How to Change a Windshield Wiper Blade
Wiper Blades are Easy to Change
It is no coincidence I chose a picture of a minivan for this piece. It goes perfectly with the totally mundane task of changing a windshield wiper blade. It is quite possibly one of the easiest maintenance jobs you'll ever have to do. It takes literally seconds and is easier than washing your car.
Some autoparts stores will do it for you for free while you wait, but what's the fun in that? Try it yourself.
Auto repair can get really basic
Even if you never touch a screw or wrench, the more you know about how your quite possibly most expensive possession works, the better. You'll be able to understand the professionals' techno speak. They won't be able to pull the wool over your head and sell you stuff you don't really need.
What Kind of Blade to Get
Personally, a blade is a blade and the cheapest one is just as good as any other, so price will always be my main criterium. It has worked well for me so far.
Others don't quite see it that way. Advertising is working and tells us that not only do we need to change our blades twice a year, but we also need to do it in pairs. I say, just do it when it doesn't clean properly anymore.
The only time I'd consider buying specialty blades would be if I lived in a climate where mud, snow, ice and other extreme conditions are common. As long as they can adequately remove water and debris without streaking, any wiper will do just fine.
My Windshield Wiper Broke
As you can see, the rubber part of this blade has started to rip and no longer wipes much. The metal parts might even scratch the glass. It needs to be replaced.
So I went to the local auto parts store to get one just like I had done many times before except this was my first time in this store.
I had forgotten to measure the old one, but seemed to be able to remember it was around 20" or 22". The store clerk asked me what kind of car I had and looked it up on his computer. "It's 28" for your car," he said. That might be true, but I was sure it wasn't necessary for it to be that long, so I left, went home and measured the old one. It was 22".
When I came back to the store, the clerk again looked it up on his computer and insisted that it needed to be 28". "Otherwise the connector might not work," he said. I had done this many times before and I wasn't about to let a store clerk and his computer dictate what to buy.
You see, wiper blade connectors are pretty standard. They all fit the vast majority of cars. Some of them come with a fit-everything adapter. Others come with several adapters one of which will probably fit your car.
I ended up getting a 24" blade for about $8. It turns out that the price difference between the 24" and the 28" blade is only a few pennies, so it really didn't matter which one as long as it fits except I got to choose this one, not the computer.
Removing the Old Wiper
On most older cars like mine, it is a simple thing to lift the wiper arm off the windshield till it locks into a position perpendicular to the windshield.
On some cars, the arm is concealed behind the hood when it is in its resting position. If that's the case, turn on the ignition. Turn the wipers on. When they reach their highest point, turn the ignition off so the wipers stay in that position. Now it should be a simple matter to flip it out like on any other car. If everything else fails, you could check the manual.
Now the wiper blade should be able to rotate around its connector in the center. Turn it so that it is at a right angle to the arm.
Getting the old blade off is probably the trickiest part of the whole operation. Somewhere, depending on the particular car, on the connector should be a little lever. When you push it, it unlocks the connector from the arm and allows you to remove the old wiper.
Now that the old wiper has been removed you can get a better view of the wiper arm itself.
Installing the New Wiper Blade
Now it should be a simple matter to select the adapter that fits the arm. Chances are that the adapter is already attached to the new wiper blade and that you can simply slide it on the same way you got the old one off.
Just be sure that the locking mechanism snaps into place. Otherwise, the new wiper might come off the first time you try to use it.
How to Install Wiper Blades Video
Buying Car Parts on Amazon
Once you're in the Automotive section of Amazon, click on the "Part Finder" link. This will let you view only parts for your particular car just like when you go to the autoparts store.
Tell Amazon About Your Car
Enter the basic information about your car and Amazon will show you only parts that will definitely work with it.