How to Replace Your Windshield Wipers

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546aaceab17b0 morgan aero supersports 033 lg

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motor vehicle, automotive exterior, automotive design, hood, glass, classic car, windshield, automotive window part, luxury vehicle, kit car,

Jeff Allen & Guy Spangenberg

Your windshield wipers are among the most important consumables on your car. Get caught out in the rain with a bad pair of wipers and your visibility can be drastically reduced, which vastly increases the risk of an incident. And no one likes an incident. So we’ve provided instructions and tips from an expert on how to safely replace your wipers.

Road & Track spoke with Kevin Hines, senior technician at McLaren Philadelphia, to learn the correct way to swap wiper blades efficiently and safely. Hines is North America’s only factory-certified McLaren F1 technician, which means his day job is working on $20 million exotics. If anyone understands changing wiper blades, it’s him.

Before reading any further, we suggest consulting your car’s owner’s manual for exact instructions on how to swap wiper blades on your car. The manufacturer’s suggestions may differ from the instructions below.

Choosing the Right Blades

There are a ton of different wiper blade options out there, but the primary thing is of course to make sure you have the right blades for your make and model car. When deciding which variant works best for your windshield, keep an eye out for reputable brands and make an informed decision. Go OEM if you want to take out the guesswork.

If you drive a common car from a big-name brand, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find compatible wipers at your local auto parts or department store. If you drive something a bit less common, you might have to go online to find a set that fits.

Replacing Windshield Wiper Blades

Most cars don’t require tools to replace windshield wiper blades; you’ll need only both hands. Locate the blades on your car and lift the wiper arms into the air. Usually they’ll hold themselves in place under spring tension, allowing you room to easily switch out the blades. On some cars, you may have to lift the hood to gain access to the arms.

Now comes the part you’ll have to figure out on your own: how to physically remove the wiper blade from the arm. There are dozens of different manufacturer designs of this connection, but most require a bit of fiddling around and some minor bending to get the wiper off. We suggest referencing your owner’s manual to find out how to remove the blades on your car without breaking anything.

diy photo s2000

Aaron Brown

diy photo s2000

Aaron Brown

Once you have the wipers off, take extreme caution. “Any time I do a set of windshield wipers, whether it’s on my personal truck or a McLaren F1, I always protect the windshield with something,” Hines tells us.

With the wiper blades off, the metal wiper arm is poised to make contact with the glass. If you accidentally bump into it in the midst of changing blades, it could slap down and crack the windshield. “I never like to let the arm stand in the air without a wiper blade on it,” Hines says. “I’ve been on the verge of tears because of windshields that I’ve broken.”

Professional Grade Microfiber Towels (Pack of 6)

Our recommendation: Get a towel or two and lay it on the windshield to act as a barrier between the glass and the wiper arm. This way, if the arm does suddenly swing down, it hits the towel and not your delicate windshield. The last thing you want is for a quick DIY job to turn into a $300 windshield replacement.

Take the wipers you just removed and lay them next to your replacement set. Make sure both are the same size and length and have the same connection points. After you’ve confirmed your new wipers will fit, pop them on using the reverse method of what you did to take off the old wipers. After you’ve secured the new wipers to their respective arms, gently lay the arms back onto the windshield.

diy photo s2000

Aaron Brown

Get in your car, flip on the accessories, and turn on your wipers to make sure they work as intended. Ensure they’re not making contact with any part of the car they’re not supposed to, such as the cowl or windshield frame. If they aren’t, congratulations, you’re done.

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