How to Replace Wiper Blades

It's not difficult to replace wiper blades on cars, but remember—incorrect installation of the replacement wiper blades can scratch or even crack the windshield. Please use caution!

With newer vehicles, it is often economical to use wiper refills available from the dealer or auto parts store. The refills, if available, only replace the worn rubber part of the wiper. They typically slide out of the blade once a locking clip is released. If you still have the original wiper blades on the vehicle, it is worthwhile to call around about pricing.

It is common to see cars that no longer have their original wipers, so refills are not always an option. Below is a typical procedure for installing new wiper blades on a vehicle. Often your owner’s manual will have good instructions with diagrams illustrating the replacement procedure.

Step 1:

With the ignition keys removed from the ignition switch, lift the wiper arm away from the windshield. It should pivot away from the windshield and come to a position where it will "lock" in a way that will allow you to replace the wiper blade. If your windshield wipers are concealed by the hood, do not force them to move.

Step 2:

Detach the old wiper blade from the wiper arm. There is usually some form of a detent that has to be pressed to allow the blade to be released from the wiper arm.

Step 3:

Detach the old wiper blade from the wiper arm.

Step 4:

Attach the new wiper blade to the wiper arm and ensure the new wiper blades are securely attached to the wiper arms. Also, verify the new wiper blade is the same length as the old one.

Step 5:

Gently place the wiper arms back on the windshield. Clean the windshield with glass cleaner and operate the windshield wipers with the windshield wet to ensure wiper blade travel on the windshield is correct. 

Need a bit more help? Check out our Facebook Live video with RepairPal Jill on replacing windshield wiper blades:

3 User Comments

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By , April 28, 2010
What about quality, how can I tell which will last the longest?
By , April 29, 2010
Even the best wiper blades generally need replacement after one year. Depending on where you live can extend or shorten that amount of time. I prefer the wiper blades from the car manufacturer because I know they will fit properly.
By , August 11, 2010
Wiper blades must be in good condition in order to effectively whisk moisture from the windshield. Your blades shouldn’t make any streaks or smears on the windshield. Choosing wiper blades is quite hard. You have to consider not only the cost but as well as its quality. When getting new wiper blades, remember that Consumer Reports explains price doesn’t have an effect on how good a wiper blade is. I read this here: <a title="Wiper blades need not whisk away excess dollars" href="">Wiper blades need not whisk away excess dollars</a>

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