(Updated on April 1, 2021)
Windshield wipers need to be regularly inspected and maintained just like any other part of your vehicle. If you don’t have properly functioning wipers, then it is going to be difficult for them to remove the rain and moisture from your windshield.
Even though old wiper blades are one of the main causes of squeaky wipers, too many drivers simply put up with the noise and poor performance which results in water simply smearing across the windshield.
This could make driving dangerous under these conditions because you will not be able to see clearly while driving. And if you live someplace where it snows often, bad wipers will put you in even more danger.
Related: Best Windshield Wipers for Winter
When To Replace Your Wiper Blades
So, what does it mean to have bad windshield wipers? Well, the wipers on your vehicle may move back and forth across your windshield, but that doesn’t mean they are functioning properly. You need to concern yourself with the thin wiper blade strips the most because they are what actually glide across the windshield and push water off it.
Most wiper blades are made from rubber, but others may contain synthetic compounds as well. Gradually, the blade material will start to dry out, become brittle, or even start to tear or detach from the wiper assembly.
If the wiper blade is too worn, it will do a poor job of removing rain or snow from the windshield and will likely be squeaky in the process. This is when it’s time to get a new set of windshield wiper blades for your car.
How To Replace Your Wiper Blades
You do not need to be an expert mechanic to change your wiper blades. If you are handy enough to change a tire or replenish your wiper fluid, then you can figure out how to replace your car wiper blades.
Below are the four general steps for replacement. See the video down below if you’d like to see the remove/install process in action.
1) Purchase New Wipers
Make sure the length of the new blades matches the length of your old blades. You can figure out the length by measuring the length yourself or referring to the owner’s manual. This will tell you the correct size of the blade for your car.
But to make it easy, and local brick and mortar store that sell wiper blades will have a book available which will tell you the exact size of wiper blade you’ll need for your specific vehicle by looking up its make, model, and year. You’ll find sizes for the driver side, passenger side, and rear wiper (if your vehicle has one).
Most online stores (whether a general retailer like Amazon.com or auto parts store like Advance Auto Parts) will have an internal database which will tell you the same thing after filling in a few form fields.
2) Remove Old Wiper Blade
To do this, some wipers will have a little tab on its underside that you need to depress. This is the spot in between the wiper and the wiper arm. Once you do this, pull down to slide the blade out until it is removed from the arm.
Other styles will require you to turn the blade so it’s perpendicular to the wiper arm and then simply pull down to release wiper from the arm.
3) Install New Wiper Blade
Take your new wiper blade (make sure you have the correct one as driver side and passenger side blades are often different sizes) and slide it onto the same arm using the same method that you used to remove the old wiper blade. You’ll want the blade to be on the arm tightly.
Pull until a clicking sound is heard which signifies that the wiper blade is locked into place. Then slowly lower the arm so that it is touching the windshield firmly again.
4) Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the Other Side
When you are finished with installing both wiper blades for the front windshield, test them out by spraying some windshield washer fluid and turning on your wipers. If they are working correctly, the wipers should completely sweep any fluid off the windshield and do so quietly.
Pay attention to make sure the ends of the wipers only make contact with glass. If you accidentally installed the wrong size wiper blades, the ends may make contact with the outer edge of the windshield or even go past the edge.