Changing Wiper Blades: Tips & Tricks
Missouri weather can be hard to predict, and in Jackson, we see plenty of precipitation with our rainy summers and snowy winters. So when the rain or snow begins to fall, you want to ensure your wiper blades perform their best, allowing you to see the road, traffic, and anything else that might cross your path. A set of new wiper blades costs less than $30, depending on the type of blade and the make and model of your vehicle.
Of course, quality blades cost more, but their ability to clear your windshield and improve visibility might be worth it. The end result is a safer commute, and we all want to arrive safely. So when it comes time to change your wiper blades, using the right ones can go a long way. To help, we had our maintenance experts review some wiper blades so we can teach you how to change them at home. But if you prefer, you can have our service center change them for you anytime.
Types of Wiper Blades
You have three basic types of wipers: flat, conventional, and hybrid. Many cars come with conventional wipers. However, if you want to upgrade them to flat or hybrid wipers, you can. It should be noted that you can’t switch a flat blade to a conventional one.
Conventional wipers are constructed of metal or plastic and have a bridge and articulated links with up to eight pressure points depending on the blade’s length. These blades use a spring-flex system to provide even pressure against your windshield. Manufacturers have moved to more flat wiper blades on their newer vehicles. Flat blades have a spoiler that uses airflow to push the blade against your windshield. The flat shape reduces wind noise and has a more discreet appearance, thus improving the driver’s field of vision.
A hybrid wiper blade combines features from flat and conventional blades. They provide the performance of conventional wipers with the aerodynamic and low-profile properties of flat blades. In particular, they use a spoiler that runs the entire blade length, keeping the rubber on your windshield for smooth, quiet movement at low and high speeds.
Why Replace Your Wiper Blades?
Debris, dirt, and chemical deposits on the road cause your wipers to wear, eventually warping them and rendering them ineffectual. Hot summers dry out wiper blades, and wintry climates use salt on the road, which corrodes your blades. Prolonged exposure to the elements will crack and split the rubber and plastic pieces. Even under ideal conditions, rubber stiffens over time, eventually reducing its flexible nature that helps keep uniform pressure. You’ll hear this in that squeak as your wipers work.
How Frequently Should You Change Your Wiper Blades?
The rubber and plastic construction of wiper blades is necessary for proper windshield cleaning. However, these materials wear over time, albeit slowly. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t notice the gradual drop in performance. Instead, they realize their wipers need replacing only after squinting through a dirty windshield.
A sure sign you need to replace your wipers is when they no longer clean dirt, water, and snow. Usually, your wipers leave a streak on the windshield. The streak starts small, but soon, another streak appears. At the first sign of streaking, you should replace your wiper blades.
Sometimes, damage can reduce your wiper blade’s ability to clear your windshield. For example, it could happen from a tree limb falling on your car or a rock kicked up on the highway. It would help if you replaced a damaged wiper immediately, whether or not it affects performance. On average, we recommend you change your wiper blades twice a year. However, if you have a particularly snowy winter or rainy summer, you might need to change them more often.
How To Replace Your Wiper Blades
Changing your wiper blades is easier than you might imagine. The assembly has three essential parts: the lower wiper arm, a plastic or metal blade, and the rubber insert that squeegees your windshield. Fortunately, you only need to change the rubber blade, not the entire assembly.
First, measure the blade’s length to ensure you purchase the correct size replacement. It isn’t uncommon to have a make and model that uses multiple sizes. If you have questions about the correct blade size, contact our parts department for assistance. Once you have the correct blades, follow these steps, and you’ll be back on the road in no time:
- Lift the metal arm up and away at a 90-degree angle from your windshield. Some Nissan models have the metal arm tucked beneath the hood at the bottom of the windshield. If your car has this feature, turn your wipers on and shut them off when they rise above the hood. Now you should be able to raise them up.
- The metal arm should lock at 90 degrees. Once locked, locate the release button and hook that attached the arm to the wiper blade. Pressing the button allows you to slide the blade off the arm gently.
- Once the old blade is off, slide the new blade on in the reverse direction. You will hear the blade click into place. Older models might have hook tabs that you must press before removing and installing.
- Lower the arm gently to the windshield, and you’re done. Congratulations. Now repeat these steps on the other wiper blade.
Helpful Tips and Hints for Replacing Wiper Blades
You have many replacement options available for wiper blades. However, we strongly recommend you use only genuine Nissan OEM wiper blades. An aftermarket blade might fit but poor materials and craftsmanship will have it failing sooner, and you’ll be back at step one before you know it. We suggest you lay a towel across your windshield while you work. This towel will protect your windshield against scratching or chipping should the arm inadvertently fall while you work. And always have the new blade ready to install before you begin.
At John Sinclair Nissan, we want you to rely on us for all your automotive needs. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you still have questions regarding windshield wipers or any Nissan parts, please contact us. One of our friendly, professional staff will happily assist you.