Rain-X Latitude
Rain-X Latitude. Click image to enlarge

By Paul Williams

Recently Pennzoil-Quaker State sent me a pair of Rain-X Latitude Wiper Blades to try out on my car (Pennzoil-Quaker State markets Rain-X products in Canada). According to the manufacturer, they feature an “ice resistant frame that prevents ice and snow build-up.”

This turned out to be a timely package to receive, because the factory wiper blades on my car were giving me nothing but grief. The problem, even though they look to be a complex piece of engineering, is that when they freeze, the middle part of the blade lifts up from the windshield. And not just a little. No, my original equipment blades look like they’re ready to get up and walk away, such is their uselessness in subzero conditions. Forget trying to use the windshield washers.

The solution thus far has been to stop the car, get out, bend them back into shape (you can hear the ice crunching when you do this), then try again.

The Rain-X Latitude blades don’t have the same kind of frame; at least not in the conventional sense. They have a curved blade that’s attached to a thin frame which is encased in rubber. There’s a built-in spoiler to prevent wind lift, and this feature is also designed to reduce chatter (on the windshield, not in the car!).

Rain-X Latitude
Rain-X Latitude. Click image to enlarge

The blade itself is made from chloroprene rubber, which is described by Rain-X as being, “harder, stronger, more durable and more thermal resistant than natural rubber.” The key here is that it’s a synthetic rubber, designed with special properties, and it’s also coated with graphite to reduce friction and increase adhesion to the windshield.

But getting to the point, do the Rain-X Latitude wipers work any better than my clunky original equipment blades. Well, yes they do. First of all, they don’t freeze up and warp out of shape. We’ve had temperatures down to minus-25 Celsius in Ottawa lately, and the Rain-X wipers have held their shape.

They also don’t chatter at speed, although I have heard from some colleagues that similar designs do. These seem fine.

They also don’t get packed with snow and ice, and should, therefore, obviate the need for purchasing winter blades.

On the downside, there’s about a three-inch patch at the far end of the passenger wiper that won’t contact the windshield. This is only evident when the wipers are parked. When you turn on the wipers, that patch gets smaller and disappears as it travels through its arc. But that patch of unwiped glass is always there at the bottom corner of the windshield.

True, the old blade didn’t leave such a patch, but that was about the only place it did make contact in subzero weather.

So I can recommend the Rain-X Latitude wiper blades as a significant improvement over my original equipment blades. In my experience, they are a major safety enhancement.

Connect with Autos.ca