HOW TO CHANGE WIPER REFILLS-APPLIES TO ALL WIPER BLADES

wiper-blade-falls-apart

Wiper refills have become a common car product that you can buy almost anywhere.

It’s a pretty good solution to the worn out wiper blade problem and can offer quality wiping for a long period of time.

Logical repair as well since when you look at the wiper blades, the only part that actually wears out is the rubber.

The rest can be, in most cases, reused.

In this article you’ll hopefully learn how to replace the wiper refills by yourself and see that it’s a pretty easy job to do.

Lower in the article you can find more interesting and useful topics regarding wiper refills (price, where to buy them, what kind etc.)

At the end of the article you can find a video tutorial or watch it on our You Tube channel.

Also, if you’re interested in how the windshield wiper system actually works, click here for a great explanation on Wikipedia.


 

WHAT TYPES OF WIPER BLADES WILL YOU ENCOUNTER?

Before we start just a short introduction on what kind of wiper blades you’ll probably encounter:

  • Frame style or the old type

 frame-style-wiper-blade

These are well-known to most drivers as they are mounted on cars for the last 50 or so years in more-less unchanged shape.

Although considered obsolete, you can still find them at every car part shop. Still very popular mostly because their prices have plummeted since the beam style wiper blade came out.

Now you can buy premium, brand-name frame style wiper blades for a small portion of the price it used to be.

More modern versions tend to have various improvements regarding looks and performance (such as a wing profile mounted on it) making them still pretty “attractive” to buy.

  • Beam style or flat type

 beam-style-flat-type-wiper-blade-1

Wiper blades of this kind are standard in all modern cars. I remember when they came out it was like something from the space age. Sleek design, great wiping quality and aerodynamic characteristics made it an instant hit.

Until replacement time came.

When people saw the prices of one blade, let alone two, they needed a seat. The usual price was a couple of dozen Euros for one to the three digit realm for both blades.

But due to mass availability, mass production and of course competition, these prices have significantly lowered making the beam-style wiper blade available to almost everyone.

Of course the brand names are still pretty expensive and pose an obstacle for the average driver which is the main reason why people reach for knock-offs and copies.

Regarding copies (from my own experience): you get the looks, but forget wiping quality.


 

WHY SHOULD YOU MAKE A WIPER REFILL REPLACEMENT?

Most of you, while reading this will inevitably ask yourself why should you go through this whole procedure when you can simply go and buy the whole thing and replace it completely.

These thoughts are in place when talking about the frame-style wiper blades (old type). The cost of one blade opposed to the cost of the wiper refill simply renders the replacement unjustified.

Exceptions are frame style wiper blades which are rare and hard to find (different lengths than standard, for old-timers etc.)

The main gain here is with the beam-style wiper blades as they are pretty expensive to replace (especially for premium brand cars). For a small portion of what the whole blade costs, you get essentially a new wiper blade with the same wiping quality.

Savings here can be a couple of dozen Euros (even more).  Don’t know about you, but for me this is serious money left in the house.


 

WHAT TOOLS WILL YOU NEED?

In terms of tools, this is not a needy task.

All that you’ll need is a :

  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • Combined pliers
  • Cutting pliers (optional)

tools-for-removing


 

WIPER REFILL REPLACEMENT PROCEDURE FOR BEAM STYLE (FLAT TYPE) WIPER BLADES.

  1. REMOVE THE WIPER BLADES

You have the complete procedure (in video and written form) in a separate article which you can view by clicking here.

  1. REMOVE PLASTIC CAPS FOUND AT THE ENDS OF THE WIPER BLADES

Beam style wiper blades are held together at the ends by plastic caps. These are removable on almost all types of beam-style wipers.

Use a small flat head screw driver to push small clips of the cap inside in order to release the cap. Once they click, just pull off the plastic cap. One side is enough, you don’t have to do both.

taking-off-plastic-clips

plastic-clips-removal-from-wiper-blades

 

  1. BE CAREFUL THAT THE WIPER BLADE DOESN’T FALL APART

Once you release the plastic cap, the wiper blade may fall apart. Don’t worry as it is easily re-assembled. If you want to avoid this, use some tape and go around the center of the wiper blade before taking off the cap. Cut it once you start to re-insert the wiper refill.

 wiper-blade-falls-apart

  1. PULL OUT THE OLD WIPER RUBBER

Once you’ve taken off the cap, take hold of the wiper rubber and pull it out. It may take some effort, especially if the wiper blade has been used for a long time (it sort of sticks to the blade). Don’t hesitate to use excessive force. It’s rubber, small chance you can make any damage.

taking-out-wiper-rubber

  1. MEASURE THE WIPER REFILL IN TERMS OF LENGTH

Wiper refills tend to be longer than the original. This is because same sets are made for various models and length of wiper blades so they can fit on longer or shorter wiper blades.

So, once you’ve taken out the old wiper rubber, measure it against the new wiper refill.

If needed, cut the wiper refill to the exact match. Best use a scalpel or scissors.

measuring-length-wiper-refill

  1. INSERT THE WIPER REFILL

Make sure the wiper refill is set properly. The wiper blade has metal rails on the sides that hold the rubber in place and make it stiff thus enabling the wiper to do its task.

On the side of the wiper refill, you’ll find grooves that fit on to the metal rails. Be sure to set them properly on both sides so the rubber doesn’t twist.

Push or pull the wiper refill to the end of the wiper blade (to the end where you didn’t take off the plastic cap). Check that the end of the refill aligns with the end of the wiper blade.

 insert-wiper-refill

  1. RETURN THE PLASTIC CAP

Make sure that the plastic cap sits properly in to place so you don’t break the clips. Once you here the click sounds, the job is finished.

returning-plastic-clip

  1. RETURN THE WIPER BLADES ON TO THE CAR

Turn the wipers on and see that everything works fine. Good wiping, no screeches or smears means that the job is well done.


 

WIPER REFILL REPLACEMENT PROCEDURE FOR FRAME STYLE (OLD TYPE) WIPER BLADES.

  1. REMOVE THE WIPER BLADES

You have the complete procedure (in video and written form) in a separate article which you can view by clicking here.

  1. RELEASE (SPREAD) METAL HOLDERS (CLAWS) AT THE END OF THE WIPER BLADE.

Unlike beam style wiper blades, these are a bit more complicated. Not much, but some more work will be needed.

At one end of the wiper blade, you’ll find a part of the metal frame that is dug in to the wiper rubber (a lot like claws). These serve the purpose of holding the wiper rubber in to place so it doesn’t slide out when wiping.

Open these claws and spread them towards the outside. Best use a small flat head screwdriver, combined pliers or cutting pliers (optional).

frame-style-wiper-blade-metal-holder

wiper-refill-removing-metal-holder-flat-head-screwdriver

wiper-refill-removing-metal-holder-cutting-pliers-screwdriver

spreading-metal-holders-wiper-blades

  1. PULL OUT THE OLD WIPER RUBBER

Once the rubber is free, take hold of it on one side and pull the rubber out. With the rubber, two metal rails will also come out. Separate them from the old wiper rubber as you’ll need them later.

wiper-blade-removal-frame-style-wiper-blade.

 

  1. MEASURE THE WIPER REFILL IN TERMS OF LENGTH

Wiper refills tend to be longer than the original. This is because many sets are made for various models and lengths of wiper blades so they can fit on longer and shorter wiper blades. So, take the old wiper rubber and measure it against the new one.

If needed, cut the wiper refill to the exact match. Best use a scalpel or scissors.

measuring-refill-length

  1. INSERT THE METAL RAILS IN TO THE WIPER REFILL GROOVES

Both the wiper refill and the metal rails are supposed to slide in to the frame together.

So, take the metal rails and insert them in to the wiper refill grooves.

Bit tricky as this tends to fall apart. Have some patience and make sure that the metal rails sit in the wiper refill grooves properly (no bends, mismatched grooves etc.).

Make sure you turn the metal rails properly. You’ll find “cuts” on one side of the metal rails. They are supposed to go to the end of the wiper blade where the metal claws are.

The old wiper rubbers as well as the wiper refills should have a profile on one side that fits this “cut”.

The purpose of this is to give additional grip to the metal rails and prevent them from sliding out while wiping.

insert-metal-rails

  1. INSERT WIPER REFILL IN TO THE FRAME

Make sure that the wiper refill passes all of the holders on the frame. On this part, the metal rails will try to fall apart from the wiper rubber. But as mentioned, have some patience.

Just make sure that both the wiper refill and rails simultaneously pass all of the holders.

frame-style-wiper-blade-inserting-refill

  1. PUSH THE WIPER REFILL UNTIL IT REACHES THE END OF THE FRAME

Pull or push the wiper blade until it reaches the end of the blade or until it reaches the metal claws you’ve previously opened.

  1. RETURN (PUSH) THE METAL CLAWS BACK IN TO PLACE

Best use the combined pliers and press the claws back in to place.

Make sure that the claws grab the wiper refill firmly.

If you don’t tighten properly, the wiper refill may get loose over time and start to slide out of the frame.

tighten-frame-style-wiper-blade

  1. RETURN THE WIPER BLADE BACK ON TO THE CAR

Turn the wipers on and see that everything works fine. Good wiping, no screeches or smears means a job well done.


 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO REPLACE WIPER REFILLS?

Wiper refills are fairly cheap and won’t set you back a great deal.

Prices range from 2 or 3 Euros to about 15 Euros.

This is a very rough estimate which highly depends on the brand, quality and what kind of set you’re buying.


 

SHOULD YOU BUY BRAND NAME WIPER REFILLS OR COPIES?

Once you decide to buy wiper refills you’ll come across two main categories:

  • Brand name

If you want the real deal, this is the way to go.

Although, due to competition even well-known brands have turned to making wiper refills in different price categories.

But even at the lower price level, you should be able to get good quality.

  • Copies (knock-offs)

There is literally a sea of these, mostly from the Far East. In most cases they look similar to the original but the wiping quality and endurance is no match.

You’’ll recognize them by the funky product names and low quality.

Although….a lot of these manufacturers have become more serious over recent years and are starting to make serious products for a portion of the money that brand names are asking.

Anyway, main point on this part: even the most expensive, brand name wiper refills won’t set you back that much. You should buy them.

If it was the whole wiper blade, I’d be writing differently.

Buying copies for a couple of Euros less will just be money out the window.

Once the smearing and screeching of the windshield starts (and it will in a short time), you’ll know what I’m talking about. Not to mention the horrible possibility of damaging the windshield.

No need for being stingy when buying wiper refills.


 

 WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO BUY WINDSHIELD WIPER  REFILLS?

where-to-buy-windshield-blades

All of us of course know where to buy car parts and among them wiper refills.

Either go and visit a car parts shop or do buy online and get it in your doorstep.

Each of these have their pros and cons:

  • Online

This way of shopping is becoming standard although lots of people still like to visit the shop, talk to other people, actually touch, feel and see the car part they’re buying. But let’s face it, it’s on the decline.

Former problems like not getting you’re parts on time or getting the wrong one is behind us (mostly).

But as with all online purchases, the main problem is the presence.

You can’t actually touch and feel what you buy and this is key when buying wiper  refills. Quality of rubber is best evaluated by touch.

All you have is a picture and references which are OK and mostly truthful, but still some questions remain.

My advice on this parts is go again with premium quality brands. This should be a good guarantee that you’ll receive the proper wiper refills in term of fitting and quality.

Regarding online purchase of cheap wiper refills (knock-offs and copies which cost a couple of Euros, for a whole set): you’re probably aware that you’re buying low quality refills.

Having that in mind, I would recommend to be stingy as much as you can. Find the cheapest ones, with free shipping cost. Combine that with some reviews and go for it.

Main motto with buying  this kind of merchandise (not only wiper refills) :if you bought crap, at least it’s not expensive.

  • Car parts shops

A lot of people still like to go to car part shops. Having a conversation, discussing, looking and buying  car parts is something that many people still enjoy (mostly older).

There is a great advantage in actually seeing, feeling and touching the merchandise you’re buying.

I’ve shopped on-line and that’s OK, but there’s always insecurity if you’re going to get what you want (mostly in terms of fitting and quality).

At the shop, you can see, ask and pick out what you want. You can install immediately as there is no waiting.

Also, you can touch and feel the wiper refill rubber and make a good estimate of the quality.

One more good possibility is returning the wiper refills in a short notice if you’re not satisfied.

Always found “live” shopping for car parts more appealing, but everyone should do what suits them best.


Video tutorial:

 

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