Monday, January 16, 2017

Product Review: Trying out the Bosch Clear Advantage flat blade wipers

Bosch Automotive Aftermarket launched its latest flat-blade wiper – the Bosch Clear Advantage here in Malaysia sometime at the end of last year. According to the folks at Bosch, this new flat-blade wiper provides superior performance for Asian cars even in extreme weather conditions. Up to 200,000 wipe cycles due to the specially formulated rubber compound used in the wiper blades. 

Bosch first came out with its first flat-blade wiper back in 1999 and this type of wiper was huge improvement in wiping performance compared to the conventional wiper blades which is held together with metal holders.Flat-blade technology is now the car manufacturers’ choice for an estimated 90% of new vehicles in Europe and is slowly catching up in Japan (cars like the Honda Civic has been using them a generation or so ago..

Anyway, I was provided two sets of the new Bosch Clear Advantage flat blade wipers to try sometime at the end of November 2016. This was almost two month ago which can seem like a lifetime when it comes to the company who were kind enough to provide them to me. But you folks out there who have been reading should know how I do things by now. No. Not because I am lazy lah! But because I usually prefer to test things thoroughly and properly before coming up with a verdict.

The original wiper blades have a frame holding them and this one on the Alto has a wind deflector - quite cool looking in some ways
 Compare the conventional wipers with the new frameless flat blade wipers (BCA 14 and BCA 26 fixed on the Alto)
 Much more neater

The flat blade wipers provided for me to try out on the Suzuki Alto 1.0 auto and the Perodua Myvi 1.3 EZ Auto performed very well. The Bosch Clear Advantage wipers replaced the conventional wiper blades with ease (easy to DIY) and performed extremely well in the case of the Perodua Myvi and almost as well in the case of the little Suzy.

Both made the cars they were fitted on look a little bit more modern. The frameless wiper blades made the windscreen look neater than it was. It was just two bits of long black bits instead of something that had steel and rubber. It gave a simpler, cleaner look to the cars. 

The wipers also worked superbly in the rain. December of 2016 was a great time to test wiper blades as it was the rainy season. The wipers performed as expected and kept visibility good during thunderstorms (when it rains in Malaysia, it really rains). No complaints whatsoever. Everything was smooth and clean. 

The only thing I have to state is that on the Suzy, the wiper provided was a few centimeters longer than the original conventional wiper (which was quite cool looking as it had a built in wing/deflector - nice but still bulkier than the flat blade wipers) as you can see from the pictures. The Myvi ones were similar in length to the original size fitted. The additional length on the Alto was good in clearing out more water but in the dry, or almost dry conditions like in a very, very light drizzle it would judder a little.

A slightly shorter length may smoothen things out a little. The reason for this is because these sort of wipers (as well as conventional framed wiper blades) require the wiper arm to put some pressure on the blade whilst it pushes down on the windscreen. Sometimes, a longer blade may overwhelm the spring in the car's wiper arm (as well as its own internal 'spring' or tension). A shorter blade may help but it also depends whether you want to lose out on the amount of coverage the longer blade gives.

But I am not complaining about these Bosch wipers. The Alto looks better. The Myvi looks better too. The wipers work very well when it really pours. There are no squeaks or extra noise when there is little water (only some juddering can be seen if you chose a blade that is longer than required). The wipers work quietly overall.

Bosch says that the wipers cost around RM65.00 each (you need two for a car or if you are a scrooge you can just replace one at a time). I think this is bargain in some ways. You get to improve your car's looks, you get wipers which actually work properly and you get wipers from a brand with years of heritage behind them.

Old wipers removed and new ones installed easily...BCA 16 and BCA 20 for the Myvi

One thing I do wish is that somehow wiper blades can magically remove stuck leaves or twigs that get stuck between the windscreen and the blades. This needs some magic. Actually engineering to the wiper arm could solve this. But it would mean adding a motor to lift up the blades when required. It would be expensive. So that is asking too much for a wiper to do on its own. 

So with that, let me conclude by stating that I like these Bosch Clear Advantage wipers. The rusty wipers on the Proton Wira at home will be changed to these as soon as I have the time to head over to the store to purchase a set for it also.

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