Car enthusiasts love the sleek look and silent wipe they get from PIAA Super Silicone wiper blades. They're great for extreme grime (off-roading, rally racing, etc.), too. But while some owners eke two or three years out of their pricey PIAA Super Silicone blades, others complain that they wear out just as quickly as cheap windshield wipers. Bottom line: If you don't constantly drive through severe dirt, you probably don't need silicone wiper blades.
A clear, silent wipe. Subaru's rally racing team relies on PIAA silicone wiper blades -- the pricier PIAA Forza Hybrid (Est. $33) -- to clear away constant snow, ice, water and mud at high speeds. "We have used rubber blades in the past, years ago, but have switched to the silicone blades and are happy with the results," a team manager tells TheSweethome.com. Regular car owners rave about the PIAA Super Silicone (which uses a traditional bracket frame and costs less than the Forza Hybrid). Its silicone blade treats the windshield with each pass, leaving only a clear, silent wipe, owners say. An expert test confirms that the PIAA Super Silicone wiper does an excellent job cleaning the windshield when new -- although plenty of cheaper wipers do, too.
One-year warranty, but it's limited. In a leading test, PIAA Super Silicone wiper blades still work adequately after six months of real-world use -- same as a lot of cheap wipers. Some owners get two or three years out of their PIAA Super Silicone wipers, but others say they wear out within a few months. A few say the wipers broke and came off their windshields. PIAA backs its Super Silicone wiper blades with a one-year limited warranty. It only covers "defects in workmanship and materials," though, and the silicone rubber itself is excluded from the warranty.
Expensive, but worth it for some owners. After interviewing car experts, TheSweethome.com recommends the pricier PIAA Forza Hybrid silicone wipers -- but only for heavy grime. "It's hard to imagine these silicone blades being worth it for anything but the most extreme conditions," reviewer Ed Grabianowski says. "You probably shouldn't spend this much unless you drive on back roads all the time."
But the less-expensive PIAA Super Silicone wiper blades strike owners -- especially car enthusiasts -- as a fine value. For some, a set of these wipers lasts for years. Even if they don't, many loyal users say they're worth the money for super-smooth performance.
ConsumerReports.org tests PIAA Super Silicone wipers alongside 12 other windshield wiper models, by installing the wipers on the vehicles of 185 staffers. Testers judge the wipers' cleaning ability when new, and again after six months of use.
Review: Wiper Blade Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, April 2013
Ed Grabianowski recommends PIAA silicone wiper blades -- but only for extremely dirty conditions (like rally racing), based on an older ConsumerReports.org test and interviews with car experts. Specifically, he recommends the PIAA Forza Hybrid silicone wiper blade, a pricier version of the PIAA Super Silicone wiper blade.
Review: The Best Windshield Wipers for Your Car, Ed Grabianowski, Updated Feb. 24, 2014
3. Tire Rack
TireRack.com sells only two brands of wiper blades: PIAA and Valeo. PIAA Super Silicone blades earn the most consistently high scores: 9.2 out of 10, but with only about a dozen owner ratings posted.
Review: PIAA Super Silicone Wiper Blades, Contributors to TireRack.com, As of February 2014
With around 35 reviews posted, most owners here are completely sold on PIAA Super Silicone wipers. However, a few say they fell apart or wore out quickly.
Review: PIAA 95055 Super Silicone Black Wiper Blade, 22" (Pack of 1), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014
Here's another retail site that sells mostly PIAA wiper blades. The PIAA Super Silicone are a customer favorite, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars with more than 180 reviews posted.
Review: PIAA Super Silicone Wiper Blades, Contributors to AutoAnything.com, As of February 2014