Picture this: Rain is coming down hard, but it’s alright, as every swipe of your wiper blades gives you a clear view of the road ahead.
Can’t picture that?
Then, it’s time to consider a wiper blade replacement.
Visibility is an important safety component when driving. Here’s some clarity on how to change windshield wipers, get the right-sized wiper blades, and position your blades for replacement.
This Article Contains
- How to Change Windshield Wipers (Step-by-Step)
- How to Change a Windshield Wiper Arm?
- 3 Other Windshield Wiper FAQS
Let’s get started.
How to Change Windshield Wipers (Step-by-Step)
There aren’t significant differences when changing wiper blades, but the detachment and attachment of each kind of blade might differ slightly.
Before starting, you’ll need:
- New windshield wipers
- Cleaning cloth or towel
Here’s a rundown on how to change your car’s windshield wipers:
1. Find the Right Wiper Blades (Size and Type)
You’ll need to know the length of the entire blade before you head to an auto parts store.
Don’t forget to measure both wiper blades, as each might have a different length. Refer to your owner’s manual or use a tape measure to determine the old blade size. Your new windscreen wiper blades must match the measurements precisely.
Note: Measure the rear wiper blade, as it’ll also be a different length.
Don’t have your owner’s manual or a tape measure?
No worries! An auto parts store should have a catalog or electronic system listing which wiper blades are compatible with your vehicle.
Once you’ve measured your blades, you’ll also need to determine which type of mounting they have. There are three kinds of conventional blades:
- Hook-mount blades are the most common. These blades have a J-shaped hook on the end.
- Clip-on wipers have a button or plastic clip on the top side of the blade arm.
- Pin-mount windscreen wiper blades attach to the sides of the wiper arm rather than the top.
Got the right wiper blades? Go on to the next step.
2. Lift the Wiper Blade off the Windshield
Get into your car and squirt the windshield wiper fluid. This will lubricate the windshield to prevent the rubber blade from scratching it. Then start your wipers and stop them once the blade reaches the highest point (pointing to the roof).
Holding the windshield wiper arm below the blade, slowly pull the entire blade up and away from your windshield.
Lift the wiper blade so it’s perpendicular to your windshield. Waiting for the snap is essential since wiper blades are spring-loaded and can snap back against your windshield.
Tip: Laying a towel or thick blanket on your windshield underneath the blades is a good idea to prevent damage.
3. Remove Wiper Blades
Depending on which type you have, you’ll need to detach the old wiper blade appropriately:
Search for a small tab or clip where the wiper blade attaches to the arm. Then, press the small tab to loosen the old wiper. Some windshield wiper blades without clips snap right into the hook on the arm.
The blade needs to be parallel to the windshield wiper arm. This next part can be quite tricky, so have both hands free. Use one hand to hold the blade and the other to support the arm. Then, pull the blade down so it slides out of the hook.
Tip: Old wiper blades might be tough to remove. Lightly tapping on the top of the old wiper blade with the back of your screwdriver should loosen it.
Locate the locking button on the top or side of the blade arm. Press the button with your finger or a flathead screwdriver to open the plastic clip and release the wiper blade. Then, pull the old blade straight up and out from the wiper arm.
Locate and open the plastic or metal latch on the wiper blade and pull it off the pin. The latch should be right where the blade connects to the end of the wiper arm. Pull the latch up to release it from the wiper arm. Then, slide your wiper blade toward the windshield to remove it from the pin.
For pin-mount blades without a latch, rotate your wiper around the pin until the rubber faces away from your windshield. This will ensure your blade slides off the pin.
Ensure you properly dispose of the old windshield wiper blade before moving on.
4. Attach New Wiper Blades
Once they’re detached, replace the worn windshield wiper blades with the replacement blades. Let’s discuss how to attach the new windshield wiper in more detail:
Locate the metal adaptor clip on the back of the blade. Position the adapter parallel to the blade. Then, hook the end of the wiper arm around the adapter and push the new blade up and away from the windshield.
Once you hear the distinct snap, carefully lower the new wiper against your windshield and do the same with your other wiper.
Position the wiper so the blade faces the glass, and slide your replacement wiper blades on the end of each wiper arm. Once the wiper blade clicks in, carefully lower it against the glass.
Open the latch on your new wiper blade and position the new wiper so the rubber blade faces your windshield. Then, slide the pin through the same-sized hole on the side of the latch.
To finish, press the latch on the new blade down until it clicks, and carefully lower the new wiper blade back against your windshield.
Don’t forget to change your rear wiper blade!
Tip: A good idea is to squirt some windshield washer fluid and test if your replacement blades are working properly.
Changed your blades but notice your wipers skip over specific areas of your windshield?
The hinge is likely stuck due to corrosion. In this case, you’ll need to change the entire blade assembly, not just the old windshield wiper blade.
How to Change a Windshield Wiper Arm?
First, buy wiper arms with the correct connector: clip-on, spring-loaded, or bolt-on. You can then begin the installation process:
1. Remove the Wiper Arm
This is different depending on the connector:
- Clip-on: Pull the lever located at the base of the metal arm that attaches to your vehicle.
- Spring-loaded: Lift the metal arm away from the windshield and slide a pin through the clip hole to release it.
- Bolt-on: Pop off the dust cap and unscrew the nut from the post (the shaft that connects the wiper arm to the wiper motor)
2. Clean the Post
Use a wire drive to clean the post, removing all dust and debris. You can then apply some lubricant oil to the post.
3. Attach the New Wiper Arm
Locate the hole at the end of the wiper arm and slide it onto the post. If you have trouble properly attaching it, lightly tap it with a rubber mallet or cover it with a cloth and use a hammer or screwdriver handle.
4. Secure the Wiper arm
This will vary depending on the connection:
- Clip-on: Push the lever back to its original position.
- Spring-loaded: Remove the pin to re-engage the clip.
- Bolt-on: Screw the nut back into place and attach the dust cover.
Finally, test your replacement wiper blades by spraying water onto your windshield. Turn on your wipers, check they move smoothly over the windshield, and ensure it’s clear afterward.
Want to know more about changing your windshield wipers?
Let’s dive in.
3 Other Windshield Wiper FAQS
Here are the answers to some common windshield wiper questions:
1. When Should I Change My Windshield Wipers?
Good visibility is crucial for safe driving. However, most wait too long before installing a new blade.
You should replace your wipers every six months — especially if your vehicle is parked outside often and you live in hot, arid, or dusty conditions.
Tip: A conventional blade can last longer if you clean your windshield every time you fill your gas tank. Additionally, you should wipe the rubber strip with a moist cloth to remove any debris.
2. What Signs Point to Faulty Windshield Wipers?
There are a few clear indicators of worn wiper blades. You should keep an eye out for:
- Streaks and smears on your windscreen: If wipers leave streaks of water or smears after using them, even when you use windshield washer fluid, replace them.
- Wipers don’t reach as far: If your wipers aren’t reaching certain parts of the windshield anymore, it could be because of a bent frame or old rubber strip.
- Physical damage: Your wipers are fragile and can get damaged easily. So, if they display signs of damage like cracks or uneven edges, it’s time to replace them.
- Noises: If you hear chattering or high-pitched squeaks as your wipers move across the windshield, that’s a sign that you have worn wiper blades.
3. How Do I Take Better Care of My Wipers?
Here are a few tips to ensure proper maintenance of your windscreen wipers:
- In snowing or freezing weather: Use a windshield cover and pull the wipers away from your windshield overnight. This ensures less defrosting time in the morning. Additionally, use an ice scraper to remove winter road salt from your wiper arms and blades to decrease natural corrosion.
- Keep them clean: Windscreen wipers handle a lot of debris, so if they go uncleaned, the gunk can affect how well they can clean.
- Clear your windscreen: Clear any leaves, bugs, or branches before engaging your car’s windshield wipers.
- Fill up your windshield wiper fluid: Ensure your wiper fluid is full, and always have glass cleaner in the car. If you have faulty wiper blades, use glass cleaner to remove any dirt.
- Be wary of rough drive-through car washes: Going to a car wash can damage your windshield wiper blade, especially if the equipment is too harsh.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell beforehand if the equipment is harsh, but you’ll notice the damage afterward. We advise sticking to hand car washes as they’re gentler on your windshield wiper blade.
Wipe Away Your Car Troubles with AutoNation Mobile Service
Taking care of your windshield wipers should be included during routine car maintenance since they ensure good visibility and safe driving.
If you haven’t got the time or don’t feel confident enough to install a new windshield wiper yourself, you can always call car maintenance and repair experts, like AutoNation Mobile Service, for assistance.
Our technicians are available seven days a week, and all repairs — from checking tires to replacing your windshield wiper fluid reservoir — come with a 12-month | 12,000 mile warranty.
Contact us for a windshield wiper replacement or any other vehicle repair via our online system, and our expert mechanics will come straight to you.