Step-by-Step Guide on Replacing Car Windshield Wipers

/ / Car Accessories
hands pulling back a car windshield wiper arm

We may not think about them often but our car’s windshield wipers are very important. Maybe not as significant as the engine, headlights, or tires, but they make a big difference in certain conditions. Bad or worn out wipers might not clear off the windshield well enough, or possibly make things worse by smearing the obscuring materials around, so you should take the time to swap them out for a fresh set if you begin to notice signs of reduced effectiveness or regularly hear an unpleasant squeaking sound when they’re in use.

Before you get started you’ll need a few basic (but essential) things. Make sure you have a new set of wipers, and use a tool like Amazon’s Your Garage to verify compatibility. Keep a couple of clean cloths or rags on-hand, along with a bucket of water. You’ll also want both rubbing alcohol (to clean off the wiper blades) and glass cleaner (to clean off the windshield). Depending on the way your wipers are attached, you may also need a small flathead screwdriver.

If you have access to the owner’s manual for your car, this is also a good time to keep it close. Not all vehicles or models use the exact same process for removing or attaching wiper blades, so it’s worth checking the official documentation. With all of these elements ready, it’s time to replace your windshield wipers.

Removing your windshield wipers

person pulling back and checking a car windshield wiper arm

Park your car in a safe area — such as a garage or driveway, or possibly the quiet part of a parking lot — and be mindful of any potential traffic that may pass by.

  1. Turn your car on and pull the lever for your wipers inward to spray some wiper fluid on the windshield, then let the wipers clean it off for a moment.
  2. Turn the car off while the wipers are at the peak of their arc, which will stop them while they’re pointed towards the car’s roof.
  3. Carefully pull back the wiper arm (the part connected to the car hood section) until you hear and feel a click or snap, which should occur at roughly a 90-degree angle, to lock them into position.
  4. Rotate the frame holding one of the wipers so that the blade is horizontal and remove the old wipers one at a time, following the directions in the owner’s manual. In most cases it’s a matter of pushing a small tab in or out, then sliding the blade off parallel to the frame.
  5. If your car uses a pin connector instead of a tab, use a small flathead screwdriver to lift the pin before sliding off the wiper blade.
  6. Wrap a clean cloth around each of the blade frames and carefully lay the arms back down against the windshield (to avoid an accidental snap and windshield crack).

Now you’re ready to install your new windshield wiper blades.

Attaching new wiper blades

a pair of hands replacing a windshield wiper blade

Installing the new wiper blades is pretty much the same as removing the old ones, but in reverse. However, you should still avoid rushing so as to avoid any potential misalignment or accidental wiper arm impacts with your windshield.

  1. Remove the new blades from their packaging and give them a quick wipe down with rubbing alcohol to make sure they’re clean.
  2. Pull and lock the wiper arms back out to their 90-degree angle one at a time, and remove the protective cloth.
  3. Slide the new wiper into place on the blade frame, taking care to keep the frame’s hook over the tab on the blade. When you hear a click or snap, they’re locked in.
  4. For pin connectors, locate the small hole along the length of the new blade, then slide the blade into the frame until it lines up with the pin. When in position, the new blades should snap into place.
  5. Use the water and glass cleaner to wipe down your windshield before laying the wipers back down.
  6. Carefully unlock the wiper arms and place them back against the windshield, then turn your car on again so that they settle back into their usual resting position.

Keep in mind that, like with wiper removal, your car may utilize a different method for wiper attachment. So if some of the steps don’t seem to apply to your windshield wiper setup, be sure to consult the owner’s manual for clarification.

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