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Car Windshield Wiper Replacement: Arms, Blades and Blade Refills


Learn the Basic Technique for Installing New Car Wipers on Windshields

It's probably a good idea to check your car windshield wipers every six months so you won't encounter windshield wiper problems. You probably won't want to wait until you can't see out of your windshield before changing your windshield wipers. In fact, most people end up waiting too long to do this basic car maintenance and have to change their car wipers in the rain. If your wipers are beginning to show signs of wear, it's probably time to replace them. You can change them with wiper blade refills in just a few minutes; if you want to learn how to identify other common problems and complete other minor repairs, I strongly recommend you check out Automotive Troubleshooting Secret

Here are more car maintenance tips for trouble related to wipers: windshields should be the first thing to check. People don't always want to do this because they don't know how to replace windshield wipers and fear that if the wipers are bad, they'll have to pay someone else to change them. As you will see, this is not true; it is a very simple process.

The next thing to do is check your windshield. Sometimes there will be a crack or chip in your windshield which is the culprit of your torn wipers. In this case, address the windshield issue first. Next, inspect your wipers: wipers should not be cracked, ragged, torn, or have any jagged edges. When they crack or tear, they become flimsy and cannot effectively remove water from your windshield.

Windshield wipers are nearly all built the same so there is no need to hunt for good windshield wipers. An electric motor is connected to a metal windshield wiper arm. The windshield wiper arms extend over the windshield and hold the wiper blades tight against the windshield. The wiper blade is a metal and plastic device that holds a rubber insert. Judging from so few parts, it is safe to assume windshield wiper repair is relatively easy so be sure to give it a try prior to hiring someone else to do the job.

If you live in an area that is prone to snow and ice, consider buying winter windshield wipers, or also known as winter blades. These are more effective at removing snow and ice than normal all-purpose rain wipers.

  1. Buy the new wipers. It's usually a good idea to change your auto windshield wipers at the parts store. You can take your old wipers off the car before you go into the store in order to compare the wipers before you buy them. At some parts stores, a salesperson may even help you install the new wiper blades in the parking lot. You'll have to decide whether you want to buy an entire wiper blade or just a refill. Each has its advantages. For instance, if the finish is wearing off the old wiper blade, then you may want to pay a little more for an entire wiper blade. However, if you want to spend a little less, you may want to opt for buying refills to change only the rubber part of the blade. It's usually easiest to replace the entire wiper blade.

  2. Remove the old wipers. First, lift the wiper arm off of the windshield so that it is easier to work on. Then determine how your wiper blades are attached to the wiper arm. There are several different methods commonly in use today, but the general formula is still the same. Press or slide the release tab that connects the wiper blade to the wiper arm. Then pull firmly to separate the wiper blade from the wiper arm. The wiper may be easier to remove if it is perpendicular to the wiper arm. There are three different mechanisms commonly found on cars today.
    • The universal slide. This is the most common wiper blade design. You'll need to press the lever on the bottom on the connection, and then slide the wiper down towards the base of the wiper arm.
    • The side pin. The pin is made of a 7mm pin that is at a right angle to the wiper arm. You'll need to press the spring lock button with a small flathead screwdriver, and then pull the wiper blade away from the wiper arm.
    • The bayonet arm. Lift the locking lever, and then slide the wiper blade away from the base of the wiper arm. That is, slide the wiper blade away from the car.
  3. Install new wipers. Follow the directions that come with your new windshield wiper blades. It's usually a pretty simple process, and the directions are usually picture guides demonstrating how to install the wiper blade on your car. Most blades come with adapters to fit most any type of connector. Once again here are a few blade-specific instructions.

    • The universal slide. Place the blade just below the hook. Push the blade into the hook until it snaps into place.
    • The side pin. Press the hole onto the pin. It should lock automatically.
    • The bayonet arm. Lift the locking lever, and this time slide the wiper blade back down to the base of the wiper arm (slide it towards the car).
  4. Test new wiper installation. Use your car's windshield mister to see that your wipers are working properly. They should operate smoothly without squealing, chattering or streaking. If so, then your windshield wiper replacement has been a success!
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