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How To Change Windshield Wipers

How to change windshield wipers

If you know how to replace your own vehicle’s windshield wipers, you’re 100% free to buy the type of wiper blades you like best, at the best price on the market. You won’t have to choose between a very limited choice (if any) of overpriced wipers where they replace them for you. You won’t have to pay double or triple the price at your dealership either. You’ll also be able to pick the most convenient moment to replace them, without having to take a long detour through busy traffic to the local car parts shop or garage, burn costly fuel and wait in line (if Murphy has it his way). 

In this “How To”, we’ll take you through the process of replacing your windshield wiper blades step-by-step. It only takes a few minutes, anyone can do it!

If you prefer watching a video, we’ve also got you covered! Check out our video on our Youtube channel.

Here’s how to replace your windshield wipers in no time in 8 easy steps:

Step 1: Buy the Right Windshield Wipers  

Before you can replace your old ones, you need to buy new windshield wipers that fit your car. Check your car’s owner’s manual to find the right size and type of wiper blades for your vehicle. You can easily find the right windshield wipers for your specific car if you use a selector tool.

Step 2: Lift the Windshield Wiper Arms

A person lifting the windshield wiper arms

Put your vehicle’s windscreen wiper arms upright, away from your windscreen. Most windshield wiper arms can be pulled away from the windscreen and locked fully upright, which makes it easy to remove the wiper blades. Others only move halfway or so and have to be held in place during the replacement process to prevent them whipping back onto the windscreen glass. Either way, you want to avoid the spring-loaded wiper arms accidentally hitting your windshield, because a spring-loaded metal wiper arm might chip, crack or even break the windshield glass.

Step 3: Remove the Old Wiper Blades

If your old wiper blades have a locking mechanism (you can check the instructions on the new wiper blades), press and hold it and then slide the blade off the wiper arm. You want to look for a tiny clip or button that locks the wiper blade in place. If you’re not confident in your technical skills, you can start with one wiper arm and leave the other one for now. That way you have an example of how the wiper blade fits over the wiper arm.

A person removing the old wiper blades

In the picture, it’s a wiper arm type called a “J-Hook”, because of its shape. It’s one of the most common types, but there are many other types though. Generally, a wiper blade has a retaining clip that has to be pushed inwards to be able to remove the wiper blade from the wiper arm. With the clip held down, the wiper blade slides easily off the wiper arm.

A person removing the old wiper blades

CAUTION: You want to be very careful that the metal wiper arm doesn’t snap back onto the glass windshield. Remember, it’s spring loaded, and it will damage or even break your windscreen if you’re not careful.

Step 4: Insert the right adapters

Take your new wiper blades out of their packaging and make sure they’re the same size and type as the old ones. Most come with a protective plastic blade cover, you want to leave that in place for now so the rubber blade is protected during installation. 

Unpacking the right adaptors

New wiper blades normally come with three or more adapters to make the wiper blades fit most, if not all, similar-style wiper arms. Follow the instructions on the packaging and prepare the new wiper blades for installation by fitting the right adapter piece. If you’re not sure, you can compare the new with the old adapter type, of course. 

Making the wiper blade fit

Making the wiper blade fit

However, although an adapter may look like it will fit at first, it may not quite fit. Some adapters look very much alike but are slightly different. The only way to know for sure is to try it, and try another one if it doesn’t fit, and so on. The right type of adapter piece should slide and lock in place without using brute force. 

Showing an old and broken adaptor

Whatever you do, don’t reuse the old adapters because they will be worn and brittle and may break or come loose.

Step 5: Install the New Wiper Blade

To install the new wiper blade, line it up with the wiper arm. Make sure it’s facing the right way. Slide the wiper blade onto the wiper arm until it clicks in place or until the locking mechanism fully engages. When secured in place, the wiper blade should not slide off the wiper arm without holding down the tiny release lever.

Sliding the new wiper blade on

Step 6: Lower the Windshield Wipers

Very gently lower the wiper arms with the new wiper blades back onto the windshield. Remember, you’re dealing with a delicate glass windscreen that can easily be scratched or damaged. Don’t forget to remove the protective cover from the wiper rubbers before putting them back in place. 

Lowering the windshield wiper

Step 7: Install the Rear Windshield Wiper

Repeat steps 1 to 7 to install a new rear windshield wiper blade if your car has one. If it doesn’t, you can move on to step 9. 

Often, a rear windshield wiper arm does not stay in a fixed upright position while changing the wiper blade. This can be extra challenging, because this means you’ll have to proceed with extra caution to prevent accidentally letting the spring-loaded wiper arm whip back onto the rear window glass, which could cause it to scratch or break. 

Putting the rear windshield wiper arm in a fixed upright position

Step 8: Test the New Windshield Wipers

With the new windshield wiper blades installed and ready for action, it’s now time to test them. Spray some windshield washer fluid and turn on your wipers. The blades should stay firmly locked in place while wiping the glass and clean the glass without leaving streaks. 

Never test windshield wipers on a dry windshield because this is bad for your wiper blades and the excessive friction of the rubber blades on the dry glass puts more strain on your wiper mechanism and wiper motor than they were designed for.

The car with the changed windshield wipers in the rain

Be safe!

Happy cruisin’! 

Don’t know which windshield wipers to buy? You might want to take a look at our “Best Windshield Wipers

To find the right windshield wipers for your car, you can also go to the windshield wiper selector page and click on the yellow button that says “Enter a new vehicle” at the top of the page to get all the different windshield wiper blades that fit your vehicle.


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