It is recommended that wiper blades be replaced twice a year – once in spring and again in fall. Spring is ideal because throughout winter, they’re used primarily as snow and ice scrapers, if you live in a cold climate. The rubber breaks up and becomes less useful as it slides across the glass. If you live in a super snowy place, you may even consider replacing them halfway through winter depending on how frequently you’re driving in extreme conditions. The fall is a great time to replace them because they can dry up during summer when it’s hottest, which causes cracking. Obviously weather conditions vary across the country – but if you notice they’re starting to streak when you turn on the washer fluid, don’t wait for it to get worse. An easy way to tell if they’re needing replacement is when they start folding or fraying, or if you hear a scraping noise as you use them. If you have a rear wiper blade, you only need to replace it once a year.
*Most auto shops inspect and examine wiper blades when you get your car checked up as part of routine maintenance.*
Blades are one of the cheapest parts to replace on the car, luckily for us. They range anywhere from $8-16 per blade, depending if you get them swapped out for you at the shop or if you choose to do it yourself. It honestly only takes a few minutes, so there’s no point in paying extra when you can do it on your own! What you need to understand here, is that even the more expensive or “higher quality” blades still have to be replaced as much as the lesser expensive ones. Most people just assume you have to get the best of the best and leave it longer, but there’s hardly a difference between the cheapest and the priciest blades. They’ll all wear out. And, obviously, swap them at the same time for easy remembering and even distribution – even if only the left side has been streaking.
Don’t assume that all blades are the same size, or even that your left and right blades are the same size. One side is oftentimes an inch or more shorter than the other one. Use a ruler or measuring tape to check what size blades you have, then write down the exact measurements. Head either to the auto part store or order them online in the exact size you need.
Most blades that you buy will come with instructions built straight into the back of the packaging, but we’ll give you some easy to follow tips!
Pull and raise the metal wiper arm away from the windshield until it remains upright. Bear in mind the positioning because these bad boys are spring loaded and can slam down quickly! (Sounds scarier than it is, but I definitely caught my finger between one once.)
If you feel more comfortable, put a towel across your windscreen in case it snaps against it. Unhook the wiper blade you’re getting rid of. You’ll see a small plastic stopper that keeps the blade stuck to the handle. Keeping one hand on the wiper arm, press down on the stopper and unhook or unpin the old blade to take it apart from the arm.
Slide and insert the new wiper blade into the same end where you pulled the old one off. Carefully pivot the new wiper blade until the hook snaps it into place and it’s secure. Gently lay the wiper back onto the windshield.
Repeat with the second wiper, make sure you used the right size for each one!
Voila! Easy, right?
Maintaining Your Windshield Wipers:
In super cold climates, put the wipers up when the car is parked outside to prevent them from sticking to the windshield. Otherwise you can leave the defroster on for several minutes and manually scrape off the ice before using them.