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Drive with clear vision

Rain, snow, dead bugs and bird poo - your car's wiper blades have to cope with it all. And it's vital they do - unless your windscreen is clear, you are a danger to yourself and others.

Split, cracked or perished wiper blades will lead to an MOT test failure, but they should be checked much more frequently than once a year. In fact, Haynes Manuals list wiper blades in the section on weekly checks for your vehicle.

Haynes is the world's leading publisher of automotive repair manuals and renowned for teaching millions of car owners how to carry out routine maintenance and repairs. Haynes publishes manuals for more than 300 models of cars and vans as well as useful glovebox guides such as 'Your Car'. Many DIY maintenance tasks are very straightforward and take only a few minutes. Replacing wiper blades is one of them and you'll hardly get your hands dirty. First, check the condition of each of the wipers on your car - don't forget the one for the rear screen and those little ones on the headlamps (if fitted). If any need renewing, measure the lengths of the blades in inches (rounded up to the nearest whole number). Now go shopping!

These days, new wiper blades (the rubber strips) come ready fitted to their metal mountings. If yours is an older or a classic car, you may be able to replace only the rubber portions, but it's a fiddly business. Renewing the whole blade is generally a better bet.

Buy the wiper blades to suit your exact year and model of vehicle - double-checking the lengths with your measurements. Note that some cars have wiper blades fitted with wind deflectors, and that some have different length blades on each side.

Fitting New Windscreen Wipers

(Courtesy of Haynes Service & Repair Manuals) Now follow these simple steps to fit the replacement wiper blades. The only tool you may need is a small screwdriver for dealing with the securing clips.

The type of clip we show here is typical but they do vary - see your Haynes Service and Repair Manual for details of the type fitted to your car.

Step 1

With the ignition off, unwrap your new blades and double check that they are the correct replacements. Lay them carefully on the bonnet - orientated correctly to the old blades, as this will help you fit them the right way round. Lift the wiper arm away from the screen until it locks in the upright position, or just hold on to it.

Step 2

Turn the old blade at right angles and unhook it; it may be necessary to depress one or two securing tabs to release it.

Step 3

If necessary, fit the correct plastic adaptor to the new blade - look on the packet for details. (Some blades come with the correct adaptor ready fitted.)

Step 4

Fit the blade to the arm, making sure it's fully home. Lower the blade gently on to the screen; wet the glass and check for correct operation.

There, it's as simple as that! If smearing is still a problem despite fitting new wiper blades, try cleaning the glass with a proprietary screen cleaner or a little undiluted screenwash additive.

For more advice on model-specific procedures, please refer to the appropriate Haynes Service and Repair Manual. Haynes Manuals are available from this website and all good car accessory retailers and bookshops including: Halfords, Motor World and WH Smith. Please use our comprehensive Stockist Locator in the left margin of this page.