Good visibility is essential for safe driving, and visibility can be compromised when you're driving through rain or snow. That's where windshield wipers come in. Wipers keep your windshield clear of precipitation, and they make it possible for you to see the road ahead when there's rain or snow on your windshield.
These valuable tools won't get the job done if they're worn or damaged. For this reason, it's essential to know how to change windshield wipers and when to replace them.
Windshield Wiper Basics
If you want to keep your car's windshield wipers in top shape, it's helpful to know a thing or two about how they work.
A vehicle typically has two windshield wipers to keep the front windshield clear. Some vehicles also have a single rear wiper for the rear windshield.
Each wiper consists of two main components: the wiper arm and the wiper blade.
- Wiper arm: Most wiper arms are made of metal. The arm extends out across the glass and moves the wiper from one location to another.
- Wiper blade: The wiper blade is attached to the arm. The blade is the part of the wiper that makes contact with the glass on your car's windshield.
Typically, the wipers on your car's front windshield are of different lengths. What side does the longer windshield wiper go on? In many cases, the wiper arm on the driver's side is longer. However, this can sometimes vary. It's a good idea to measure each arm before making replacements.
Some cars come with rain-sensing windshield wipers. These are also called automatic wipers.
So, how do automatic windshield wipers work? Typically, cars with these wipers have a sensor that detects if there's rain on your car's windshield. If precipitation is detected, the wipers are automatically activated.
How Do You Know When to Replace Windshield Wipers?
How often do you change windshield wipers? It's a good idea to replace your windshield wiper blades every six months to a year.
By replacing the blades regularly, you'll be less likely to find yourself driving through rain or snow with blades that aren't working at their best. Remember, blades that are worn or defective are a safety hazard.
The wiper arms are typically built to last as long as the car does. However, they may become damaged for one reason on another; if that happens, they'll need to be replaced.
If your wipers are used heavily, the blades may need to be replaced at more frequent intervals. Here are some signs that indicate it may be time to replace your wiper blades:
- The wiper blades aren't making complete contact with the windshield's surface
- The wipers squeak or chatter when traveling across the windshield
- The wipers leave streaks on the windshield's glass
- The wiper blades make slapping noises when in motion
How to Change Windshield Wipers
Wondering how to remove windshield wipers and replace them? Here are steps to follow when replacing wiper blades:
- Step 1: Obtain suitable replacement blades. Wiper blades come in different sizes. Measure both your car's wiper blades, then purchase replacements that match the size of your car's current blades.
- Step 2: Remove the old wiper blades. Do this by using needle-nose pliers to pinch the retaining clips that hold the blade in place. Next, slide each blade from the arm. It's a good idea to place a bath towel on your car's windshield when removing the blade. This will protect the glass from damage that could occur if the arm escapes your grip and snaps back against the windshield as you're removing the blade.
- Step 3: Insert the replacement blades. Slide each wiper blade replacement into the wiper arm. Insert the new blades via the same end from which you removed the old ones. Make sure the new blades are securely held between each clamp on the wiper arm. Next, pivot the arm back into position on the car's windshield and gently release it.
How to Replace the Rear Windshield Wiper Blade
Here are windshield wiper instructions for replacing the blade on your car's rear wiper:
- Step 1: Purchase the right replacement. Use your car's year, make and model to find the right replacement blade at an auto repair store.
- Step 2: Extricate the old blade from the wiper arm. Lift the arm away from the rear window and lock it in place. Then turn the blade at a right angle to the blade arm. Pinch the tabs that hold the blade in place and slide it from the arm. Again, it's wise to protect the glass with a bath towel.
- Step 3: Insert the new blade into the wiper arm. Make sure it locks properly in place.
Your car's wiper blades are heroes, working hard to help you see the road ahead in rain or snow. They don't last forever, so be sure to change them as needed to facilitate safe travels.