Remove Windshield Wipers

Are you having trouble keeping a clear windshield? If so, this can impair your visibility while driving in the worst of conditions – heavy rain, snow, etc. It goes without saying that the problem needs addressed, and that may be as simple as changing your windshield wipers or wiper blades.


Replacing Your Wiper Blades Only

  1. Raise the windshield wipers. This is the first step to changing your windshield wiper blades. When lifted, the wiper arm should rest unassisted above the windshield without touching the glass.
  2. Remove the wiper blade from the wiper arm. To do this, you will have to release the connector. There are three common connector designs, and they each release a little differently.
    • Hook-slot connectors are shaped like a "j" at the end of the blade. This j-hook has a tab that needs to be lifted or pushed to release the blade. Once released, push or pull the blade down toward the base of the wiper arm to remove it from the hook slot.
    • Pin-type connectors are fitted with a protruding pin that points down from the end of the blade. This pin pushes into the side the wiper arm and has a tab that fastens it in place. The tab will need to be lifted from the top with a flat head screwdriver or pushed up from underneath the wiper arm. Once the tab is released, the blade can be removed by pulling it sideways off of the arm.
    • Straight-end connectors have grooved ends that slide onto the windshield wiper arm. They also may have a tab on top of the existing blade that must be lifted with a screwdriver to release the blade from the arm. Once released you may have to adjust the angle of the blade to pull it away from the arm.
  3. Install the new wiper blade. This will also depend on the type of fastener used on your car.
    • For hook-slot connectors, slide the new wiper blade into the hook slot at the end of the wiper arm.
    • For pin-type connectors you should slide the arm on from the same side that you removed the original wiper blade. Once it is in place, lock down the tab to hold the blade.
    • For straight-end connectors you may have to change the angle of the blade to make it slide onto the wiper arm. If your design has a clip or tab, make sure that it is locked down as well.
  4. Test your wiper blades. You don't want a wiper to fly off on the open road. To make sure this doesn't happen, spray water or windshield wiper cleaner onto your windshield and turn on the wipers. If they are wiping properly you are finished. If they appear to be loose or wiggling on the arm then you should make sure they are properly fastened before driving again.

Preparing to Change Your Windshield Wipers

  1. Determine what kind of wipers you have. There are three common kinds of wipers and they each fasten to the car differently.
    • Bolt-on wipers are held onto a threaded drive arm by a nut.
    • Clip-on wipers are pressed down over the drive arm and clip into place.
    • Spring-loaded wipers are held in place by a spring. The spring must be compressed by pressing a pin in order to release it from the drive arm.
  2. Buy and inspect a replacement wiper arm. Be certain that the replacement wiper arm is identical to the old arm that you are replacing. Remember that the passenger's side and driver's side arms are often different and are not interchangeable.
  3. Gather your tools. You will at least need to have a flat head screwdriver, some cardboard to protect the paint/glass, and a ratchet set. It helps to have everything out and ready before you start the job.

Removing a Clip-On Windshield Wiper

  1. Inspect the sides of base closest to the bottom for a flange or lip. You are looking for a place that you can slide something between the wiper arm and its base. This will allow you to remove the arm.
  2. Find a wiper arm remover or flat head screwdriver. Using a windshield wiper arm remover is best, however a flat head screwdriver can also be used to do the initial prying needed.[1] Slide your tool under the base of the wiper arm and use it to pry the arm loose from the base or drive post.
  3. Place a piece of cardboard or shop rag between your prying tool and the vehicle. This will protect the paint and/or plastic around the base of the wiper arm as you pry.
  4. Twist or pry the wiper arm remover or screwdriver. This will increase the space between the flange or lip of the wiper arm and the base of the arm. As the arm loosens, you will be able to pull it off of the base.
  5. Lift the wiper blade up from the windshield with one hand and hold the point of attachment with the other. Gently rock the wiper blade back and forth while lifting with both hands and remove it from the drive post.

Removing a Spring-Loaded Windshield Wiper

  1. Locate the hinge near where the wiper arm attaches to the drive post. This is a spring-loaded clip that holds the wiper arm in place, but is released by lifting the arm away from the windshield.
  2. Release the spring-loaded clip. This clip ensures that the wiper arm stays attached. Releasing it will allow you to remove the wiper arm from the base.
    • Locate a hole on each side of the arm near the hinge pin.
    • Lift the wiper arm fully up and off the windshield.
    • Slide a finish nail or other small diameter pin all the way through both of the clip’s side holes. You may need to slightly rock the wiper blade away while attempting align the pin and slide it through.
    • Release the wiper arm and allow it to rest on the pin.
  3. Remove the wiper arm. Now that the clip is released, rock the wiper arm up and down by grasping with one hand on the arm and the other pulling at the point of attachment until the arm slides off the post.[2]

Removing Bolt-On Windshield Wipers

  1. Mark where the windshield wiper blade rests. This will help you put the replacement wiper back in the correct position once the current wiper has been removed. Bar soap, wax, or another easy to remove mark will work fine.
  2. Follow the wiper arm away from the wiper blade to its base. This may require that the hood be opened.
  3. Remove the dust cap at the base of wiper arm. Most designs have a plastic or metal dust cap that covers the drive post and hex nut that hold the wiper arm in place. With this dust cap removed, you will have the access you need to remove the nut.
  4. Select a socket sized to fit the hex nut. Now that the dust cap is removed and you can analyze the hex nut that holds the wiper arm onto the drive post you should choose a socket that fits it. Place the socket on the ratchet or, if needed, on an extension that is attached to the ratchet.
  5. Set the ratchet to allow it to loosen the nut. Ratchets are designed to twist nuts and bolts on and off. You want to be sure you are set to spin in a counter clockwise direction. This will loosen the nut.
  6. Remove the nut that fastens the windshield wiper arm to the drive post. Using your ratchet to remove this nut will allow you to remove the wiper arm from the vehicle.
    • Place the socket and ratchet fully over the hex nut and hold in place with one hand while Stabilizing the wiper arm by firmly gripping it with the other hand. This will prevent the linkage from exceeding the designed range of motion when twisting the ratchet.
    • Twist the ratchet to spin the nut counter clockwise one half to one full turn.
    • Once the hex nut is loosened, release your grip of the wiper arm and remove the socket and ratchet from the hex nut. Spin the hex nut completely off by hand and set aside for reuse.
  7. Remove the entire wiper arm from the drive post. Lift the wiper blade up from the windshield with one hand and hold the point of attachment with the other. Gently "rock" the wiper blade back and forth while lifting with both hands and remove from the drive post.

Installing the Replacement Windshield Wiper

  1. Clean the drive post with a small wire brush. Remove any rust and debris from threaded posts with a wire brush. Apply a drop or two of oil (or other light lubricant) on post threads prior to reinstalling wiper arm. arm.
  2. Install the replacement wiper arm. This will be slightly different depending on how your wipers attach to the drive post.
  3. Align the blade with the mark you made on the windshield. This ensures that the wiper arm will rest in the appropriate place and travel the correct path when turned on.
  4. Place the replacement wiper arm on the post. Once you have the arm aligned with your mark, place the other end of the arm on the post. Again, take care to keep the blade on the mark.
  5. Seat the wiper arm point of attachment fully on the post. This can be done by pushing down forcefully or by gently tapping it into place with a rubber mallet.
  6. Secure the wiper arm to the base. This step will be slightly different depending on the type of wiper arm you have.
    • Bolt-on wiper arms are secured by twisting the nut back onto the drive post in a clockwise direction and replacing the cover.
    • Clip-on wiper arms are secured by seating the base fully on the drive post and squeezing or tapping the lip or flange against the base.
    • Spring-loaded wiper arms are secured by removing the pin and allowing the wiper blade to rest on the windshield.
  7. Test your wipers. You want to be confident that they will work when you need them. Always test new parts before getting out on the open road.


  • Wiping the blade with alcohol wipes or rubbing alcohol can increase the life expectancy of your wipers by a season or even two.
  • You should remove and replace your windshield wiper blades and/or wipers one at a time. They are often different sizes and shapes and will not work properly if they are mixed up.
  • Shut your wipers off before shutting vehicle off. Failed wiper arms happen most often in winter. Typically, the blades freeze in place and when the vehicle is first started, the wipers immediately try to move and strip on the drive post.
  • It may help to have an assistant to hold the wiper while you twist the ratchet. The size of some vehicles makes it difficult for one person to do both well at the same time.
  • Prevent damage to wiper blades, arms, linkage and motor during winter months by lifting blades off windshield, especially when snowfall is predicted. This will make snow and ice removal from the windshield much easier and prevent damage to blade. It will also reduce strain on moving parts if the wipers are frozen to the windshield when you start your car but were left on when you last parked.


  • Do not leave the car unattended when the arm is in its upright position as it may swing back and hit the windshield, thus, causing the windshield to possibly shatter.

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