Help! How Do I Change My Windshield Wipers?
You make it to your car just as a sudden thunderstorm begins. At least I’m safe and dry in my car, you think, and then you realize you can’t see a darn thing. The windshield wipers are squeaking and squealing, smearing water across the glass instead of wiping it away. Looks like you’ll be stuck here in the parking lot until the rain stops — and looks like it’s time to change the wipers.
You could go to your mechanic, but why pay $80 per hour for labor to replace a $10 wiper blade?
“But how do I change my windshield wipers?” you ask.
We’ll tell you.
Step 1. Buy some new windshield wiper blades.
This first step, finding the right windshield wiper blade replacement, trips a lot of people up. When you search for “windshield wiper blades” on Advance Auto Parts, 626 results appear. Overwhelmed? Relax. Just enter your car’s make, model and year, and you’ll see the right size wiper blades. You can also measure the blades you have and look for a match.
Then, you have to decide if you want conventional wiper blades (the kind with a rubber blade that fits into a metal assembly) or beam blades, which have a steel spine within the rubber. Beam blades are supposed to be better for curved windshields — but not always.
So which are the best wiper blades? Consumer Reports tested more than a dozen brands, and found “in general, the more expensive beam blade wipers tended to perform as well or better than conventional blades, but the inexpensive beam blade models tended to perform worse than conventional blades.” Hmm.
Some people also like to go old-school and replace just the rubber blade, not the whole assembly. This saves you money, but it’s a little tougher to do. One last thing: Remember to buy at least two blades, plus one for the rear windshield, if needed. You can probably save money by purchasing a multipack.
Step 2. Remove your old windshield wiper blades.
First, lift your windshield wipers off the windshield (like you would before a snowstorm). On the underside of the windshield wiper arm, you’ll see a little tab or toggle where it meets the blade. Push on that tab and slide the wiper assembly down to remove it. Easy, right?
Step 3. Install the new windshield wiper blades.
At last, the moment of truth! To change the wiper blades on your car, just reverse step 2: Slide the new blade onto the arm until it clicks into place. Having trouble? Here’s a short video that shows you exactly how to replace the wiper blades.
Step 4. Take good care of your wiper blades.
How long do windshield wipers last? Not all that long, unfortunately. Depending on conditions (ice, snow and extreme heat may damage them prematurely), wiper blades are usually good for six months to a year. You can make them last longer by taking the time to clean them every now and then. Just wipe the blades with glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol to remove dirt, debris and chemicals.
More DIY Car Repairs
Now that you’ve built up confidence in your do-it-yourself car repair skills, we’ve got a few more easy car repairs you can do at home. Changing your own headlights, checking and changing the oil and inflating your tires are all project we know you can totally rock! If you’d still rather go to a mechanic, here’s some tips on picking the perfect mechanic for you.
The next time you’re staring at a smeary, smudgy windshield, you’ll know just what to do! Ready to save even more money? Spend a few minutes comparing free, personalized car insurance quotes on Compare.com.