How to Replace Windshield Wiper Blades, Step By Step

Don't put up with streaky wiper blades. With the help of these easy instructions, you'll be able to install replacement wiper blades in about 10 minutes.

It’s easy to tell when your car wiper blades need replacing, and even easier to change them yourself. Simply press the washer button and see if your blades wipe clean. If they streak, they’re toast. The auto parts store will have lots of economy blades, but go with a name brand instead (ANCO, Trico or Bosch, for instance). They cost more than economy blades, but their higher-quality rubber wipes better, has better UV protection and lasts longer. (Here are more reasons you should never use cheap auto parts.)

What you’ll need to replace windshield wiper blades:

• Small screwdriver or needle-nose pliers
• Replacement blades

Changing wiper blades, step by step:

Step 1: Buy the proper size refills

First, measure your windshield wiper blade refills to get the exact replacement length. Go to an auto parts store with your tape measure to find the exact length refills. Tip: Don’t assume the refill inserts are the same length on the driver’s side and the passenger’s side. One is often an inch or more longer than the other.

Step 2: Slide out the old blade

Pull the wiper arm back from the glass, then double up a bath towel over your windshield just in case the wiper arm gets away from you and snaps back against the glass. Once the arm is pulled back, pivot the blade so the bottom of the blade flips up toward the top. Locate the small shiny retaining clips near the end of the refill. Pinch them together with a needle-nose pliers and start sliding out the refill. Once the clips slide under the blade clamp, set the pliers down and pull out the old refill with one hand while supporting the blade with the other. (Psst—here are 20 tools no home mechanic should be without.)

Step 3: Slide in the refill

Carefully slide the new refill into the same end you pulled the old one from. Make sure the new refill is held between each clamp (to avoid scratching your windshield) and that the retaining clip clicks into position in the last clamp. Gently pivot the arm back into position, release the arm and repeat the process for the other side. That’s it, you’ve learned how to replace windshield wiper blades! Tip: You can get more life out of your wipers and keep them working effectively if you clean your windshield every time you fill up with gas. Also wipe the entire rubber insert with a moist rag to remove grit.

Now that you know the steps involved in changing wiper blades, find out how to check windshield wiper fluid like a pro.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman