How to Change Your Windshield Wipers




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Intro: How to Change Your Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers are a necessary safety feature to any car. The problem is that they don't last forever - but rather need replacing every few years. The rubber blades dry out over time due to use and the sun. How can you tell that you need new wipers? They'll exhibit some of the following symptoms:

  • Streaking water
  • Squeaky
  • Leave a milky film when wiping
  • Any other reason it seems your wipers aren't performing well

Before buying new wipers, try simply wiping the dirt and hardened rubber off your blades with a wet rag. Sometimes you can get some more life out of them this way.

Step 1: Buy Your Blades

Before you go to buy them, make sure you know the exact model of your car. This includes the year, make, model, and further specifications such as, "type."

Go to your nearest auto body shop (or walmart) and give them your car's info. They will be able to look it up and tell you your options. There will many options for blades ranging from $5 to $25 each (you'll usually need to buy a different blade for each side). A good rule of thumb is to not buy the cheapest, or the most expensive ones. It's usually a good idea to replace both blades at once, if one has gone bad, the other can't be much better.

Step 2: Remove the Old Ones

First, pull the entire wiper assembly up, so that they remain vertical. Then turn the blade perpendicular to the arm so that the hinge is visible. You'll notice a small tab on one side of the hinge. Pull that tab* out (you'll here a snap) and then pull the wiper down, towards the car. Now that the blade and arm are separated, remove the blade through one of the holes on the blade. With the blade removed, the wiper arms are now unprotected metal, so don't leave the arm up if you turn away to get your new wipers. If they were to fall back down, it would not be good for your windshield. I like to lay down the old wiper in a way that it would catch the arm should it fall...just in case.

*If your tab appears broken, you can use a key to pop out the remaining nub.

Step 3: Attach the New Ones

Take the new wiper, and insert the arm through the appropriate hole, so that it pushes the actual wiper up. To determine which hole it goes through, adjust the hinge to be perpendicular to the wiper and line it up so that the arm's hook will go over the hinge. Once the arm is inside the hole, just line the hook over the hinge and push them together. You'll hear and feel a click when it's snapped in. Lower the arm, rinse and repeat and you're finished!

Hopefully you'll notice a big difference in their performance. I know I did.

You can throw away the old wipers, or reuse them. I personally have one in my bathroom for wiping off my mirror after showers, when it's fogged up. You can also make a wind chime, a tension wrench, or something of your own creation.



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    15 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Useful info, thanks. One caveat--every few years? The recommendation I've heard most often is that the blades should be changed twice a year.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Does anyone know where to get used and worn out windshield wipers? I need the blades to make lockpicks and a kalimba. I was thinking, maybe at Jiffy Lube or some gas station with a car repair garage, but I'm not sure. Any help would be appreciated.

    3 replies

    look also in the dumpsters of auto parts stores, custoemr will change them right at the store and dump them in the garbage


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    There are tons of them at auto parts stores, they overflow the garbage cans and are all around the dumpster.

    I would call an auto place, as you mentioned, and ask how often they change people's wipers for them. If it's enough, i'm sure they'd hold a few for you.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Something missing from this instructable I'd like to pass along from (sad) and practical experience. When you remove the blade, and have the arms standing up in a resting position waiting to install new blades, or even if you're just installing the blades and have the arms, which happen to be spring loaded, poised above the window. Place some padding at the termination where the arm/blade meets the window. 2 years ago I was changing the blades on my Saturn. While attempting to replace the blade, the spring loaded arm slipped out of my grasp. And smacked the window. As you can guess, the replacement cost of a new windshield is about $300 dollars. The nice solid metal arm made a perfect split up the center of my windshield. So. Use and old blanket or something large enough and soft enough to absorb the impact. Or have a really understanding insurance agent. I paid out of pocket.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for sharing that practical experience. This may really help people who are into replacing their wipers and not end up breaking it.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Often wipers just lose their sharp edges so that they can no longer scrape the window clean. Taking fine sandpaper, placing it under the wiper, holding it so that both edges are in contact with the window and then sliding the sandpaper straight along the length of the wiper will sharpen it and make it work fine for some time. This assumes that the wiper is still flexible. Thanks for your ible!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not sure how standardised it is in the US, but in the UK there are many different methods of connecting your wipers, and most are incompatible with each other. It might be a good idea to take off your wiper and bring it into the store, if you're unsure and the assistants aren't being very helpful. For those in the UK, avoid Halfords, they will rip you off (not only do they charge way too much, but they will charge an extra £4 to fit a wiper, which takes all of twenty seconds).

    1 reply

    Which reminds me, (this is to everyone, not just you) if you can't figure it out, I would bet that wipers are covered in the owners manual that's probably sitting in your glove box.