Keeping your windshield clear of rain, snow, and debris is essential for safe driving. However, wiper blades can be expensive to replace, especially if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to extend the life of your wiper blades and save money on refills.
The replacements windshield wiper blades at the auto store can range from the teens to twenties + in cost. What ever it may be keep in mind that you will most likely be buying two of them. For example if the replacement blade cost $20 each for a name brand then you will spend $40 plus tax. To me this is too much money and too much waste. I prefer to save some money and do what is best for the environment.
Try and restore your old wiper blades to save time and $$
Taking some time to thoroughly clean the debris off the blades can help a bunch. If that does not do the trick you can add some WD-40 to a cotton rag. Running this rag across the wiper blade edge until no more black comes off can sometimes improve the performance. You can check out this video here to see what I am referring to. If this works then you just saved a trip to the store.
You don’t need to buy all new wiper blades, buy the rubber blade instead
The wipers you see at the auto store include the frame and a new blade. However you don’t need all of this and the blade itself, which is what makes contact with the windshield, is all that needs to be replaced. The replacement blades can be purchased through Ebay, Amazon, Temu, Ali express,… the list goes on. All you need to look for is a replacement rubber that is long enough to fit both of your blades. I generally type in wiper blade refill and a bunch come up.
These alternatives are much less money, around $4-$10 to replace BOTH wiper blades. This is a significant savings compared to spending $50 on a new set. In addition to this you are not contributing as much to the land fill, so you could call this a win win.
How to replace your old wiper blades with new rubber
Remove the old rubber wiper blades
The old rubber bit of the wiper blade can be removed much like the below photo. This is an example of a new single piece blade and it has an opening at one end that allows you to pull out the old wiper blade. The old school wipers can be slide out in a similar fashion and are probably a bit easier. Most of the wiper blades have a clip of some sort to constrain it to the frame. Make sure to look for this and sort out how to release, it is generally at one end of the frame.
Insert the new replacement rubber
Its pretty straight forward from here, just slide in the new wiper blade rubber and trim to fit. I have found that soapy water helps move it along down the frame. The replacement wiper blades will most likely not have the same restraining clip.
Some wiper blade frames (like the older style) will require you to swap over the long metal inserts that go in with the frame rails. It can be a little tricky, just take you time. Once you thread the first few clips through, it generally goes quick after that.
Below is an example of an old wiper design with the metal inserts and bump stop cast into the wiper blade rubber.
Here are some additional tips on how to save money on wiper blade replacements:
- Clean your wiper blades regularly. This will help them last longer and perform better.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals on your windshield. This can degrade the rubber on your wiper blades.
- Park your car in the shade whenever possible. This will help to protect your wiper blades from the sun and other elements.
- Lift your wiper blades off the windshield when you park your car in the winter. This will prevent them from freezing to the windshield.
- Shop around for the best prices. Wiper blades can vary in price depending on the brand, model, and store.
- Buy in bulk. If you have multiple vehicles or drive frequently in bad weather, it may save you money to buy wiper blades in bulk.
- Consider buying aftermarket wiper blades. Aftermarket wiper blades are often just as good as OEM blades, but they cost less.
- Install your own wiper blades. Replacing wiper blades is a simple task that most people can do themselves. This will save you money on labor costs.
Conclusion: restore or replace the rubber wiper blade
I believe by trying to clean and restore the old rubber blades with WD-40 you can save yourself a bunch of money and a trip to the store. For the times you cannot get away with this you have the option of buying the replacement rubber bit for much less money. In addition to this you don’t have to deal with all of the additional clip and adapters that come with the new frames. By trying these two things and maintaining them, you can keep some cash in your pocket and some trash out of the landfill.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to see more content on refreshing your car. Then check out this article, How to refresh that old rubber trim which covers how to restore the old and faded rubber trim. Since sourcing and replacing the rubber trim can be insurmountable task it is easier to make do with what you have. This guide will walk you through how to bring it back to almost new.
It may seem like a boring topic but there is actually a lot to it. Cleaning your windshield is only half the activity. Sealing and protecting will set you up to make future cleans much, much easier. So check out this article on how to do just that, Ultimate guide to cleaning a windshield.
I recently changed the wiper blades out on two different cars and discovered something new. On one car I had used a spray wax to coat the outside of the window. This backfired on me, as the wiper blade would go over it in heavy rain a slight haze would appear. This impaired vision just for a moment but was enough for me to write this out for you.
The second thing was that the old wiper blade frame had lost its strength to keep the pressure across the profile of the window. I was able to bend some areas back to apply more pressure. However the area directly under the middle connection to the wiper arm was not enough to improve the water removal.