How to replace a windscreen wiper blade
Replacing a car’s windscreen wiper blade is one of the easiest automotive DIY jobs you can do. Here’s how to do it.
IT’S GOOD TO get into the habit of checking the condition of your windscreen wiper blades as a part of your regular vehicle check – we’ve all been caught out when it rains after a string of dry days and looking through the windscreen can be like looking through mottled glass.
When checking wiper blades look for deterioration, holes or chips along the blade, brittle rubber and general build-up of grime. Other symptoms that it’s time to replace the blades are excessive squeakiness and streaky water when in use.
If one or both blades are damaged it’s time to head to the local car parts store and buy a new set. Blades nearly always come as a set of two, so it’s best to replace both while you’re doing it. You’ll also need a couple general household tools.
Tools and equipment:
- Pliers; and
1. Choose the right blades
With the correct year, make and model of your car you will usually be able to find blades that fit straight in and won’t require any cutting. At most car part stores there will be a directory to find the correct part number or, ask an assistant. For this demonstration we’re using longer blades than standard, which means we’ll need to cut the blades shorter using our tools.
2. Removal of old blades
Armed with some new blades it’s time to remove the old ones, and we’ll replace one at a time. Pop up the wiper and clean the windscreen of any debris and dirt, then flip the wiper around so that the blade is facing upwards and is easier to work on.
At one end of the wiper is a tab that holds the blade into the metal arm. Using pliers, gentle pull at the tab so the wiper blade slides out of the arm. Do not twists or try to open the metal tabs to remove the blade, doing so will damage or break them.
3. Inserting new blade
The new blade should look almost identical to the blade you’re replacing and will slide into the metal arm where the old blade came out. There are two metal blades that hold the rubber in place and they can pop out, just put them back in and make sure they fit snug into the blade.
With the wiper facing the correct direction (same as the old blade, upwards), slide the blade through the metal tabs. When the tab on the wiper blade reaches the end, it will pop into place. Ensure it clicks in and feels secure.
At this stage, if you bought blades that are the correct fit for your car, you’ll probably be finished with blade number one and can move onto replacing the other wiper. If the blade is too long, follow step four.
4. Cutting the blade
The wiper blade is made up of two metal guides and one rubber blade – the trick to making a clean cut is to not cut them all at once.
First, separate the metal and rubber parts at the end. The two metal strips will need to be cut a minimum of 25mm after the last metal tab. The best method is to either break a clean snap if the metal is already scored, or cut it cleanly with sharp pliers.
Once the metal strips have been cut, next cut the rubber blade with scissors at a minimum of 10mm past the metal ends.
Place the metal strips back into the rubber.
If possible buy blades that match the year, make and model of the car.
Regularly check and clean your blades: neglected blades will deteriorate faster and need to be replaced more often.
You don’t have to buy the best (most expensive) blades, but different materials used in the wiper blades can provide better results than others.
Never rush and never try to force any parts – replacing wiper blades is an easy DIY.