If you’ve ever taken your car in to get an oil change and wound up with a new set of wiper blades, you are throwing your money away! Save yourself the labor cost and the parts mark-up with just a couple minutes of your time. Changing the blades yourself is easy enough for even the most clueless driver.
You’ll want to inspect brake master cylinder casting your windshield wipers every six months or so (~6,000 miles). Pay attention if you start seeing streaking on your windshield, as this may be a sign that your blades are contaminated. Check for cracked, torn, or ragged rubber as this means it’s time for a change. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for park set rubber, which is a hardening of the rubber blade caused by lots of sunlight or temperature change, and leads to hardening and loss of flexibility.
Windshield wipers are actually made of three parts. There’s the metal arm that goes from the car to the blade, the metal arm that holds the rubber, and the rubber blade itself. You only have to worry about the rubber blade that gets worn down from running against your windshield. This is the part you’ll change.
Before you head over to the auto parts store, measure both of your wiper blades. Don’t assume they’re the same size because one is often a couple inches shorter than the other. Write it down in order to make sure you put the right blade in the right place. Often, employees at your local auto parts store can help you pick out the ones best for you.
Once you have the blades, lift the metal arm that goes from the base of the windshield to the arm. Once you pop it up, it should stay up on its own. Make sure you have it up all the way; you don’t want it to spring back onto your windshield and crack it. You can lay down a towel or rag to prevent this from happening.
To get the old rubber blade off, look where the metal arm meets the wiper. There should be a plastic stopper. Depress the stopper to unhook the old blade and slide the two pieces apart. Some cars have a metal pin instead of a hook to hold the blade in place. Remove the pin if that’s what you have.
Once you have the old blade off, simply slide the new one right where you took off the old one. Wiggle it into place gently, until you can hear the hook click into place. Place the wiper carefully back against your car’s windshield and repeat these steps for the second blade.