Many motorists believe there’s no such thing as an easy DIY auto repair anymore. This blanket statement doesn’t cover the whole truth about the subject. In fact, some regularly scheduled maintenance items are easier to replace on a 2004 Chevy Malibu than a 1972 Chevrolet Malibu. Last month the MotorEra.com website touched on this subject in an article covering the top five best car repair tips.
In that brief article they talked about the oil change which we further explored in this piece about how to get a good oil change. Let’s take the 50,000 foot view from the tips article and bring it down to earth to focus on the easiest DIY auto repair. In fact, you’ll want to handle this particular service yourself from this day forward. Before we dig in, let me focus your attention to an article we put together explaining how to properly prepare for a DIY car repair. It contains insightful tips on how to get ready for success.
Easiest DIY Auto Repair
What if I told you there was an auto repair that needs to be done to your car once a year that didn’t even require popping the hood. Furthermore, you can get top quality parts to improve the safety of your automobile and perform the service in about 10 minutes. Yes, I’m talking about the replacement of the wiper blades. I know that it sounds like such an easy task that it shouldn’t even require an article.
However, if you think this you’re wrong, because so few people get it right. The biggest mistake people make is not doing it themselves. They let the auto repair shop do it instead. Don’t make this huge mistake. As a professional mechanic I can tell you that the shops I have worked for charge top dollar to replace the wiper blades for customers that are more than capable of doing it themselves. It goes beyond the cost of the service and the time restrictions of the busy motorist.
The auto repair shops that I worked for contracted to get the cheapest wiper blades they could find. Then they purchase these parts in bulk to save even more money. In addition, they marked these parts up 30 percent to maximize the profit. This means customers pay more than they should for parts that probably won’t even last a year. When those cheap, made in China, plastic wiper blades disintegrate in the middle of a rainstorm it can turn into an unsafe situation. High quality, metal framed, powder coated top-quality rubber wiper blades exist and you need to get a pair.
What Kind of Wiper Blade Should I Get
In the next sections we’ll talk about what kind of blades to get, how to install them and what kind of problems the new parts solve. Personally, I get my wiper blades from Michelin. That’s right, this tire company has a complete range of windshield wiper parts. Nobody makes better rubber than they do, in my opinion. Fortunately, they sell wiper blades directly to the consumer through big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target.
In these same stores you’ll find high-quality wiper blades from other suppliers like Bosch and Rain-X. Any of these parts far exceed the junk I was forced to install on people’s cars, because that’s the parts the shop used. Something else that the average consumer doesn’t realize becomes the design of the wiper blade. When you buy replacements from these top-of-the-line companies you get a built-in design that takes aerodynamics and consideration. That’s right; they use the wind at highway speeds to push the blade against the windshield. This provides superior clearing of the windshield that actually improves the faster you go.
People let the retail repair shop perform these easy DIY auto repairs, because they’re embarrassed to say they don’t know how to do it themselves. First of all, wiper blades are easier to install now than they were on automobiles from the 70s and 80s. Secondly, all you have to do is type the year, make and model of the vehicle into the YouTube search box with the words wiper blade. You’ll be amazed at the sheer number of high quality videos showing you exactly how to perform the service yourself.
New Wiper Blades Solve a Lot of Problems
Many motorists don’t realize how short the life of a wiper blade actually is. How long this rubber part survives depends a lot on environmental conditions. Another big factor becomes how the wiper blades are used and abused. The part of the rubber insert that touches the windshield is thin and delicate. If you use your blades to clean bird droppings off the windshield or ice and snow, they won’t even last a year. Why? You’ll get hairline cracks and fractures on the most important part of the rubber insert.
These can leave streaking marks across the windshield as the wipers sweep back and forth. And wiper blades that don’t properly clean the windshield become the number one complaint from drivers about this system. Another thing that remains high on the list of driver complaints when it comes to wiper blades becomes chattering. This horrible noise happens as the arms sweep back and forth. To understand how a worn or old blade can cause this condition let’s talk about how they operate when they’re new.
When the direction changes and the arms move in the opposite direction the rubber blade that contacts the windshield flexes. As the rubber ages, it loses this flexibility. Now the arms are dragging them across the windshield and this can cause the annoying wiper blade chatter. Diagnosing your windshield wiper problem should start with replacing the blades. Especially, if they’re more than a year old. With that said, the possibility exists that a more complex issues exist. In fact, you might want to learn more about the wiper motor and transmission assembly. Take a look at this comprehensive article about solving windshield wiper problems for more detailed information.