility.

Wiper blades have a finite service life, as they perform a hazardous duty in harsh conditions. Dirt, debris, and road grime abrade wipers, and sunlight breaks down their rubber edges. Beyond visibility, it is important not to wait too long to replace a blade, as a torn wiper blade can allow the wiper arm to rub against the glass, possibly scratching and ruining the windshield.

The good news is that, based on our testing, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get good performing windshield wipers, but you might need to replace them every six months or so.

To get the most from your existing wipers, inspect them periodically. Lift each wiper arm off the glass and run your finger along its rubber edge. If the rubber is rigid or chipped, or produces nonstop streaking, you need new wipers.

If the wipers are in decent physical condition but not clearing the windshield effectively, clean them. Simply put windshield washer fluid or glass cleaner on a damp sponge or rag and wipe debris off the rubber and the windshield where the wiper rests. You might be rewarded with a couple more months of a clear windshield without spending money on replacements. Further, be sure to clear snow and ice from the windshield in the winter before dragging the wipers across the uneven surface.

When the time comes for new blades, remember to replace them in pairs. If one is worn out, its mate can’t be far behind.

Don’t forget to check the rear wiper, if your vehicle has one. Even though it may not get as much use as the front wipers, it is exposed to the elements and can fail over time.

How to choose

Windshield wiper blades come in many sizes, even on the same car. Look in your car’s owner’s manual, measure the blade, or ask at an auto-parts store for the proper fit. Major brands that you are likely to see include Anco, ACDelco, Bosch, Goodyear, Michelin, PIAA, Rain-X, and Trico. Prices vary greatly depending on the brand, type, and size. For a smaller wiper blade, you can pay as little as under $10 and for a large blade of 24 or 26 inches, you can pay $25 or more.

It’s becoming harder to find replacement inserts where only the rubber is replaced into the existing frame and while inserts can save money, installing them requires deft use of needle-nose pliers. Experience shows that replacing an insert can be a frustrating task whose grief simply isn’t worth the money savings. It’s often more convenient to replace the whole blade assembly–just pull the old wiper off the metal arm and push the new one on until it’s tight. (You might need a small screwdriver or hammer to tap the old blade off.) Our research shows that most car owners replace the assembly, rather than just the blade.

All wiper blades are marketed with great promise, and it can be difficult to sort through the claims and hyperbole. In our testing, we have found that some of the best blades are among the least expensive. Lesson here: Don’t equate a high price with high quality.

When new, we saw that all of the tested windshield wipers provided very good or excellent performance initially, but most quickly degraded after a few months of regular use. Depending on the model, deterioration showed up on the windshield as streaking (leaving lines of water behind), smearing of the water (instead of clearing it), or missed areas of wiping. Because we found that a wiper blades will typically provide very good or better performance when new, with performance dropping off quickly, most blades should provide adequate performance after about six months when they should be replaced. Consequently, we no longer test them.

When we last tested wipers, we conducted an exhaustive assessment of more than a dozen windshield wiper models on 185 staff members’ cars. When the project started, about half those cars had wipers that needed replacing, showing that drivers often don’t notice the slow degradation and leave wipers on longer than they should. Therefore, our experience suggests that beyond a quick monthly inspection, it would be wise to plan for wiper replacement twice a year. Consider going with the change of seasons, replacing the blades with at the beginning of winter and again for summer–two seasons that prove particularly challenging for wipers.

Types
Conventional wiper blades

The most common design, conventional wipers have a replaceable rubber blade that fits into a spring-tensioned frame assembly, or bridge. Most blades have a metal spline that supports the rubber element and runs through the ribs of the contact points.
Beam blades

Unlike conventional wipers, beam blades have no external frames. Instead, they have spring steel incorporated into the rubber. As a result, beam blades are promoted as providing more uniform pressure on today’s curved windshields and therefore better wiping performance. Also known as bracketless, beam blades are becoming increasing popular. In general, the more expensive beam blade wipers tended to perform as well or better than conventional blades, but the inexpensive beam blade models tended to perform worse than conventional blades.

When buying blades, consider purchasing from a major auto parts chain. Often, name-brand stores will have good prices and be willing to install the wipers for you.

Installation

Many car owners replace their wiper blades themselves. While some owners may be meticulous enough to plan their wiper replacement in their garage on a nice leisurely day, it is likely that a lot of wipers get replaced outside, perhaps in the rain or in darkness, by drivers who have had it with their worn blades. Combine that with likelihood that they don’t have tools, the awkwardness of leaning over the car to reach at least one of the wiper arms, and the trepidation of working over a breakable windshield or scratch-prone paint, it becomes obvious that convenient installation and removal is important.

There are several different mounting methods for wiper blades with a hook mount being the most popular by far. Hook mount wiper arms are generally simple to remove and install. You insert the arm through the slot in the wiper blade bridge, line up the adapter with the hook, and press it into place. Some blades emit a confidence-inspiring “click” when they lock into place.

Most wiper designs allow you to install and remove the blades without tools, although to remove some blades you might need to press or pry a tab or lever with a screwdriver. In those cases, it might be better to use a hammer (of course being careful not to contact the windshield) to tap off the wiper blade. We found a hammer to be easier and safer than prying with a screw driver; it removes the risk of stabbed hands and the wiper came right off with a light tap.