How To Change Windshield Wipers in 10 Steps

Having a car is one thing, maintaining it is another. As a car owner, you should be able to perform some basic fixes for your car without needing the services of a mechanic or going to an auto repair shop.  

A typical example is changing a car windshield wiper. It is normal when the rubbers begin to wear and crack especially due to constant usage and weather conditions. Changing a wiper blade is, fortunately, a very simple car maintenance task which you can do following these simple steps;

1. Identify the Part of the Wiper that Needs Replacing

Identifying the problem is usually the first step to solving any problem. The first thing that you should do is to identify the part of the wiper that needs a change. 

The windshield wipers consist of three parts; the lower wiper arm which extends from the base of the windshield, the metal or plastic blade attached to the lower arm, and then the rubber blade that actually wipes the windshield. 

When you notice that the blades start to smear water or leave a film on the windshield, then it is due for replacement. Remember that it is wrong to notice the issue and take no action at all. If you continue to use worn-out windshield wipers, they could leave a permanent mark on your windshield. 

The earlier you replace them, the better for you and your car.   

2. Get a Measurement of the Windshield Wipers Before Buying

Windshield wipers come in different sizes depending on the car in question.  Car owners tend to make the common mistake of buying oversized or undersized wipers for their cars.

This common mistake can be corrected or rather avoided if you simply measure the old wipers and know the particular size of the wipers before buying new ones. 

If you find it difficult to measure, kindly uninstall the wiper and take it to the auto parts store as a sample.

3. Raise the Metal Wiper Arm Away From the Windshield

While raising the metal wiper arm, ensure that you apply caution. You should because the metal wiper arm embodies a heavy spring and it could forcefully snap back and crack your windshield.  

The safest way, however, to avoid damage to the windshield is to place a thick towel on it so that even if the metal arm mistakenly moves, the thick towel would protect the windshield. 

Ensure you don’t forcefully raise the metal wiper arm to avoid damage because some wipers will only come two or three inches away from the windshield. Gently raise it up and make sure it stands perpendicular to the windshield. 

On some cars, it may be easier to turn on the wipers and when they start to move, turn off the ignition. This will enable you to move the arm up to have better access to remove the wiper blade. 

4. Unhook the old Wiper

Take a close look at the wiper arm, you will see a joint where the wiper blade meets the metal arm. There should be a small plastic stopper holding the blade. Now, carefully press the stopper to unhook and slide out the old wiper blade to separate it from the metal arm. 

This should come off easy especially if you press the plastic stopper while unhooking. With this done, you would see that the metal arm actually takes the shape of a hook. You may need to tap or tug on the blade a bit to remove it if there is built-up debris or corrosion.

5. Take Out the New Wiper

If the left and right wipers are different sizes, be sure to match the new wiper to the correct side. Push the movable hinge on the new blade until the hinge is perpendicular to the rest of the blade.

6. Attach the New Wiper Blade

This requires lining the new blade with the metal arm so that the metal hook will go through the hole in the wiper blade. The metal hook should push up against the inserted rubber. Remember that a folded towel should be on the windshield in case your hand mistakenly snaps back while hooking the new wiper. 

7. Pull up on the Blade Until You Hear or Feel it Click Into Place

After you have inserted the rubber, the next thing that you should do is to make sure that it properly holds to the wiper arm. Gently push the blade down to a resting position against the windshield. 

When you hear a click sound, it means that it has properly tightened to the wiper arm. Don’t proceed if you don’t hear it click.

8. Check the Angle of the Wiper Arm

The blade should be 90 degrees to the windshield mid-swipe. The reason for this is that if the wiper arm angle is off, the rubber wipes will make unpleasant noise while it wipes the windshield.

9. Gently Push Down the New Wiper on the Windshield

This is done to ensure that the wipers properly relax on the windshield. Remember to hold the wiper blade until they gently settle on the windshield.

10. Test the New Wiper for Proper Installation

Testing for results usually comes in the last stages of solving a problem. After you have followed the above steps, you should check if you installed the wipers properly. Wet the windshield with wiper fluid and then turn the ignition to test the newly installed wiper. 

If the new wipers are streaky, first try to clean the inserted rubber with alcohol wipes or a cloth soaked in mineral spirits. If the wipers are still streaky, check that the blades are properly installed. Also, check that you have installed each blade on the correct side and that the new wiper is properly oriented.

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