Have you ever been momentarily blinded while driving? Maybe some ice flew into your windshield or condensation built up quickly. Or maybe you just had to sneeze! It can be terrifying and rightfully so—taking your eyes off the road for even one second can result in a deathly collision. One of the most common causes of road blindness is malfunctioning wiper blades, so it’s important that you pay attention to your wipers’ age, condition, and installation. By replacing windshield wipers regularly, you ensure that they’re able to perform their job properly and that you’re always able to see the road. If you’ve never tried replacing windshield wipers before, read on to find out how. It’s incredibly simple.
A windshield wiper is made up of three parts: the arm, the metal blade, and the rubber blade. The arm extends from the base of the windshield and initiates the wiper’s movement, the metal blade is attached to the arm, and the rubber blade does all of the wiping and cleaning. Although the arm and metal blade will last a long time, the rubber blade shouldn’t be used for years on end. Because it is made of rubber, it will become worn down over time due to water, inclement weather, and (mostly) all of that back-and-forth rubbing. So if you’re replacing windshield wipers, you won’t be replacing the entire mechanism—only the rubber wiper.
Although you could ask a mechanic to replace your wiper blades for you, it’s incredibly easy to do the job yourself. Whether you’re an expert or an amateur, you can replace windshield wipers. Just follow these simple steps:
Replacing Windshield Wipers
- Figure out the size. Just as you need to know your pants size before you purchase a new pair of jeans, you need to know your blade size before you buy a replacement set. If you or someone else in the family has purchased replacement windshield wipers for this car before, you may already know the numbers. If not, you can measure the old rubber blades with a ruler or measuring tape. Write them down if you’re afraid you’ll forget. And remember to measure both blades; many people assume that their right and left blades are the same size, but this is rarely the case. Generally, one will be 1-2 inches longer than the other. You should also make note of the wiper blade’s attachment method (hook-slot, pin-type arm, straight-end connector) because the replacement wiper will need to be the same type.
- Head to an auto parts store and (using the measurements and attachment method you wrote down) find a pair of replacement wipers. If you can’t find the right ones or you’re confused by the types available, ask a salesperson for assistance. Each wiper blade should cost around $15.00.
- Now you can begin replacing windshield wipers. Start by lifting the metal arm away from the windshield. It should prop itself up on its own (perpendicular to the window), but be sure that you’ve positioned it securely. Don’t force it. Most wiper arms are spring-loaded and if improperly positioned, they can snap back against the windshield and crack it. Continue holding the arm if this makes you nervous, or place a cloth beneath the arm (on the place where it would hit the window if it did snap).
- Then, unhook the old rubber wiper blade. At the joint where the rubber blade meets the metal arm, there will be a little stopper, hook, tab, or pin. If you unlock this, you can separate the rubber blade. Pull the wiper off, sliding it toward the bottom of the arm.
- To complete the process, slide the replacement onto the arm and reattach the mechanism. Because you have already removed the old wipers, it shouldn’t be very hard to understand how the attachment mechanism works. When you’ve finished, lay the wiper back down onto the windshield. Be sure that the rubber blade feels secure.
- Repeat the process with your second wiper.
Replacing windshield wipers is necessary if your wipers are hard or cracked, no longer springy, or create streaks. Now that you know how easy it is though, you won’t dread the chore! When it comes to your car, be safe and you won’t be sorry.