Windshield Wiper Blades

Windshield wiper blades should be changed as soon as they show signs of wear. Worn blades leave water streaks across the windshield that can impair vision during rain storms and increase the chance of an accident. It only takes a few minutes to change windshield wiper blades, and the only tool needed is a flathead screwdriver. It's so quick and easy that people often change them in the carpark after purchasing them. Many people will have trouble with their first attempt at changing wiper blades, and are often confused by the latch attachments, but they quickly become familiar with it.

While the structure of wiper blade frames is generally the same, there are many different lengths and latch attachments. Before buying new wipers, it helps to know the exact make and model of the car they will be fitted to. The wipers are generally sold separately, with several different latch attachments included in each pack. While replacements for the rubber blades themselves are available, they take longer to install and are not much cheaper than the complete blade frames.

It is easier to work with the wipers if they are in the vertical position. They can be moved there by operating them very quickly, usually just for a second. To remove the blade frame, first pull the wiper arm back away from the windshield. Moderate force is needed because the arms are spring-loaded to keep them flush against the windshield. It is a good idea to place a thick towel or some other padding on the windshield to protect it in case the wiper flicks back onto it.

Take a close look at the latch attachment and try to identify what type it is. The hook type has a clip that fits inside the bent end of the wiper arm, and is kept in place by a small lug or metal bumps on each side. To remove the hook type, press the lug or bumps inwards and slide the frame downwards off the arm. Some hook attachments have a cover that locks the hook in place, and these are removed by opening the cover and sliding the arm out of them. The pin type also uses a cover to lock the blade frame onto the pin at the end of the wiper arm, and this may need to be levered off with a screwdriver. There are also bayonet and screw attachments but these are less common than the hook and pin types.

It is best to replace the latch attachment along with the wiper blade, as they can also become worn and allow the wiper to loose grip with the windshield. The hook attachment clips onto a pin in the middle of the blade frame, and can be removed with moderate force. There are usually several different latch attachments included with each blade, so find one that matches and push it onto the pin. For the hook type, slide the new frame upwards on the arm until the lug or metal bumps click into place. For the pin type, place the new frame on one side of the pin and the cover on the other side, and snap them both together.

Once the wiper blades are installed, they should be tested before being put to use on the road. Gently lower the blades back onto the windshield and check that no metal parts are in contact with it. Spray some water on the windshield to avoid the dry blades rubbing on the glass and possibly scratching it. Operate the wipers for several strokes and check that they cover most of the windshield and don't leave any streaks. It's an easy task to change windshield wiper blades once you know how, and it doesn't need to be done by an expensive mechanic, so don't be put off by those tricky latch attachments.

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