Wipe It… Wipe It Good: How to Install New Windshield Wipers

Inevitably, the storm will hit the day after your promise yourself (and promptly forget) to install new windshield wipers. Not only can it be infinitely frustrating to drive with blurry vision, it can also be hazardous. Read below to know when and how to replace your wipers.

When to Replace Your Wipers

  • Squeaky wipers
  • Streaks and smears when wiping
  • Wiper is torn, frayed, flaky, or brittle

Tools Needed to Change Windshield Wipers

  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure

Measure and buy correctly-sized wipers

To purchase the correctly-sized wipers, either refer to the owner’s manual or use your tape measure to get a figure for yourself. Usually, you will need wipers between 16 and 21 inches. This may not seem like a big difference, but only the correct size will work on your car, so save yourself a trip back to the store. Measure first; then, purchase only those sized wipers. While you’re at it, buy a few replacements to have on hand.

Replacing the Wipers

Firstly, you should know what kind of replacement you need. Are you replacing only the rubber squeegee portion of the windshield wiper? Or are you replacing the entire wiper? Wipers consist of two parts: the metal arm and the rubber-and-metal attachment that actually wipes the windshield. Most people choose to change the whole mechanism, but if you want, look into the possibility of changing the rubber only. Also, it’s important to note that there are three types of wipers to consider for purchase:

  • Straight-end Connectors 

This type of wiper is supposedly the most difficult to install, but even the most difficult wipers still represent a pretty quick and easy process for do-it-yourselfers. Sometimes straight-end types have a knob or notch that keeps on the blade. In this case, you can use your screwdriver to release it, pull out the blade, slide in the new blade, lock it, and make sure it’s secured. At other times, these wipers have tiny screws that must be removed to replace the blade. This can be difficult to see without 20/20 (or better), and if you’re trying to change your wipers in a storm, this can obviously be a problem. However, once you’ve removed the screws, the process for changing out the blade is much the same. Just make sure not to strip the screws by overtightening them, and do keep up with those wily little guys if your new wipers don’t come with more!

  • Hook Slot Connectors 

Locate the flap that keeps the wiper blade in the slot and either push it or unlatch it. This should release the blade so you can pull it out. This is the easiest type of blade to work with but, if it is stubborn, you can use pliers to tug the blade out of the slot gently. Once removed, slide in the new wiper until it snaps into place.

  • Pin-type Arms

This type is virtually the same as the hook slot, only there is a pin that must be pressed from the back of the blade to release the blade. Or, it could be that you must lift out the pin (possibly with a screwdriver) to remove the blade. The blade should come free with a little maneuvering, and the new blade can be slid onto the exposed pins.

That’s it. Easy peasy! However, if you find the process not so easy, call an experienced friend for help. Although we don’t recommend paying a mechanic to do such a repair, they are, of course, highly experienced and can do it in only a matter of minutes.