How to Change Windshield Wipers
Time Required: Under 2 hours
Keeping your windshield wipers in excellent condition is absolutely necessary to imrpove driving visibility and continue safe operation of your car. Fortunately, learning how to change windshield wipers is a very basic car skill. Replacing wiper blades is a simple, quick and relatively inexpensive DIY fix. Get in the habit of regularly checking the condition of your wiper blades to avoid getting caught in inclement weather with faulty equipment, thus endangering yourself and your passengers.
This guide details step-by-step instructions on how to replace the most common style of wiper blades on cars today. If you have an older vehicle, check your Owner's Manual for windshield wiper replacement instructions.
Tip: You can prolong the life of your wiper blades by cleaning your windshield and wiping down the blades with a rag every time you stop at a gas station.
Check the condition of your wipers at least every six months and replace once a year. If you live in a particularly sandy or dusty area, windshield wiper replacement may need to happen more often. When inspecting your wipers, lift each arm and run your finger along the rubber of the blades to feel for cracks or tears. Return the wipers to their normal resting position on the glass and check that the entire length of both rubber blades is touching the windshield.
If you determine new wipers are necessary:
- Use a tape measure to measure both blades and make note of their exact length.
- You can also consult your car’s Owner’s Manual for wiper blade specifications.
Tip: Always measure both blades as the windshield wiper on the passenger's side is often a different length than the one of the driver's side. If your car has a rear windshield wiper, you should note its measurement as well and replace windshield wipers for both areas at the same time.
- Turn everything off and make sure the car is in park and the emergency brake is on before attempting any repairs.
- Lift the arm away from the windshield and pull it all the way out so it remains fully extended on its own.
- Look for a small tab, tabs, or buttons on the bottom of the wiper blade where it meets the arm.
- Depress the tab and pull the center of the blade towards the bottom of the arm.
- Slide the blade off the arm.
- Remove and replace one blade at a time, so you always have an installed blade to reference if you get confused during the process.
Tip: Before starting the installation process, turn the vehicle to accessory mode and run the wipers until they're mid-swipe and pointing straight up. Some models don't allow you to do this, but if they do, this can make installation easier.
Safety: When replacing wipers, you can either do it with both wiper arms fully extended the entire time or have them rest on the glass between old wiper removal and installing the new blade. Be very mindful of the bare wiper arms if you keep them propped open - if they slap back and hit the windshield, they could crack the glass or damage the wiper arms. Avoid this by putting rags on the glass and then resting the bare wiper arms on the rags.
- Look at your new wiper. On the side with the plastic clip that attaches to the windshield wiper’s arm, you’ll see one end has a slight curve and the other end is flat.
- Hold the wiper blade upside down and align the hook-shaped curve of the wiper’s arm with the curved top end of your new wiper.
- Move the hook on the wiper’s arm over the plastic clip on your new wiper, then pull the wiper upward so that the clip’s edge slides into place.
- Pull tightly so that the entire plastic assembly on the new wiper clicks into place.
- Gently place the arm down against your windshield and check to make sure the entirety of the blade touches the glass.
- Repeat this process on the other blade.