How to Remove a Windshield Wiper Arm Without Breaking It

Posted: January 1, 2020 By: MattM

Safely Remove A Windshield Wiper Arm

Windshield wipers are an integral part of safe driving and if you have wipers that miss spots on the windshield you may have worn out wiper blades or a failing wiper arm. Many times you can simply use some Penetrating Oil to soak the joint and spring in the wiper arm and work it back and forth to get it working again.

If after attempting to lubricate the wiper arm pivot point you find that you’re still having a problem you may need to install a new wiper arm. This may seem like a simple job seeing as there usually is only one nut holding the arm on; but this job can go really bad really fast if you don’t follow the proper procedure. Remember that wiper arms are spring loaded and if you have the wiper bladed removed and you accidentally let the wiper arm swing back it could break the windshield! So start by putting a piece of cardboard or padding on the windshield in line with the wiper arm. This will give you the peace of mind that a stray wiper arm doesn’t smack the windshield and cost you hundreds of dollars.

Next you will have to remove a cover or cap over the windshield wiper motor stud/nut. Most auto manufacturers use a press-on cap to cover the hole and keep moisture out of the wiper arm to wiper linkage joint. We’ve found using a nylon pry tool will save chrome and paint from chipping over prying the cap off with a flat head screwdriver like most people reach for.

Once you’ve pried the cap off you should see a small nut in the center of the wiper arm. Remove that completely with the correct size wrench or socket.

With the wiper arm retaining nut removed you can now lift the wiper arm up and fold it 90 degrees away from the windshield. With some luck a small wiggle of the arm will free it from the shaft; but that isn’t usually the case. Most wiper linkage shafts are tapered and splined and can be a very tight fit in a wiper arm.

At this point don’t reach for the pry bar or hammer! You need the right tool for the job! The Eastwood Wiper Arm Puller is a small tool that has a two-jaw configuration that opens up to 1 3/4″ wide to slip around and under the wiper arm. Put the fingers of the jaws under the base of the wiper arm and thread the center down until it contacts the center of the wiper motor stud.

When you slowly tighten the center screw down you should see the wiper arm slowly lifting off of the shaft. Most times once the shaft has moved an 1/8″ or more it will just slide right off of the shaft as most are a tapered fit. You can then thread the pull off of the wiper arm and install your new wiper arm. Be sure to clean the shaft splines with a small wire brush to assure no corrosion will cause difficulty when installing. You can then install your new wiper arm; being mindful to line up any splines or locating tabs on the wiper arm. You can the tighten the center wiper arm nut down to the manufacturers specifications and install the center nut cover.

Once your wiper blade is installed you can fold the wiper arm down onto the windshield and test their function. This job is fairly simple and overall should take 30 minutes or less. To see all of our automotive tools visit our site HERE.

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