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Changing Wiper Blades On Your Car

Date: Mon 4th December 2017   |   Author: Modeten

A Detailed and Step by Step Guide from AutoProtect

Windscreen wiper blades are made from rubber and eventually they wear out after several months of work removing rain, snow, hail and other debris from your car. In this blog we explain how to tell if you need new blades and how to change them in easy to follow steps. No more squeaking or smearing on your morning commute, just safe and clear vision whatever the weather.

When to tell if your windscreen wipers need replacing?

Windscreen wiper blades can need replacing as regularly as every six to 12 months depending on a number of factors such as weather and temperature. They can also be affected by a road’s surface or debris that’s on it, such as grit or dirt that lands on your windscreen. Luckily, there are a few telltale signs that it’s time to change your windscreen blades, including:

  • Squeaking, screeching or rubbing noises: if your windscreen wipers are making loud noises as they work, this could be a sign that they’re getting worn out. You should clean them but if they still make a noise, it’s time for a change.‚Äč
  • Streaks or smears: if your windscreen wipers are leaving wet patches or smears as they move then this is a sign that they’re not working as they should. The most common cause of this is worn out wiper blades.
  • Noticeable damage to the blades: you may notice a number of faults with your windscreen blades by examining them closely. This could be ragged edges, split rubber, parts missing or maybe they’re noticeably worn. The more damage there is the more important it is that they are changed.
  • Strange movement or detachment: over time your windscreen wipers may become so worn out that they’ll detach from your wipers. If you notice that they’re moving around while the wipers are going then you’ll have to get new blades fitted as they won’t be doing their job effectively.

Why are my windscreen wipers squeaking?

There’s nothing more annoying than driving in the rain with loud windscreen wipers that are squeaking, scraping or causing another unusual noise. The windscreen wiper blade will be making that noise because of friction between the blade and the glass. This can be caused by a number of reasons including:

  • Debris on the windscreen wiper or windscreen.
  • Damage to the windscreen wiper blade.
  • Incorrectly fitting windscreen wiper blade.
  • Static on the blade or the windscreen.

You can try fixing this issue by either cleaning the windscreen wipers and blades or ensuring that the windscreen is clear of debris. If this doesn’t solve the issue then changing wiper blades may be the best course to take.

Choosing the right windscreen wiper blades

Before changing wiper blades, you’ll have to source the correct blades to fit your car. It’s important that you choose the right blades as there are a range of different fittings. The wrong blades won’t attach to your existing fittings so make sure you buy the correct ones! You can find the right blades for your car by the following means:

  • Consulting your driver’s manual – the fittings should be listed here so that you can find them online.
  • Measuring them with a tape measure and taking the existing windscreen blades with you to the auto parts store to compare sizes and fittings. The fitting number should also be listed on the blade. It’s important to realise that not all blades will be the same size.
  • Completing a quick online search – simply type in the name of your car online followed by “windscreen wiper blades” and you should be able to find the right blade fitting for your car.
  • Ask at an auto parts store for advice on which blades are the correct ones for your car – they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Once you know the correct fitting wiper blades for your car, you’ll then be faced with the task of choosing from a variety of price ranges. Generally speaking, the more expensive the blade is, the better the materials will be. More expensive blades should be more durable and do a better job of cleaning the windscreen.

Changing wiper blades - step by step

By now you should have a good idea of whether your windscreen wipers are worn out and which blades are the right size for your vehicle. The next step is changing wiper blades themselves. You can follow this step-by-step guide to make sure that you do the job correctly.

Identify the part of your blade to change

The first thing that you need to understand is the part of your blade that needs changing. Windscreen wipers have two parts:

  • The lower arm which attaches to your car and contains the mechanism to wipe your windscreen.
  • The removable plastic or metal head, which attaches to the rubber blade that wipes your window.

When changing wiper blades, you’re focusing on the removable plastic head.

2. Pull the windscreen wiper away from the vehicle

You should pull the windscreen wipers away from your vehicle so that they are more easily accessible in order to change them. You should do this by pulling the arm of the windscreen wiper away from the windscreen as low down the arm as possible. This will ensure that you don’t bend the arm or damage it by pulling it up from a point where the arm is weaker.

3. Unhook the windscreen wiper blade

Now that your arms are up, it’s time to remove the blade. The companies that make windscreen wipers and car manufacturers have tried to make this as simple as possible, whilst still ensuring that your wipers are secure. Look at the hinge or joint where the blade meets the wiper arm. There is usually a small plastic button holding the wiper in place. Simply press the button and pull the blade to unhook it from the arm. There are a few notes to consider when doing this:

  • If the wiper blade is stiff to remove, shimmy it and try gently rotate it to loosen it. If this still doesn’t work try some washing up liquid or lubricant on the joint to loosen it a little more.
  • Some wiper blades are designed with pins that you need to squeeze rather than buttons, so make sure that you’re pressing the right thing!
  • Hold the wiper arm that is attached to your car when pulling the blade away. This will ensure you don’t strain or damage the arm by forcing the blade off.
  • Be mindful that a wiper without an arm is quite rigid and hard, so be careful of it snapping back and hitting the windscreen. This could damage the windscreen or the arm.

4. Insert the new wiper and ensure it is secure

Slide the new wiper on the arm just as you removed it and ensure that the button, knob or pins are engaged. Give it a quick check to make sure it is secure and doesn’t come loose. Once you know it’s on correctly then you should rotate the hinge so it is parallel with the wiper arm running in a straight line and gently lower the arm so that it is back in place. If you are unsure of how the wiper attaches there may be instructions that come on the packaging of the blade.

5. Continue by fitting wiper blades to all arms

Continue by fitting wiper blades to each arm in the same manner, ensuring that they are all secure and returned to their original position on the windscreen once they have been replaced. Follow the same steps as above for each of them.

6. Test the wipers

Test the wipers by putting the keys in the car and starting the wipers both front and back and pouring a little water on the windshield. You should then observe that the mechanism is working fluidly from both inside the car and outside the car.

If you’re hearing any irregular noises or the windscreen wipers seem to be dragging or not wiping effectively then you may have installed them incorrectly. If you still hear or see an issue once you know you’ve definitely installed them correctly you should consult a mechanic as this could be an issue with the arm itself.