Understand the importance of windshield wiper blades
Without properly functioning wiper blades, your visibility decreases, putting yourself and others in danger. You can replace your windshield wiper blades on your own, but the job can be frustrating—if you don’t know how. By following the steps we outline here, you can save yourself both time and money.
Determine windshield wiper wear
Because wiper rubber degrades from age and use, consider replacing your wiper blades every six to 12 months. Depending on where you live, it’s a good idea to change them on a set schedule—like fall and spring—to ensure you’re prepared for the weather you’ll drive in throughout the year.
If you don’t follow a set schedule for replacing your wiper blades, there are telltale signs when it’s time for a change:
Performance issues: Spots and streaks, squeaking or scratching sounds, or a skipping or bouncing motion on the windshield during use
Physical damage: Rips, tears, or a visible detachment from the wiper
By changing your wiper blades immediately after spotting any of these signs, you’ll help keep your visibility clear and reduce the risk of your wipers permanently scratching your windshield.
Replace your windshield wiper blades
Before replacing the wiper blades, make sure you don’t have any cracks or damage to the windshield. If you do notice a cracked windshield, contact your agent and ask them about filing an auto glass claim.
Here’s how to replace your wiper blades:
Identify the type of wiper blade you need: To confirm the exact type and size, check your vehicle’s owner manual. Otherwise, you can use a measuring tape or ruler to determine the length of the left and right rubber blades. Most auto parts stores should have the exact size you’re looking for. Each blade can cost between $12 and $20.
Raise the windshield wiper arm off the windshield: Once you’ve lifted the arm, keep it elevated until you complete the replacement. The metal arms are spring-loaded, so lift only one arm and replace the blade before lifting the other.
Locate the plastic joint: To remove the old wiper blade, locate the plastic joint that attaches the wiper blade to the metal wiper arm. This plastic piece commonly includes a hook that locks (and unlocks) the blade to the arm. Once you’ve found it, turn the wiper blade perpendicular to the arm.
Unlatch the old wiper blade: Wiper blade designs vary—and there may be a release tab, or stopper, on the plastic joint. Press that tab and rotate the wiper blade down.
Remove the old wiper blade: Turn the wiper blade back toward its regular position and pull it off.
Install the new wiper blade: Reverse the removal process to install the new blade. Place the new blade parallel to the metal arm and slide it into the slot where you removed the old blade. Then, rotate the new wiper blade to lock the plastic hook and tab onto your new blade. Gently lay the windshield wiper back on your windshield. Repeat the steps for the other side.
Test the new windshield wipers
Finally, test your new wiper blades by spraying wiper fluid onto the windshield and running the blades back and forth a few times to ensure they’re working well.
By following these simple instructions, you’ll likely improve your visibility and—by doing it yourself—save time and money.
Now that you’ve learned the simplicity of replacing your windshield wiper blades, check out other DIY maintenance tips to help keep you safe on the road.