Replacing windshield wiper blades is one of the most affordable vehicle maintenance measures. Windshield wipers are a safety system that preserves visibility while driving in wet weather. Get a general sense of the price of wiper blades based on the type of windshield wipers on your vehicle. Determine what size windshield wipers do I need based on whether your car or truck has conventional, hybrid or beam blades.
Can You Replace Windshield Wipers Yourself?
When you have windshield wipers replaced, it is likely that you will spend as much or more than the cost of the replacement blades on labor. You can cut the cost of replacing windshield wipers in half by doing this maintenance task yourself. Once you know what type and size of blades your vehicle uses on the front and rear windshields, this is an easy and affordable maintenance measure you can do once or twice a year.
The most affordable wiper blades are conventional and have a hinged design or articulated metal frame with a rubber blade attached. Most conventional blades cost less than $20 each and have a six-month lifespan. Hybrid blades combine features of standard and flat blades, with a full-length spoiler and pivoting suspension points. These blades can cost anywhere from $10 to $20 each and should last up to a year.
The beam blades that come on most late-model vehicles are flat and have a full-length integrated spoiler that provides infinite points of pressure for better performance. Beam blades are the most expensive to replace and may cost around $30 each. Change flat blades every 12 months.
Depending on the make and model of vehicle, blades may attach with a hook, bayonet, pinch tab, side- or top-locking attachment mechanism. Check the owner’s manual for a vehicle or watch video tutorials online to determine how to replace wiper blades. If you need special equipment, look for an auto parts retailer that offers timing light rental and affordable access to other tools.
How Timing Lights Work
Timing lights are used to check and set the engine timing of a vehicle with a distributor. A hold-down clamp at the bottom of the distributor allows the timing of gearing to be adjusted relative to the engine crankshaft. Locate engine timing marks on the crankshaft front pulley or harmonic balancer and look up manufacturer specifications before using a timing light.
Connect a timing light to the battery posts and attach a plug wire to whatever cylinder is numbered one in your vehicle make and model. Start the engine and let it reach operating temperature before aiming the timing light, which acts like a strobe, at the timing marks.
If the timing mark lights up with the pointer, there is no need for adjustment. If not, turn off the engine and slowly rotate the distributor clamp to adjust the timing. Recheck the timing with the timing light until the mark lights up with the pointer. Maintaining the function of the engine and safety systems, such as windshield wipers, increases the reliability of any vehicle.