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How to Change Windshield Wiper Blades

Two men in the front seat of a car look out through the windshield.

To drive safely in rain and snow, it’s critical that you’re able to see the road ahead, so if you own a car, sooner or later you’ll need to know how to change windshield wiper blades.

Your car’s wipers work to keep your windshield clear when there’s precipitation outside, but the blades eventually get old and worn. When this happens, they become less effective. If your wipers leave streaks on your windshield or appear old, cracked or worn, read on to learn how to select and install replacement wiper blades.

Size Up Your Bladeswindshield wipers and water drops

The first step is selecting the right-sized wiper blade. Wiper blades come in different sizes, so it’s important to pick a blade that’s sized to fit your car’s wipers.

If you choose blades that are too long, the wipers might make contact with each other when they’re in use, which could damage the blades and cause premature wear. This could also place strain on the wiper motor.

Blades that are too short for your car can create another set of problems, as they won’t clear the entire windshield as you navigate through snow or rain, which can hinder visibility.

Note that it’s common for one blade to be longer than the other, so don’t be surprised when you need two different sizes.

Selecting the Right Blades

So how do you select blades that are appropriately sized? You need to figure out what blade size your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. You have a few options for doing this:

  • Check your owner’s manual. This will list the size of the wiper blades designed to fit your vehicle.
  • Visit your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store. These stores typically have a tool that tells you what size wiper blades are best for each vehicle make and model. You can use this tool to determine what size blades are the best fit for your car.
  • Do some online research. A quick search should provide you with the appropriate wiper sizes for your vehicle.
  • Measure the blades currently installed in your vehicle. To do this, place a tape measure against the entire length of the wiper blade, along the rubber edge, and round the measurement off to the nearest inch. This will tell you the lengths of your car’s wiper blades.

How to Install New Wiper Blades

Follow the steps below to install new wiper blades. Start with the driver-side blade, and then repeat the process with the blade on the passenger side.

Step 1: Raise the Wiper Arm From the Glass

The wiper arm of your car will be hinged, which should allow you to lift it for easy access to the blade. This is also a great time to clean any lines of caked-on dirt or debris.

Step 2: Remove the Blade

If the blade attaches to a J-hook-style wiper arm, slide the blade down toward the windshield until it pops free of the hook. If the blade is attached with clips, apply pressure to each side of the clip or press the tab at the top to free the old blade.

Step 3: Install the New Blade

If the wiper has a J hook, slide the new blade into place on the hook. As you pull it away from the windshield and into the bend of the hook, you’ll hear a click as it slides into place. If the wiper has clips, slide the new blade into position until you hear a click confirming that it’s securely in place.

Step 4: Lower the Blade

Position the blade so it rests against the windshield. Now you’re all set. By following this guidance, you’ll be able to change your wiper blades easily and confidently.

Check out all the wiper products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to change windshield wiper blades, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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