How to Change Windshield Wipers in a Few Easy Steps
One of the most ignored and underrated safety features of a car are the windshield wipers. Most of the vehicle drivers and owners seem to overlook the need for windshield wiper replacement. Windshield wiper blades are made up of rubber and it has a specific life. Even if you do not use the wipers very often, the rubber has a limited life and it generally wears out in six months or so. Let’s see how to remove windshield wipers and replace them with new ones. But before that, let’s explore windshield wipers a bit.
Windshield Wipers – Everything You Need to Know
The windshield wipers are made up of two distinct parts. One is the control arm that moves the wiper by the power delivered from an electric motor and the other is the wiper blade that cleans the windshield. The wiper blade has a rubber that rests on the windshield and when the wipers are moved by the control arm, the windshield is wiped off. As you use the wipers, the rubber wears off mainly due to the friction caused by the dirt on the windshield. Over time, the wiper blades’ rubber develops imperfections that make it impossible for them to fully clean the windshield, making changing wiper blades necessary.
Types of Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers might look the same on all cars, but they are not. Before we get into windshield wiper replacement, let’s get acquainted with the different types of windshield wipers. They can widely be divided into three main categories, according to the shape of the blades, as follows.
Conventional Windshield Wipers
As the name suggests, this is the oldest type of windshield wiper currently in existence. These wipers have an all-metal or a metal-plastic composite construction, a central bridge, and an articulated wiper blade. The force from the wiper arm is distributed to the blade via four to eight pressure points depending on the length of the wiper. Due to the force being distributed at a number of points, these wipers provide maximum cleaning efficiency. However, these tend to have a larger aerodynamic drag coefficient and are not used on modern high-speed cars.
Flat Windshield Wipers
These windshield wipers are developed for modern cars. These have a flat shape that makes it possible for them to be aerodynamically efficient. Tensioned metallic flexors are used in these wipers to make sure that an even force is applied to the wiper and it is evenly distributed on the whole cleaning area.
Hybrid Windshield Wipers
These wipers have both, and even force distribution across the length of the wiper and a flat design that makes these aerodynamically efficient and noise-free at high speeds.
It must be noted here that when you go for windshield wiper blade replacement, you get the one that is compatible with your car. If you already have a conventional blade, you can go up and get a flat or hybrid blade but if you have a hybrid blade, that cannot be replaced with a flat or a conventional one.
Hazards of Using Worn Out Windshield Wipers
Installing windshield wipers when they are worn out is very important because if the wiper blades are not in a good shape that can cause the following problems for you:
- The wipers cannot fully clean the windshield which can obstruct your field of view
- Worn out wipers can result in the metallic part of the wiper assembly rubbing against the windshield, scratching it.
- Aged windshield wipers may “paint” the glass with a layer of mud or ice, completely blinding the driver.
- In case of unexpected rain, the driver of a car with worn-out wipers is fully incapacitated and unable to safely move the car in traffic.
So, now that you know all there is to know about windshield wipers, you might be wondering how to change my windshield wipers. Let’s get right into that.
How to Remove And Replace Windshield Wipers
Removing and putting on windshield wipers is a very simple process that you can do at home. You need to know the following in order to do it:
- How to tell that you need new wiper blades.
- Know what kind of windshield wipers you need.
- How to take off wiper blades.
- Installing windshield wipers.
Prerequisites for Windshield Wiper Replacement
Before you start the actual windshield wiper replacement process, you need to take care of a few things to make sure the replacement goes right.
Make sure your car needs new wipers
Consult the owner’s manual to see when you need to replace the windshield wipers. If you do not have it or you think the wipers are not working right, the signs for worn-out wipers are detailed in the FAQ section.
Measure the wipers
Every car has wipers that measure differently. Measure the wipers of your car and get replacement wipers that are the exact same size.
How to Take Off Windshield Wipers
The first thing you need to know is how to remove windshield wipers. Here’s how you can do that:
- Lift the wiper off the windshield and into an upright position.
- Press the little tab on the bottom of the joint between the wiper arm and the wiper blade.
- Slide the wiper downwards and the blade should come right off.
That’s how to detach windshield wipers, now let’s see how to put wipers on a car.
How to Put Wipers on a Car
The procedure for installing wiper blades on a car is equally simple as taking them off. Here’s how that can be accomplished:
- Position the wiper blade under the same hook where it was removed from.
- Press the new wiper blade into the hook until you hear a clicking sound which means that the wiper has been secured in place.
- Lower the blades gently on to the windshield.
- Run the wipers to make sure that they are operating correctly and are not crossing paths with one another.
Cautions for Windshield Wiper Blade Replacement
Changing windshield wiper blades on a car might seem to be a very simple and straightforward process, and it actually is, yet you need to take care of a few things when doing it.
- Make sure that you are getting the type of wipers recommended by the manufacturer of your car.
- Inspect the wiper blades for any exposed bits of plastic or metal that might scratch against the windshield during operation.
- Measure your wipers accurately and get the new ones that measure exactly the same so that they won’t get stuck with one another during operation.
- When lowering the wipers back on to the windshield, make sure you don’t let them fall freely, it can crack the windshield.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often to change windshield wipers?
Unlike transmission fluid and engine oil, there is no hard and fast rule about how often you are supposed to change your windshield wipers. This mainly depends on your usage. However, as no device in the vehicle can tell how much you have actually used the wipers, the best practice is to look for the recommended frequency in the owner’s manual of your vehicle.
How do you know when to change your windshield wipers?
There are a number of signs that can indicate that you need windshield wiper replacement. Some of them are the following:
- The wipers create a squeaking sound when used.
- The wipers do not fully clean the windshield.
- The wipers leave water or mud marks on the windshield.
- The wipers move slowly due to friction with the windshield.
Which windshield wiper is the best for me?
This depends on the car you have. As a rule of thumb, you can upgrade to newer and advanced types of windshield wipers from older ones, but you cannot downgrade to a conventional or flat wiper blade from a hybrid wiper blade.
Do I have to change the windshield wipers even if I do not use them?
Yes, changing wiper blades is necessary even if you do not use them very often. This is because the rubber used to make the wiper blades reacts with the atmospheric oxygen and other agents and decomposes. Wiper blades have a lifespan and after that, they do not remain effective and must be changed.
Can windshield wiper replacement be undertaken as a DIY task?
Yes, as we have explained the process above, changing windshield wipers is a simple task and does not need any special tools. You can very easily replace the wiper blades on your own.
How much does a new Windshield Wiper Blades Cost?
Windshield wipers are probably the cheapest replacement parts for most cars. For everyday production cars, the windshield wipers can cost you between $12 to $16 a pair plus labor and if you are undertaking it as a DIY project, you just need to pay the cost of the wipers.