Wiper blades are among the most expendable car parts.
They usually last for two seasons or even one, depending on the quality. This means you’re going to be changing a significant amount of wiper blades while you own the car.
Although this is not a pricey nor complicated replacement and part shops change them mostly for free ( if you buy the wiper blades from them), knowing how to change these will come in handy.
Sometimes the car parts shop won’t work, sometimes you’ll have to change them on the road, whatever the case may be, through this article you can see how to do it by yourself.
At the end of the article you can find a video tutorial or watch it on our You Tube channel.
Besides the procedure itself, you can find other useful tips regarding this topic.
Also, if you’re interested on how the windshield wiper blades system actually works, click here for a great explanation on Wikipedia.
SYMPTOMS OF WORN OUT WIPER BLADES
Sure sign that it’s time to change the wiper blades:
Smearing of the windshield
If you don’t get a clean and precise wipe, it;s time for a replacement. Smears, smudges, streaks are not an option as they cause less visibility and a safety threat.
Squeaking sound when the wipers are turned on
Also a sure sign that the wipers are ready for replacement. Reason for this is that the rubber gets stiff over time and when going over the glass, causes squeaks.
If you have high-quality ones, this is a sure sign that they are finished. For low-quality ones, poor quality rubber is the main reason.
DO THIS BEFORE YOU BUY NEW WIPER BLADES
Other factors may be causing problems that are similar to a worn out wiper blade problem.
In order to ensure yourself and not waste money do these tasks:
Clean the wiper blades
Whenever you wash the car, give the wiper blade rubbers a good scrub. Overtime, a thin layer of filth builds up on the rubbers. This causes smearing giving you the impression that they have to be changed although the rubbers are still in good condition.
Use the same cloth that you wipe the car (plas chamois cloth is best), embrace both sides of the rubber and go up and down a few times. You’ll be surprised at the amount of filth you’re going to remove
Check that the wiper arms provide enough pressure
Wiper arms are the part that holds and presses the wiper blade to the windshield. It has a strong spring at the foothold of the arm. This spring can get loose over time thus not being able to provide enough pressure.
This is rarely the case, mostly happens in older cars (where the spring can even break).
If this is the problem, you’ll have to replace the whole wiper arm.
Check the condition of the windshield
Yes, even the windshield has a “life-time” of its own. While using the vehicle, the windshield is subdued to all kind of harsh conditions (hot and freezing temperatures, sudden blows from rocks or road debris, dust etc.)
This can cause small streaks, cracks or else rendering the wiper blades, however new they are, pretty useless.
Also, using worn out wiper blades (not changing them on time) will also damage the windshield. Believe it or not, a stiff rubber blade can have a sort of sand-paper effect. I’ve seen this many times, drivers ruin a couple of hundred Euro windshield due to negligence.
So, if you have a bad windshield, no kind of wipers will help. A replacement is imminent and do it as soon as possible as this is a safety hazard.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST WIPER BLADES FOR YOUR CAR?
Once you’ve decided to buy new wiper blades here’s what you need to consider:
This is perhaps the most important factor. Buy exactly the same size that you have. There are certain variations (a few millimeters, perhaps 1 centimeter) that can be tolerated but leave it at that.
Buy too short and once the rain falls, you’ll have the feeling of driving a battle tank. Small portions of the windshield will be wiped causing less visibility and safety. Not to mention the annoyance part.
Buy too long and they can scrub the outer parts of the windshield (the rubber seal that goes around it) and cause damage both to the wipers and the windshield.
Also have in mind that most of today’s cars have uneven wipers blades in term of size. The left and right are not the same.
Most common and effective way of finding the proper ones:
- Bring the old wiper blades with you and compare to new ones. You have to buy the new ones anyway and the old ones don’t weigh a ton, so why not. This way, there will surely be no mistake
- Measurement tape is a good way to go; if the situation is such that you don’t have the old wiper blades with you, this is the next best solution. Measure both of the wiper blades in term of length and write it down.
- Ask at the car parts shop; perhaps the most risky. You can buy a set “by heart” so to say. Just state your car model and they should find a match. Emphasis on “should” as various manufacturers have slightly different standards. For the same type of car you may get slightly different wiper blades and that just doesn’t cut it. Least recommended, from my own experience.
First two methods will always work best.
On the market you’ll find two typed of wiper blades:
Frame-style wiper blades
Also known as the old-school type. These are the ones that are perhaps the most well-known. Many people still use them as they are cheaper to buy ( in most cases). Still do the job very well although considered outdated
Beam style wiper blades
These are more modern ones with a different construction of the blade. A standard for all modern cars. Different construction gives them better wiping capabilities, better looks (sleek, more modern) and better grip to the windshield due to better aerodynamics.
Downside here (maybe the only one), is the price. For the price of one quality set of beam-style wiper blades, you can get almost ten sets of frame-style ones. Of course, there are copies of beam-style blades but I wouldn’t recommend them.
Do what ever suits you. Both types are good and will do the job as long as they are made in quality.
On today’s market there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of wiper blade manufacturers.
From the well-known brands to the copy-cat ones, picking the proper ones can be a task.
What is a quality wiper blade? The answer is: one that wipes well and lasts at least two years (in all-weather conditions).
Brand names in this niche should assure quality and longevity but this is not always the case. Over time, they have also started to make different classes of wiper blades due to competition. If you can spare the expense, best buy these.
Less known brand names may be the solution for a tighter budget as they offer a fair proportion between price and quality.
Copies and knock-offs are to be avoided as much as possible. It’s mostly money thrown out the window as the quality is very poor. Although, on this part, I can only say that they’re getting better every year.
Depending on what kind of wiper blade you’ll buy:
Frame style wiper blades
These are mostly cheap to buy. As the beam-style wiper blade rendered it obsolete, you can buy quality, brand-name ones for a portion of the price it used to be.
Rather a bargain I would say if you don’t mind the design.
Surely will do the job as long as the beam-style-ones and cost a lot less.
Beam-style wiper blades
if you want quality ones, prepare for some serious expense. Prices starting from a couple of dozen Euros for one wiper blade all up to the triple digit realm for both.
But, better wiping quality and better looks have their price. For the longevity factor, I don’t know what to say. I’ve seen situations where people spend some serious money on these kind of wiper blades only to throw them away the next year. Also seen that they last for a couple of years. This was from the same manufacturer.
In the desire to be more modern, a lot of car drivers (especially with used cars) turn to knock-offs and copies. Here you get only the looks minus the wiping. They work for a couple of months and then start to smear and screech. They’re cheap, but nevertheless, you simply don’t get what you buy.
Remember, when making a decision regarding the price, the main factor is wiping quality and not the looks.
If you don’t have the money buy the old-school, frame-style ones from a quality manufacturer. Better than a beam-style knock-off that will smear and screech after a short time.
If you decide to buy the beam-style wiper blades, but the budget is low, go for mid range.
On the other hand, if money is not a problem, buy beam-style ones from a quality manufacturer and call it a day.
WIPER BLADE REPLACEMENT PROCEDURE
Here’s the basic procedure :
1. Raise the wiper blade arms
2. Set the wiper blades to a 90 degree angle in opposition to the wiper arm
3. Release the blade from the wiper arm
At the middle of the wiper blade you will find a holder-clip that you will have to push in order to release the wiper blade from the arm.
After that, pull down the center of the blade to clear the plastic clip completely from the wiper arm.
4. Remove the old blade
5. Put the new blade in place
6. Slide the holder-clip in place, make sure it’s turned the right way and that it sits in properly
You’ll probably hear the click sound, that’s a sure sign that it fitted on the wiper arm correctly.
7. Do the same for the other wiper blade
Order isn’t that important here, I like to do the driver’s side first.
8. Gently lower the wiper blade arms back in place
When putting the wiper blade arms back be careful, it’s held in place buy a strong spring. If you’re not careful the wiper arm, because of the strong spring, can hit the windscreen and crack it.
9. Turn the wipers on, check how it works. If everything is OK, you should get a clean, soundless and precise wipe. Check that the wiper blades don’t rub the windshield seal (the one that goes around the whole windshield).
Video tutorial on how to change the wiper blades: