Lifestyles

Replacing your windshield wiper blades

     The windshield wiper blades on your car have a limited life span due to the breakdown of the rubber compound they are made of. Over time, the elements and the friction on the window wear the blade down. Here in South Georgia, with fluctuating weather, we never know what the next minute will bring. It is good to check windshield wipers and replace them before they create a problem.

     Rather than waiting for the next time, you can’t see to drive, inspect both blades by pulling them off the windshield. Look for blade brittleness or hardness. If the blade is soft and pliable, it should be fine for now. They should be checked every 2 to 4 months depending on how often they are used. Many newer crossovers and SUV’s have rear wiper blades that should be checked as well.

     Blades should be replaced, at a minimum, once a year, but it is recommended to replace them twice a year. Once in the spring—due to the cold temperatures of the winter­—and in the fall—due to potential dry rot from the summer.

     If your blades are in need of replacement, there are two main attachment methods car manufacturers use. One uses a hook that the blade slides on. To remove this type of wiper blade, pull the wiper off the windshield and turn the blade over so the blade is facing upward. Push away from the closed portion of the hook. The blade should disconnect from the wiper arm. Then, maneuver it off the arm. To replace the blade, turn the pivot point of the blade upward and maneuver it onto the wiper arm. With the wiper on the arm, push upward aligning the pivot point and the hook. The blade should snap into place.

     The second main method uses a pin and a retaining tab. Like with the hook attachment method, begin by lifting the blade off the windshield. The retaining tab must be pushed to the side for blade removal. It is located between the two metal rails on the wiper blade. Pull or push­—depending on car model— it out and away from the wiper arm. The blade can then be easily lifted off the pin. To install a new blade, lift the retaining tab out from the wipers metal rail. Then, slide the wiper onto the arm. Next, push the retaining tab in-between the wipers metal rail. This should lock the blade to the arm.

     After installing new blades, always make sure each blade is secured to the wiper arm. Simply pull on the blade with light force in the direction it would be removed. If it doesn’t give or come off, it should be fine. Another method of testing is to turn on the windshield wiper blades and allow them to make two or three complete rotations.

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