How to fit new windscreen wiper blades to your car

Save money and learn how to fit new windshield wiper blades yourself

Windshield wiper
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to servicing and maintaining your car, removing and replacing the windscreen wiper blades is one of the simplest tasks around.

While it is possible to have your local garage source and fit the blades for you, this really is a two-minute job that almost anyone can do at home. It also requires no tools or expertise, and even though wiper blades can vary from one car to another, the process is very simple.

Follow these steps, and you’ll have new wiper blades (and a much cleaner windscreen, with no more streaks) in just a few minutes, and, while you're at it, also make sure you're buying the best windscreen wipers available for your car.

Finding the right wiper blades for your car

First, you ‘ll need to make sure you buy the correct winder blades for your vehicle. The easiest way is to enter your vehicle registration number into the search tools used by many auto parts retailers, like Halfords.

In almost all cases, this will return the correct vehicle and show you which wiper blades are available for you. Alternatively, car parts shops usually have a catalogue for looking up the make, model and year of your car, then helping you find the correct blades.

You should aim to replace both front wiper blades at the same time, to ensure they clean your screen equally well, and you might also want to replace the rear wiper, if your car has one, at the same time. That way, you can be sure all three are the same age.

For more information on this read our guide on how to find the correct wiper blade size for your car.

How to remove your windscreen wipers

Generally speaking, there are three different types of wiper blade. These are referred to as traditional, aero, and hybrid. The latter uses a simpler design with an exposed metal frame, while the aero blade is a sleeker, enclosed plastic unit, and the hybrid mixes the two by having an aerodynamic plastic cover over a traditional metal frame.

Each of these designs have slightly different fitting mechanisms, and the way the blades fit to the wiper arm can differ from one vehicle (or manufacturer) to another.

To get started, lift the wiper arm away from the windscreen until it clicks into the upward position and holds itself aloft.

Now place a soft cloth on the screen, so that if the wiper arm falls back down without the lade attached, the glass screen won’t be damaged.

Next, there is usually a plastic clip to pull upwards, away from the arm and releasing the blade. This clip will look different depending on your car, but it is usually the only moving part in the mechanism, so is easy to locate and operate.

With the clip pulled upwards, the wiper blade should then rotate around a hook holding it to the arm. Rotate the blade around the hook and it should detach. On some mechanisms you’ll need to slide the blade down the arm before it can be unhooked. You might need to briefly experiment to see which way the blade needs moving before it can be taken off, but there won’t be anything that needs loosening or unfastening.

With the wiper blade removed, gently lower the wiper arm and rest it against the soft cloth you put on the screen earlier. This is important, as if the bladeless arm were to snap back against the screen it could cause the glass to chip or crack.

How to fit your new wiper blades

Fitting your new blades is just a case of following the previous instruction in reverse. Hook the blade onto the arm, slide it into place (if needed for your mechanism) and rotate it. Now close the plastic clip that you opened in the first step, and gently fold the wiper arm back against the screen.

Remember that the two front wiper blades of some vehicles are different sizes, so make sure you replace them correctly.

Replacing the rear wiper blade of your car

If your vehicle has a rear wiper, the process is very similar, just with a wiper arm and blade-shaped differently to those at the front. In short, lift the arm from the rear screen, locate and lift a clip or locking mechanism holding the blade to the arm, and lift the blade free.

Lower the arm onto a soft cloth to prevent it from damaging the glass screen, then grab your replacement blade and fit it to the arm, ensuring it locks into place with a satisfying click.

Test them out

Before driving anywhere, it’s worth giving the wipers a quick test to make sure they are fitted properly and don’t squeak or judder against the screen. If they do this, they might need adjusting slightly, or removing and reinstalling. This is unlikely though, as the simple fixings mean there isn’t really anything that can go wrong.

So long as the correct wiper blades are fitted securely, to the right arms, then they should operate correctly.

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Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.