How to Change Windshield Wipers

November 23, 2021
Windshield wipers on green vehicle

No one ever thinks much about their windshield wipers until it’s pouring rain and they’re listening to a symphony of squeaks. Just like tires, oil and brakes, your windshield wiper blades gradually become worn down over time and must be replaced. But for those who’ve suddenly found their rainy day visibility lacking, there’s good news. Unlike other more complicated procedures, replacing windshield wiper blades is an easy fix that can be done at home. Here are some tips for how to change windshield wipers.

How to remove windshield wiper blades

After determining the size of your wipers and buying the appropriate replacement blades, you’ll have to remove your old blades. It’s important to note here that you won’t be replacing the entire windshield wiper, just the blade – the part at the end of the wiper arm that physically touches your windshield.

To remove your wiper blades, lift the wiper’s arm and pull it away from the windshield until it sticks out on its own. You’ll find small tabs or buttons on the bottom of the blade where it meets the arm. Press down on them and gently slide the blade off of the arm. If you’re new to changing windshield wipers, it may be best to remove and replace the blades one at a time so that you can check the unchanged blade for reference.1

How to install windshield wiper blades


Position your new wiper blade with the clip side towards the arm it will attach to. Line up the curved side of the blade with the curve of your wiper’s arm.

Slide clip into place

Move the wiper arm over the plastic clip of your new blade and slide the clip into place by pulling up on the arm.


Pull tight to click the entire wiper blade into place, then gently lower the wiper arm to make sure that the entire blade touches the glass.2

What size windshield wiper blades do you need?

There are several ways to determine the correct size of wiper blades for your car. You can look up your blade size in your owner’s manual, online, or in your auto shop’s blade size finder, if they have one. If for whatever reason you don’t have access to any of these options, you can always measure your current wiper blades and look for blades of that size.3

How long do windshield wiper blades last?

Generally, windshield wiper blades should be replaced every 6-12 months. This lifespan can be affected by the kind of blades you have and also the climate where you live.4 Particularly sandy or dusty environments cause wiper blades to wear out faster and may require you to replace them more frequently.5

Signs it’s time for new wiper blades

  1. Scratching/squeaking sounds – If you don’t see the signs of wiper blades that need to be replaced, your blades will eventually tell you themselves. Blades that make scratching or squeaking noises when they’re moving need to be replaced.
  2. Peeling blades – Blades at the end of their lifespans will have spent a lot of time outside, where the sun’s UV rays eventually cause them to dry out and peel or crack.
  3. Dirty windshield/streaking – Blades that need replacement will start to spread around the fluids on your windshield rather than wipe them off. You’ll also notice them leaving streaks on your windshield.
  4. Lack of contact with windshield – Worn out wiper blades may not make contact with your windshield in places if they’ve degraded enough.
  5. Skipping blades – Functioning wiper blades will glide smoothly over your windshield. If a blade seems to be skipping as it moves across your windshield, it’s probably worn enough to merit replacement.6

Importance of regular car maintenance

Replacing old wiper blades is just one of the many crucial types of maintenance car owners must perform on their vehicles. Discover more helpful tips on routine car maintenance. Maintenance is important of course, but preparing for the worst goes beyond checking and replacing your vehicle’s parts. To be truly prepared, you’re going to need insurance. Get a free quote from Nationwide today and learn how insurance can better protect you and your vehicle.

1, Accessed October 2021.
2, Accessed October 2021.
3, Accessed October 2021.
4, Accessed October 2021.
5, Accessed October 2021.
6, Accessed October 2021.

The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are services marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2021 Nationwide.

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