Most people have experienced ice and snow build-up on their windshield wiper blades. In general, the solution is simple and fast. All you need to do is locate the window, hold the windshield wiper, and hit the ice against the windshield. However, by performing this procedure, you can cause the retaining nut to loosen, rendering your windshield wiper useless.
Part 1 of 2: Adjusting the retaining nut
Step 1. Turn off the windshield wiper switch
You should make the blades go to the rest position. Flip the ignition switch to turn off the vehicle and remove the key.
Step 2. Detach the arm from the base of the wiper
You will likely need to open the hood to perform this procedure.
You should place a rubber mat, cardboard box, or other material in the area around the base of the wiper to protect the glass and paint finish in case any tools slip
Step 3. Pry the plastic cap that covers the nut
You should verify that the position of the arm is still correct and use a small flat screwdriver to separate the cap (which covers the nut at the base of the arm) from the recessed spindle. The cover probably has a small slot that is used to insert the screwdriver. Once you remove the cap, you will have the access you need to remove the nut.
Step 4. Select a socket of the correct size for the hex nut
Now that you have removed the cap and can examine the hex nut that holds the wiper on the drive terminal, you must choose the appropriate bushing and place it over a ratchet wrench or an extension that is attached to this wrench (if necessary).
Make sure the gland is in an exact fit, as there are some that are metric and others that meet the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard. When you place the bushing on the nut, it should not wiggle and there should be no excess space between the two elements
Step 5. Set the ratchet wrench to make the nut tighten
This wrench is designed to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts. You should make sure to set it to rotate clockwise. This will tighten the nut.
Step 6. Tighten the nut
Place the socket (and short extension if necessary) over the ratchet wrench and slide it over the nut. Try to gently tighten the nut. If it turns easily, you should continue until it is snug. Then turn the nut about 1/8 of a turn to secure it. If the nut is already too tight, you should stop the procedure.
- If the nut just turns in place and does not tighten, both the drive terminal and the nut can come off. If the nut is loose, you need to replace it. If the drive terminal comes off, you'll need to replace it as well, which may involve replacing the windshield wiper motor.
- If the nut is too tight, you need to loosen it and remove the wiper arm to inspect it. If the base is bare or damaged, it may wiggle like a loose nut, but it cannot be repaired. You will need to purchase a new arm and install it.
Step 7. Test the windshield wipers
Turn the key inside the ignition switch, turn on the windshield wipers, and watch the arm travel to see if it is working properly. If the arm slips, you will need to replace it.
Part 2 of 2: Replace the arm
Step 1. Mark where the wiper blade rests
If the problem was not due to a loose nut, the arm has probably come off. In this case, it is necessary to replace it. The new arm has to rest in exactly the same place where the original one rested, to ensure proper displacement. To mark this spot, you can use a bar of soap, wax, or another easy-to-clean item.
Step 2. Remove the nut that secures the wiper arm to the drive terminal
- You should place the socket and ratchet wrench completely over the hex nut and hold both elements in place with one hand while stabilizing the arm firmly with the other hand. This will prevent the connection from exceeding the designed range of motion when turning the ratchet wrench.
- You must bend the wrench to turn the nut counterclockwise (from half a turn to a full turn).
- As soon as the hex nut is loosened, you should loosen the wiper arm and remove the socket and wrench from the nut. Finish removing the hex nut by hand and set it aside because you will use it again later.
Step 3. Completely separate the wiper arm from the drive terminal
Lift the wiper blade with one hand to separate it from the windshield and hold the attachment point with the other hand. Gently "rock" the blade back and forth as you lift it up with both hands and remove it from the drive terminal.
Step 4. Clean the splines on the driveshaft using a wire brush and a little multipurpose oil
In this way, you will remove the metals and dirt that are trapped between the splines of the shaft. Make sure the shaft is completely dry after cleaning.
Step 5. Examine the new arm
Make sure it has splines that match those on the shaft.
Step 6. Install the new arm
You need to align the splines so that they mate with the shaft. Make sure the wiper arm is in the correct resting position on the windshield. This should rest on the same mark that you made with the original windshield wiper.
Step 7. Gently rotate the arm down on the shaft
Ideally, use a tool that will not scratch the new wiper arm. You can use a rubber mallet for this procedure.
Step 8. Clean the threads of the retaining nut
This will help prevent it from twisting incorrectly, coming off, or getting damaged while you are adjusting it.
Step 9. Install the retaining nut by hand
Make sure the nut turns freely and does not screw the wrong way. If it turns easily, you should continue until it is snug. Next, you should turn the ratchet wrench about 1/8 of a turn to secure the nut.
Step 10. Test the arm travel to see if it is working properly
Spray some water or windshield washer fluid on the windshield. Then, flip the ignition switch and turn on the windshield wipers.
If the arms are cleaning each other, you should move them smoothly and not move them towards the trim on the edge of the windshield. You must turn off the windshield wiper switch and ignition key
Step 11. Replace the plastic cap
Use the rubber mallet (if necessary) and be sure to align the notches (or grooves caused by dragging tools) in their original positions.