My driver’s-side wiper has a small split in the end – about an inch long. That means I need some new wipers in the near future, but nothing urgent. That’s until I discovered that there was a 3 inch split in the centre of the blade, hence more urgency required. Given that main Honda dealer prices for something as trivial as a wiper blade were likely to be vastly inflated, I braved the tarted-up Saxos and Corsas for my local Halfords.
Before I left the house, I looked at their clever online tool, which confidently predicts the required wiper size for your vehicle. Simply enter your registration number and up pops your vehicle make and model, along with a list of suitable wiper-blade products. Online it reckoned I needed 24” on the driver’s side, and 16” on the passenger’s side.
So off I pop to the local shop and decide to make certain by leafing through the little flip-book that they have. This is a more manual version of the online tool – you lookup your make and model, along with model year and it gives you the various options. This suggested I needed 26” on driver’s side, and 16” on the passenger’s side.
Standing looking confused, one of the shop “assistants” asked if I needed any help. The conversation went like this:
“Can I help you there sir?”
“Yeah – I’m replacing the wipers on my car and the online tool said one size, but the book says another and I’m not sure which one to get. Do you have a tape measure I could borrow and pop outside to measure it please?”
“Well we can have a look on the computer and see what that says.”
“My car is just outside and will only take a minute.”
“Nah – we’ll have a look at the computer.”
OK then – fine. I sighed and wandered over to his little kingdom of the oily parts desk. After giving him my registration, he went quiet.
“Hmmm. Hmmm. That’s odd. Hmmm.”
“Well the Halfords parts are showing up as needing 24 inch and the Bosch parts are showing up as needing 26 inch. If I were you I would get the bigger one.”
“But the difference between them is an inch at either end and that could be the difference between catching and not catching.”
“Well it depends on how far apart they are.”
At this point I was expecting someone to turn up with an honorary Physics degree from Oxford to pay testimony to his amazing spatial awareness. He then suggested we go outside and measure it, which I thought was a good plan, if a little late to the conversation.
It was late and there were only three cars in the (small) car-park: two of those probably belonged to staff because I didn’t see any other customers in there. Bearing in mind I had just given him the make, model and registration of my car, he asked me to point out which one it was.
He wandered round and measured 24” for the driver’s side. I needed to prompt him to check the passenger’s side. He measured that to be 15”.
He seemed quite put-out when I told him I was going to the main dealer because Halfords couldn’t get the sizes right.
I phoned the main dealer the following day and they promised £25 fitted for a proper Honda part. That was only just a little more than the Halfords’ own brand. When I went into the garage, they only charged me £21.73 fitted. And the service guy (who I trust) told me the Halfords ones don’t fit very well anyway.
All together: I can see clearly now with wipers on…