How to Guides

How To Replace a Wiper Blades

Wil Parker posted this on May 20, 2014

How To Replace a Wiper Blade

Before electronic technology drivers would clear their windshield manually when hit with a sudden rainstorm.  My moving a lever on the dashboard back and forth, they would operate the windshield wipers.  They have made great advancements since then, and now will operate at the push of a button.  Windshield wipers have become so advanced that there are even versions being tested now that can actually sense an oncoming rainfall before you can.  Too bad the local weather man can’t do that.

Why Change the Blades?

Your windshield wiper blades are a critical safety feature, allowing you to see the road in front of you even in the most torrential of downfalls.  They work like a squeegee does, passing a rubber strip against the surface of your windshield to push off any water.  It is the rubber on the blades that usually necessitate the windshield wipers be changed.  Over time it begins to crack and will not make a good seal on the glass.  This will cause streaking on the surface, obstructing your view of the road in front of you.

The mechanical arm of the wiper blade can also affect your vision.  They are designed to apply even pressure to the rubber strip, allowing your windshield to be completely cleared.  If one of the arms bends or breaks, it will also leave a streak on your windshield.  Being that this is such an important safety feature, and your own weatherman can’t accurately predict a rainstorm, you should always check the status of your wipers and change them out as needed.

Start by ordering new windshield wiper blades from a trusted on-line auto parts store like Car Part Kings.

   

Both the rubber strip and the support structure that provides the pressure should be included. It isn’t a bad idea to buy two sets and keep one in the trunk for emergency situations.  Inside the package you are going to find three or four different blade attachments.  This is to make matching the assembly to your car easier.

Tools For the Job

  1. Needle nose pliers
  2. A small screwdriver
  3. Once you have assembled the right tools for the job, you are ready to get to work.

Getting the Job Done

  1. To gain easy access to the blade assembly you are going to want to pull the arm up and away from the windshield.  They should now be forming a right angle with the glass.  Look at the base for a locking tab to hold them in place.
  2. Match the wiper attachment being used on your car to one of those found in the package.  There are three main types:
  3. A hook slot connector is easy to replace.  Find the tab at the connector and push to release the lock.  Once it has been released you should be able to slide the assembly right off.
  4. A pin style attachment will require you to unlock it by pushing the tab up with a screwdriver.  Once freed you should be able to pull it away from the windshield arm with a side way motion.
  5. The straight end connector can be the trickiest.  Once you find the locking tab it needs to be lifted with a screwdriver to release.  Then you will have to turn the old assembly a few degrees to slide it off of the arm.
  6. Putting the new wiper blades on is as simple as reversing the steps it took to get the old ones off.
  7. Spray some windshield washer fluid to test your new blades.  Make adjustments to make them tighter if you notice any streaking.

Tricks of the Trade

  • Don’t just replace the rubber stripping on your windshield wipers.  How they sit on the glass is critical and you will not be able to achieve that seal unless the entire assembly is replaced.
  • Be wary of the arm snapping back onto the windshield with no blade attached.  If it does your next car repair project may be replacing a cracked windshield.  Some people will drape a clean towel over the glass while changing the wipers just to be safe.
  • For some vehicles you will have to have the windshield wipers in the upright position in order to access the locking mechanism.
  • This is not always the easiest do it yourself project and can cause frustration trying to locate and release the locking mechanisms on the different style attachments.  If you find yourself having trouble, watch this video from Car Part Kings to see how the pros are doing it.

 

Depending on the weather, replacing your windshield wipers may be necessary every six months.  It is especially important to check their performance often during the winter months as the weight of snow can cause them to break prematurely.  The good news is, once you master it the first time, it will be a snap when time to replace them again.  

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