Windshield wipers serve a pretty straightforward purpose: keep the windshield clear and clean to improve visibility in the rain or other bad weather. It’s pretty easy to tell when you need new wiper blades. Worn-out wipers will leave streaks and can even miss areas of the glass. In some cases, this can make visibility even worse.
Having good wiper blades matters a lot in Arizona, particularly during monsoon season. Heavy rain can make for hazardous driving conditions. Just like having poor traction, having bad visibility can make driving in a monsoon rainstorm nearly downright dangerous.
Like any other component, windshield wiper blades need to be replaced periodically. Over time they become less effective and as we said before, can even make driving more difficult.
Knowing how to replace wiper blades yourself is useful. There are a few different types of wiper blades on modern vehicles and the installation can vary depending on the type. We are going to go over the different types of wiper blades, and the procedure for installing new ones yourself.
How Do Wiper Blades Work?
We’re not talking about how they clear the windshield. We’re talking about how the blade itself remains in even contact with the curved glass of the windshield.
To remove water and other debris, wiper blades need to make even contact with the glass. This is done by applying pressure to the blade itself, allowing the rubber strip to work like a squeegee. This is achieved in different ways depending on the design of the blade itself.
Types of Windshield Wiper Blades
Conventional Wiper Blades
For a long time, this style of wiper blade was the standard on almost all cars. Conventional wiper blades look a bit like coat hangers and are made of metal, plastic, and rubber. Force is applied to the rubber strip from the frame via four to eight contact points. This ensures pressure is distributed across the blade. Conventional wiper blades are the most affordable and are still used on many new vehicles today.
Beam Wiper Blades
Beam-style blades incorporate a lower profile, more aerodynamic design and are often seen on newer cars and higher-end luxury models. Instead of a bulky metal frame, beam wiper blades use a tensioned metal strip to ensure contact with the windshield. Beam wiper blades are less noisy than conventional blades due to their lower wind resistance.
Hybrid Wiper Blades
Hybrid wiper blades utilize a small frame concealed by a spoiler in addition to a tensioned metal strip. The pressure from the tensioned strip ensures even pressure, and the strength of the frame makes these wiper blades more durable. Hybrid wiper blades are very effective in extreme weather, snowy, or icy conditions.
How to Change Wiper Blades
Before changing your windshield wiper blades, ensure you have the proper replacements. Not only do you need the right type of blade, but you need to make sure they are the correct length. Check your owner’s manual to find information about wiper blade sizing.
Remove the Old Wiper Blades
Something else to check is how your wiper blades attach to the wiper arms. Depending on the design, the procedure to remove the blades will be different. Take a look at your wipers to see what kind of mount they use.
By far the most common type of mount for windshield wiper blades is the hook, U, or J. This replacement guide is based on this style of wiper blade because it’s the kind you are most likely to have. If you have a different connecter, follow the instructions on the package or look at this guide, which goes over some of the other common types. You can expect a similar procedure for these varieties.
Lift the Wiper Blades Up
Start by lifting the wiper blades upright until they stick upright. This will give you better access to the mounting point on the blade.
Release the Blade
Hook-type wiper blades are usually secured with a tab which can be released by lifting or pushing down depending on the design. Releasing the tab will allow the blade to be removed from the arm.
Remove the Blade
To remove the blade, pull toward the base of the wiper arm. The blade connects to the arm with a rod that sits in the arm hook. Pulling the rod out of the hook will let you remove the blade.
Install New Blades
Installing the new wiper blades is easy, just follow the removal steps above in reverse!
Insert the New Wiper
Slide the new blade into the J hook at the end of the wiper arm. It will slide in and sit firmly on the hook.
Lock the Blade
Secure the tab you released earlier. The blade should now be locked securely in place.
Return the Blade to the Windshield
The new blades have been installed, but they are still in the upright position. Gently return the blade to its operating position on the windshield.
Test the Blades
Hop in your car and operate the blades to make sure you installed them correctly and they work as they should. That’s it, you’re done!
Need Help? Stop into Borst Automotive!
If you are having trouble with your wiper blades, come see us! We have shops in Mesa, Tucson, and Phoenix Arizona. Need more than just wiper blades? We offer full-service auto repair, emissions and inspection services, and more! We look forward to seeing you!