When and How to Change Wiper Blades

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DIY Auto Repair
Wiper Blades - When and How to Replace

Windshield wipers, the automotive equivalent to your eyelids, are designed for driving in the rain and for keeping your windshield clean of dirt, bugs, and other visual impairments. The wiper blade, the focal point of a windshield wiper, pushes and pulls things off the windshield.

This makes driving safe and allows you to keep your eyes focused on where they should be, the open road ahead. Unfortunately, with the pressure and consistent friction on the rubber, makes a windshield wiper blade wear, and therefore decreases the efficiency of the windshield wiper. Exposure to the sun also breaks down the rubber, making it less flexible and useful. Sometimes, if left for extended periods of time without replacement, the windshield wipers can actually make it harder to drive in the rain, as they will smear the water and dirt across the windshield. This makes it extremely important to replace them on a regular basis, judging their replacement times on how well they work.

So when you know it is time to replace your windshield wipers, how do you? Here is a simple guide to get you back to driving with a safe view ahead.

  • First, when you are going to replace your windshield wipers, you first need to figure out whether you will be replacing the whole windshield wiper blade, or just the rubber insert.
  • Once you have figured out what you are planning to replace, head to your local auto shop or go online to buy your replacement. In an auto store, they should have a booklet explaining what size wiper blade you need for your vehicle. If they don’t, looking it up in your manual or online will tell you. Of course, you would simply remove the wiper blades and match them up at the autoparts store. It is best to have the replacements before you remove the old wiper blades, in case an unexpected storm happens.
  • After retrieving your new wiper blades or windshield wipers, you can begin the removal of the old ones. If you are replacing the whole windshield wiper, it is relatively simple to remove the old one. Basically, you just need to unclip the assembly from the wiper arm, and then slide it off. If you are replacing only the rubber insert, then removing it takes a little more effort. You must first lift the wiper arm up. Then, tilt the blade itself to see the release tab. Open it and slide the assembly arm off. Now, pull the rubber wiper blade out, and be sure to hold onto the metal reinforcements.
  • For installation of the new windshield wipers, remember to check which size goes on which arm. Then simply clip it in to the appropriate slot. You don’t normally have to check sizes when it comes to installing new wiper blades, as the removal and installation of each wiper blade should happen at the same time. Just always make sure to put the correct size on the correct arm for both situations.
  • When installing the new wiper blades, go ahead and slide the metal reinforcement pieces in to the outer grooves. This will help the wiper blade keep its shape when sliding it in. When you slide the wiper blade through, check that it goes through each hook. Pro Tip: Always install new rubber inserts starting from the bottom of the blade, that is, the part of the blade that faces the hood. Otherwise, a poorly seated wiper insert could fly off the next time you try to use it!
  • Whether you replace the inserts or the whole windshield wiper blade, follow these steps on both arms, lower the arms down, and you are good to go!

Don’t wait till your windshield wipers become completely useless to replace them, or the next rainstorm that happens while you are driving can be a lot more dangerous than it should be. Follow this guide and you will see how a simple DIY project can make a world of difference.

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