How to Change Your Windshield Wipers

Everyone knows that having a clear view out of the windshield is vital. However, if several weeks’ worth of bug splats, dried raindrop marks, pollen, or general dirt accumulate on the windshield, that clear view can be a thing of the past. To make it all the more difficult, the job of cleaning your windshield while on the road can be impossible if your windshield wipers are old and worn out.

If your windshield wipers seem to chatter more than a toddler as they swish back and forth over your windshield, or they leave more dirt and streaks than they remove, it may be time to replace them. However, first take a few minutes to clean the blades and see if that resolves the problem. If not, it is definitely time to invest in new blades.

How often should you replace the wiper blades? That depends on the elements your vehicle is exposed to, such as dust, freezing temperatures, or intense sun. But generally, you should replace those blades every six months. The good news is that changing your windshield wipers should only ten minutes or less. At the same time, by doing the job yourself you’ll save a few bucks.

Step #1: Get to know your wipers

Understanding how your windshield wipers work will help you to know how to replace them.

  • Blade – this is the rubber strip that comes into contact with your windshield and actually does the cleaning
  • Blade frame – the metal frame that the blade is attached to
  • Arm – the frame is connected to the arm, which moves the blade over the windshield

Step #2: Purchase the new

Purchase new blades at an auto parts store or online. To make selecting new blades easier, have on hand the make, model, and year of your vehicle.

To replace the blades you’ll need to know just how long they are. Interestingly, the blade on the driver side may be longer or shorter than the one on the passenger side, so measure them both to know what the replacement length should be. Your owner’s manual might also provide that information, and the store where you purchase the blades might also have a handy chart or catalog to help you make the right choice.

Make sure the new blades have the same attachment method and points as the ones on your vehicle’s wiper arm.

Step #3: Remove the old

To get the wiper arms in the right position, simply turn on the wipers. First you may want to wet your windshield with wiper fluid. When the wipers are at their highest position, turn them off. Now take the arm of one of the windshield wipers and pull it forward until it is standing upright away from the glass. It will lock into place in this position.

At this point you might want to consider putting something on your windshield to protect it in case the arm releases and snaps back onto the windshield, which could crack the glass. A towel placed on the windshield does well to protect against unforeseen occurrences.

Now turn the blade perpendicular to the arm. This is the moment when you need to discover how the blade connects to the wiper arm. Usually there’s a tab, button, or several clips that you will slide, push or pinch together to release the blade. Then you’ll be able to slide the blade downward and out. When in doubt, consult your owner’s manual, which will give you the details about how to replace the blade.

Be careful at this point, since the arm holds the blade frame, which is a piece of metal that can cause damage to your vehicle’s windshield.

Step #4: Attach the new one

Take the new blade out of its packaging and slide it in or snap it into place, according to how your blades are designed. For instance, with a hook-style wiper arm you would slide the blade over a metal hook and pull until it clicks into place. Now lower the arm back into place on your windshield.

Step #5: Repeat with the other blade

Once both blades have been replaced, test them to make sure all is in working order. Wet your windshield with fluid and let your new wipers do their best work. Now you can sit back and feel proud that you were able to perform simple but essential maintenance on your car.

Get more life out of your blades by protecting your car from the elements (dirt, intense sun, and cold) as much as possible. Additionally, clean your windshield regularly and occasionally wipe down the blades with a moist rag.

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