Recently I noticed that the wiper blade on the rear window of my SUV was screeching loudly on every pass over the window and was no longer performing well. A quick inspection revealed that it was very dried out and worn unevenly. It’s not surprising that the blade was making so much noise. Changing the rear wiper blade seemed like a reasonably straightforward project, so I decided to purchase a new blade at my local auto parts store and tackle the job myself. At first, I tried lifting up the rear wiper to pull it away from the window as you would a front windshield wiper, but it wouldn’t move. It eventually became clear that I would need to completely detach the wiper arm from the window to replace the blade.
To take off the arm, you have to pull off the cap at the base to expose the nut underneath. I pulled off the cap and was able to use a 10mm socket and ratchet to remove the nut, and a flat head screwdriver wrapped in a small towel to pry the arm away from the window. Once the arm was free from the window, I could simply rotate the blade and slide it out of the channel. Then I just inserted the arm hook onto the bar attachment in the center of the new blade, rotated it and snapped it into place. I set the wiper arm back onto the base of the window, securing it with the nut and cap.
Having never changed a rear wiper before – I had a hard time at first, but eventually figured it out. Here are the step by step instructions. Please note that depending on the application, yours might be a little different.
- Notice the position of the wiper on the window to recall where to place it when you put it back on.
- Remove the plastic cover from the base of the wiper assembly.
- Use a 10mm socket and ratchet, or adjustable wrench, to remove the nut that secures the wiper assembly by turning it counterclockwise.
- Lift the wiper off of the window. If it does not lift off easily, use a flathead screwdriver covered with a small towel to pry it off gently.
- Once the wiper assembly has been taken off of the back window, rotate the old wiper blade away from the wiper arm until it is perpendicular and slide it up off of the arm.
- Pass the wiper arm through the opening at the center of the new wiper with the rubber blade facing away from the arm.
- Rotate the wiper blade until the mounting bar snaps into the channel on the wiper arm.
- Mount the wiper assembly back onto the window in its original position.
- Place the nut onto the wiper assembly by turning it clockwise.
- Carefully tighten the nut with the socket and ratcheting wrench, or adjustable wrench, until it is snug. Avoid over tightening to avoid cracking the window.
- Snap the plastic cover into place at the base of the wiper assembly.
It is not necessary to take the wiper arm off to change the rear wiper blade for all vehicle types. For many vehicles, the rear wiper blade can easily be replaced by lifting the wiper arm up and away from the window, rotating the old wiper blade outward to take it off and rotating the new blade inward to snap it into place.
Though a vehicle’s rear wiper blade doesn’t get as much use as the front windshield wiper blades, it still to loses its effectiveness over time. A common misconception is that wiper blades will wear out faster in areas that experience a lot of rainfall. The reality is that cold, or hot, dry climates and sunlight do the most damage to your wipers – and your rear wiper is just as exposed as the ones on the front of your car. Experts recommend changing the rear blade at least once a year because the rubber gradually deteriorates due to exposure to the elements. This is a conservative recommendation and is based on the assumption that you’re driving in ideal conditions most of the time. For most drivers, it’s most appropriate to replace front and rear wiper blades twice a year.
Of course, changing the rear wiper blade isn’t for everyone and some vehicles make it trickier than others. For many people, it’s more practical to simply have it done by a professional installer during routine service such as an oil change. Some installers may replace the entire blade assembly, while others might only replace the rubber insert. Whatever the case, you can trust that they have the tools and experience necessary to get the job done correctly. At the end of the day, the safety of you and your passengers is what’s most important.