It’s easy to forget about your windshield wipers until it starts raining or snowing. But this simple device could save your life in bad weather, so it’s crucial to keep your windshield wiper blades in working condition at all times.
According to Consumer Reports, most windshield wiper blades only last for six months to a year. Blades crack and lose their flexibility when exposed to prolonged hot and cold temperatures, so if you park your car outside, your wiper blades will need replacing more often than if you park in a garage.
Parts of the Windshield Wiper System
Windshield wipers have three main parts:
- The base
- The arm
- The blade
At the base of the wiper is an arm attached to a motor under the hood. The arm pivots from side to side when the wipers are turned on. A removable, flexible blade clips to this arm. The blade has a slot in it that holds a rubber wiper, which is the part that touches the windshield.
You can replace just the rubber wiper, but replacing the entire blade is easier and does not usually require tools.
Choosing the Correct Windshield Wiper Replacements
Cars and trucks use many different sizes of wiper blades, and in many cases, two blades on the same windshield are not the same size. It is essential to carefully measure the blades on your vehicle, or to look in the owner’s manual, to find the correct size for each side.
Once you know what size replacement blades you need, go to any auto parts store to purchase them. The cost for replacement blades ranges from about $10 to $25 per blade.
Replacing Windshield Wiper Blades
Removing old blades
To remove the old windshield wiper blades, stand to the side of the wiper and gently lift the blade so that the rubber wiper is facing upwards. You will now be able to see the clip or pin that attaches the blade to the arm below.
To install new blades
Read the instructions on the replacement blade package carefully. This usually tells you how to remove the old blade as well.
- Lift or push the pin or clip out with your finger, a key, or a small screwdriver.
- Once the old blade is removed, install the new blade in the same way.
- As you push the blade into the slot on the arm, you should hear it click into place.
As you replace the blade, be careful not to allow the wiper arm to snap back against the windshield and damage it. You can place a towel on the windshield to protect the glass while you work.
If you do not want to replace your windshield wiper blades yourself, ask a friend to help you, or ask for assistance at an auto parts store, oil change business, or from your mechanic. It is a simple process, but an important one in ensuring your car is always road-safe.