Windshield wipers are very important for safe driving because they keep the windshield and, on some vehicles, the rear window clear of rain, snow, and sometimes dust. Keeping a good pair of wipers on your car is something that deserves your attention. Even in the desert Southwest where it doesn’t rain much, it is still vital to have sturdy, functional wipers. A sudden or heavy rain can nearly blind a driver if the wipers aren’t working properly. When the wipers start to become ineffective, leaving the glass smeary or streaked, it’s high time to change the blades.
Why Replacement Becomes Necessary
Several factors cause window wipers to wear out. These can include just using them a lot or environmental factors such as snow, hail, and being exposed to the hot sun. Road film can build up on the wiper blades, tree trash can get caught in on the hood, and even sand, dirt, or grit can collect on the wipers if the car sits for a few days. You can always take your car to a repair shop to have them replace your wipers, but it is a simple task, so why pay someone to do something you can easily do yourself?
Changing the Wipers
First, clean out any debris or gunk on your windshield wipers if necessary. Then carefully pull the wiper arm straight up, so it is vertical and points away from the windshield. You may need to start your car and activate the wipers and then turn you’re your car when both wipers are deployed on the windshield and accessible. When you are working on the wipers, make sure your car is set in Park, with the parking brake on, and the engine is off.
Measure the blade for length so you can purchase the correct blades. Measure both blades because they are often different lengths to fit the curvature of the windshield. You can check in the car owner’s manual to confirm the wiper specs. Be sure you get the proper blades for your car’s year, make, and model so they fit properly. After you’ve made the purchase and are ready to install them, you’ll again put the wiper assembly in a vertical position. Be careful, because the wiper arm is spring-loaded and can easily snap back onto the windshield. Lay a rag, old towel, tarp, or something else across the windshield to protect it should the wiper get away from you.
Turn the wiper blade so that it is at a right angle (more or less) to the wiper arm. You’ll see a hinge and a little tab on one side of it. Snap out the tab and pull the blade down. You may need a pair of needle-nosed pliers with stubborn or old wiper blades. With the rubber blade off of the wiper arm, it’s just bare metal, so be careful not to let it snap back onto the windshield. It could scratch or even crack the glass. Once the old blade is off, you can slide the new blade into place. Press it into place firmly and close the tab; you may hear the tab click into place. Repeat these steps on the other wiper, and you’re all set.
It’s a good idea to check the new wiper blades just to make sure they fit correctly and went on all right. Use your car’s windshield washer fluid to wet the windshield, and then turn on the wipers to see how they’re doing. You’re ready to go in no time at all!