Windshield Wiper Assembly Tips

Windshield wiper assembly used to be much easier. All you had to do was remove the old, worn rubber inserts. With some newer cars, you may find yourself replacing the entire blade. But with a little practice, anyone can accomplish this task.

When to Change Wipers
Wipers usually don't need to be changed more than two or three times a year. You may be able to go a year or even two if you live in an area that doesn't get much rain.

As the wiper blades rub against your windshield, little bits of rubber get worn off. Over time, you'll see a series of streaks on your windshield instead of a clear view of the road ahead. As soon as the first streaks appear, it's time to change blades.

Use a wiper blade size chart at the store to make sure you get the right size and style for your vehicle. Read the instructions carefully before you begin changing blades. To make sure you don't crack the windshield or scratch it by allowing the wiper to snap against it as you work, place a blanket or towel on the windshield beneath the wiper before you begin.

Windshield Wiper Assembly Tips

  • Wiper blades run anywhere from about $4 to $20 or higher. Unless it's the rainy season, you probably won't get more life out of a particular brand of blades. Avoid anything that's too cheap, but don't expect much from high-end blades.
  • Remove the old windshield wipers slowly, keeping track of each step so that you remember how to do the process in reverse to install the new blades.
  • As you remove each piece, place it onto a towel in front of you and examine it carefully so that you understand how it was removed and how the pieces fit together.
  • If wiper blades are not attached correctly, they could become loose and fly off.
  • All wiper blades attach to the car a little differently. Take the time to remove the old blades properly, and use this as a learning aid.
  • Lift the first wiper. The wiper arm will give slightly, allowing you to hold the blade off the window. While the arm is raised, find the pivot point at the end of the blade. Once you have found it, slowly rotate the wiper blade at a 180-degree angle and carefully release the blade from the arm.
  • Do not snap the arm back against the windshield. Gently lay it back against the towel over the windshield as you get the new blade ready.
  • Locate the pivot point on the new blade, and rotate it into position on the arm. When the blade is in the proper position, it should snap into place.
  • Rotate the rubber so that it will sit against the windshield.
  • Slowly lower the blade down to the windshield. With both blades installed, you can remove the towel.
  • Once you have both windshield wipers in place, squirt the windshield wiper fluid button so that the wipers will turn on. Are they working correctly? Do they feel solid?
  • Dump water onto the windshield and then turn the wipers on again. Do they do the job? If the wipers leave gaps or streaks, you may need to adjust them.

Changing Windshield Wiper Fluid

  • Windshield wiper fluid is very important to your driving safety. If there is no wiper fluid and you run into a snowstorm or end up in a thunderstorm, you'll be risking your life, and the lives of others, if you try to drive with poor visibility. Check your windshield wiper fluid level often, and refill immediately when needed.
  • The wiper fluid is usually blue or light green, and you'll find the tank mounted in the front of most cars. You can usually glance at it when the hood is up to see if you have enough fluid.
  • Check the levels on the side of the windshield wiper container to make sure the fluid is at the required level. If more liquid is needed, add the correct type of liquid.
  • Never add water to the wiper fluid reservoir. It will freeze in winter and crack the hose leading from the reservoir to the spray jets.
  • Never use dishwashing liquid in place of wiper fluid. These soaps contain foaming agents that will allow air to build up in the hose, preventing it from working.
  • Keep a bottle of windshield wiper fluid in the trunk of your car in case of emergencies.
  • Wipe dirt, snow or bird droppings off the windshield with a cloth rather than expecting the wipers to do the job. Forcing wipers to work on hard jobs will create unequal wear and tear on the blades. Over time, the area could become brittle and crack off from overuse. 
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