How to Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Changing your windshield wipers is a fairly simple task that you can usually perform yourself. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the whole process of replacing your wiper blades.
Step 1: Find the right blade sizes
Before installing your new wiper blades, confirm they're the right size as specified by your vehicle's manufacturer. Short blades can compromise visibility in adverse weather, whereas blades that are too long can scratch your windshield. Often, the driver and passenger sides require different blade sizes, so consult your car manual to find the ideal fit. Alternatively, you can read our guide on how to find the best wiper blades for you.
Step 2: Locate the wiper arm and lift it off the windshield
Time to get hands-on. Locate the wiper arms sitting at the base of your windshield. For better accessibility to remove the old blades, lift the arms up as far as they'll go—usually around a 90-degree angle for most cars. They should be able to hold an upright position on their own.
For added peace of mind, place a towel on the area where the blades typically rest. This will safeguard your windshield from damage should the wiper arm accidentally fall back into place.
Step 3: Remove the old blades
From this point, the process largely depends on what type of arm connectors your car uses. If you've got the classic J-Hook connection, the removal process is as straightforward as can be: slide the blade down toward the base of the arm, and it'll easily unhook.
Other attachment mechanisms have a tab or button that you'll need to lift or push to release the blade from the arm. If you see two tabs on the underside of the blade, pinch the said tabs together and firmly slide the blade off the arm. Moreover, if the arms have a locking mechanism tab, you must disengage it first before removing the old blades.
Remember, you shouldn't have to wrestle with it. If it feels too tough to remove the blades, check your owner's manual or consult a professional. Once you've removed your blades, compare them to your new ones to ensure they're the same size and have the same attachment design. Also, don’t forget to place the arm back down on the windshield pad to protect your windshield.
Step 4: Install the new wiper blades
- Remove the plastic protector from the blade rubber.
- Push the blade into the arm hook until it locks in place and you hear a click.
- Make sure the blade is aligned with the windshield and isn't twisted.
- Repeat the process for the other blade.
- Gently lower the wipers to the windshield.
Here is an image showing how to install wiper blades with different types of arm connectors:
The installation process can vary depending on the attachment mechanisms your vehicle comes with. For step-by-step instructions, you can visit this page and enter your vehicle model. You’ll find how-to videos that will guide you through the installation process for your specific needs.
Step 5: Test your new wiper blades
Before testing your new wipers, give your windshield a good cleaning. By doing so you can spot potential issues more efficiently and remove debris that can make the blades streak or chatter.
It's a good idea to perform the test at different speeds and settings. We recommend spraying your windshield with the washer fluid and letting your blades run for a comprehensive test. Never run your wipers without fluid on the windshield to protect the blades. If you spot streaks or hear a squeaky sound, you may need to adjust or replace your new wipers.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Replacing Wiper Blades
- Buying the wrong size: Double-check that you've got the right size of wiper blades for your specific car. Incorrectly sized blades won't clean your windshield effectively.
- Forgetting to remove plastic protectors: New blades often come with a plastic protector on the rubber. Failing to remove this can cause the windshield wipers to perform poorly.
- Mishandling the wiper arm: After you take off the old blade, don't let the metal arm smack the windshield. You might crack it.
- Rushing the installation: Take your time and make sure the new blade clicks into place. If it's not securely attached to the arm, it can fly off while you're driving.
- Failing to test: Always test the new wipers before hitting the road. Make sure they work at all speeds, don’t chatter and don't leave streaks.
- Skipping the manual: If you're unsure about anything, consult your car's owner's manual for precise information on how to install the windshield wipers.