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Changing Your Windshield Wipers. It Takes Only Five Minutes.

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Wiper blades are made of rubber, so they naturally wear out after several months of wiping snow, rain and dust from your windshield. You could take your car to the mechanic to have them changed, but it’s just as easy to change them yourself. The fitting process is identical for the vast majority of cars on the road.

I laugh when I visit my local auto parts store and see that they’re having a sale on wiper blades, offering free installation. The free installation only applies if I buy the most expensive blades in the store, so I started changing them on my own. You’ll need new wiper blades after about six months or a year of use. You probably tend to go a little longer before asking your mechanic to change them, but you shouldn’t deal with the danger of streaking while you put off an inconvenient trip to the auto shop.

wipers-blades-5Know what part of the blade to change. Windshield wipers are made with three basic parts: the lower wiper arm that extends from the base of the windshield, the metal or plastic blade attached to the lower arm, and the rubber blade that actually wipes the windshield. When your windshield wiper blades are changed, you’re really only changing the rubber blades that get worn down by water and inclement weather.

It is very simple first of all measure the size blade you need and buy replacement blades. To find out what size replacement blades you need, measure the old rubber blades using a ruler or measuring tape. Write down the exact measurements, then go to an auto parts store and buy rubber blades in those exact sizes. Mind you one side is often an inch or two shorter than the other.

Raise the metal wiper arm away from the windshield. It should be able to hold steady in a position perpendicular to the windshield. Be careful with the positioning; the metal wiper arm is spring-loaded, and it could snap back and crack your windshield.wipers-blades-4

Unhook the old wiper blade. Look at the joint where the rubber wiper blade meets the metal arm. There should be a small plastic stopper holding the blade in place. Press the stopper and unhook the old wiper blade to separate it from the metal arm. Thou some wiper blades have pins to hold the rubber wiper blade in place, rather than a hook.

I do recommend that you make sure one hand is holding the wiper away from the windshield during this entire process, else protect your windshield with a folded towel, just in case you the arm snaps back while you’re trying to change the wiper.

Hook up the new wiper. Slide the refill wiper into the same end of the arm where you pulled the old wiper out. Gently pivot the new wiper until the hook snaps into place to secure it. Lay the wiper back against the windshield. Repeat with the second wiper making sure you use the correct size for each side.wipers-blades

If you get distracted or just can’t remember exactly how the new blades should fit on the wiper arm, don’t worry. The packaging for the new blades should have a general set of instructions and a helpful diagram.

Old windshield wipers become hard and cracked over time, especially in hot, dry climates. If your wiper seems to have lost its rubbery spring, it’s probably time to replace it. Pay attention next time it rains. If your wipers leave streaks of water across your windshield that aren’t much easier to see through than pounding rain, their rubber has probably lost its grip.

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