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How to change windscreen wiper blades

Changing your wiper blades is a car maintenance task anybody can do. We tell you how…

If you’ve not used your wiper blades all summer, chances are you may have been a little caught out by the recent rain.

Wiper blades ought to be changed every year to keep them operating as effectively as possible. Remember, they’re essentially just flat pieces of rubber, exposed to the elements – and rubber easily becomes perished, leading to smears, smudges, and poor visibility when you need it most.

Luckily, wipers are super-easy to change, though they can be a little fiddly depending on the car. They can be purchased in seconds from the internet or any motor factor, and usually range in size depending on your vehicle. Happily, there’s no need for trial and error or any difficult searching, as most places will be able to

There are three main types of wiper blade…

Traditional

These blades use a divided arm arrangement cannily named a ‘whippletree’ to apply even pressure across the whole of the blade. For many years, they were the only style of blade available, and today are often the cheapest.

Their open nature means these blades can hold onto snow or road debris more than other styles of blade, and they’re not quite as durable – though they won’t deteriorate any quicker than other styles.

Flat

Flat wiper blades use a single curved piece of metal to keep pressure on the windscreen. Slick-looking and streamlined, they don’t hang on to debris and thanks to their slippery nature can actually improve fuel economy and reduce road noise.

These blades may not fit onto older vehicles without a bulky adapter, and can be more expensive than traditional units.

Hybrid

This style places a streamlined cover over traditional wiper blades. The end result is still cheaper than the flat units, but won’t pick up debris. However, they can be rather thick and depending on your car may spoil visibility.

How to fit

Fitting blades on modern cars is usually very simple. The majority of cars use a u-shaped hook connector which connects easily to the wiper blades, though older vehicles may require an adapter. Some standard types will likely be included in with the new blades.

To make fitting easier, turn on the ignition and switch on the wipers. Turn the ignition off when the wipers are in the upright position, and they’ll stay there so you can access them more easily.

Flip the wiper arms out and pivot the blades to 90 degrees, whereupon they should be easy to unclip from the u-hook.

Fitting the new wiper blades will be the reverse of the removal process, and then snap! You’re done and ready for whatever inclement weather the sky can throw at you.

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