Windscreen wipers can often go overlooked as part of regular DIY car checks. We tend to focus on tyres, oil, screen wash and coolant/antifreeze, but the condition of the wiper blades is just as important.
The good news is, replacing windscreen wipers is a straightforward job that most motorists should be able to manage, even if you don’t have any tools. It’s a five-minute job that’s well worth the time and money, and will help keep you safe on the road.
In this guide, we cover the basics of replacing windscreen wipers, and also provide a few helpful tips on how to maintain yours so they last longer.
- How to Change a Windscreen Wiper: Step by Step
- Signs that You Should Replace Windscreen Wipers
- Finding Windscreen Wipers for Your Car
- How to Look After Windscreen Wipers
- Step 1: Lift the windscreen wipers up and away from the windscreen until they’re locked in the upright position.
- Step 2: Wiper blades are held in place by either a locking tab or button; your car’s manual will tell you which type are fitted on your car. Pop this open so that the blade is unlocked. You might need a screwdriver if your car has an older type of windscreen wiper.
- Step 3: Carefully remove the old wiper blade, taking care not to let the wiper arm drop down and come in contact with the windscreen. With the rubber blade removed, the metal arm could easily scratch or damage the glass.
- Step 4: Slide the new wiper blade into place and reengage the locking mechanism. Check that the wiper blade is firmly back in place by gently rocking it back and forth.
- Step 5: Carefully lower the windscreen wiper onto the windscreen and then test them to see if they work ok (remember to squirt your screenwash first) – they should be silent and not leave smears. If you aren’t happy with the results, it could be that the wipers aren’t locked in the correct place.
- Step 6: Get rid of your old windscreen wipers at a recycling centre. You should be able to remove the rubber part of the wiper, so that the metal part can be recycled.
Driving with worn or damaged wiper blades can have a few repercussions, including:
- Reduced visibility out of the front and rear windows
- Potential MOT failure if the blades are worn low
- Damage to the windscreen, caused by the metal wiper arm coming in contact with the glass
- An annoying squeaking noise that can be distracting while driving
Over time, the rubber blade on your windscreen wipers will perish, so they should ideally be replaced every 12 months to ensure they’re in good condition. Here are a few tell-tale signs that you should replace your windscreen wipers:
- Lines of water left behind by the wiper
- Small pieces of rubber on the windscreen
- A loud squeaky noise when the wipers are in operation
- Faint scratches on the glass
- Rubber coming away from metal wiper arm
- Juddering movement as they pass over the glass
- Worn, rough feeling when you run your thumb down the rubber blade
- Visible cuts and signs of abrasion on the rubber
If you need to replace the windscreen wiper blades on your car, the first obstacle is finding the right type of replacement. The easiest way to do this is online. Most car parts stockists, like Halfords and Euro Car Parts, let you input your reg number to quickly find compatible wiper blades – taking the legwork out of finding the right model for your car.
Before you buy them, double-check your user manual to make sure it’s the right type of wiper blade; you can also look at the old blade to see if has a printed model number or size information.
You might find that there are lots of different windscreen wipers available for your car in a wide range of prices. For example, Halfords now offer own-brand wiper blades for most models, and these can be significantly cheaper than other manufacturers.
Recently bought a new set of windscreen wipers? To keep them in good condition for longer, try following these tips:
- When your wipers are brand new, apply a small amount of concentrated screen wash to the rubber. This will prevent them from juddering or sticking to the glass, which is common with wiper blades as they bed in.
- Make sure you clean the wiper blades when you wash the rest of your car. Loose dirt and debris can get trapped down the edge of the rubber, which can lead to premature wear.
- Always make sure you have screen wash in your car before operating the windscreen clear lever. If you use the wipers when the windscreen is dry, you could cause damage due to the friction of the rubber on the dry glass.
- Always switch off your wipers when leaving your car. If you haven’t and you start your car again, they’ll start moving automatically. If it’s stopped raining and the windscreen’s dry it could damage the rubber.
- In the winter months, don’t let the wiper blades freeze to the surface of the glass on cold nights, as this can cause damage to both them and the windscreen. Some people move the wipers to the upright position when they know there’s going to be a frost, and you can also cover the blades to prevent freezing overnight. Amazon sells covers that slip over the wiper arms, keeping them frost-free in the winter.
At Prestone, our high-performance car maintenance products are tested in all extremes, giving you confidence that your car is protected no matter what the conditions. For more information and to browse our full product range, visit the homepage today.