Big Rig Basics | Replacing wipers

Clean swipe

Frequently replace windshield wipers for an easy job that pays off with improved safety

While windshield wiper inserts can be replaced, most truckers replace the blade and bracket, which is much easier. The bracket that holds the blade straight often gets damaged while clearing the windshield in winter. Once it is bent, the blade will no longer lay flat against the windshield, so replacing it with every new blade makes sense.

1. Ensure your parking brake is securely engaged. Use a small stepladder to support yourself on the driver’s side of your truck while you work.

2. Pull the arm away from the windshield and rotate it outward until it is past the spring detent and remains extended.

3. Turn the blade away from the arm until the end closer to where the arm connects at the cowl is pointing toward the windshield. This will allow you to access a clip in the next step to release the blade assembly.

4. Use your thumb to depress the flat retaining clip where the center of the blade slides onto the wiper arm. Hold the clip snugly against the wiper arm with your left thumb, then slide the blade assembly toward the windshield end of the wiper arm with your other hand. This will allow you to separate the blade and its bracket from the arm.

5. The curved end on the arm looks like this. This is the part into which the blade assembly’s mounting part slides. Position the new blade assembly so the part that slides into the end of the arm is properly positioned.

6. Position the new blade as shown, then turn it so the blade is in line with the arm, and where the previous blade was removed. Turn the mounting part out of the bracket slightly and position the bracket so the mounting part lays flat against your side of the arm. The flat end will point toward the windshield, and the curved end will face toward the outer end of the arm.

7. Slide the assembly toward the outer end of the arm. The mounting part will slide into the part on the end of the arm. It will soon hit the outer end of the arm, and the clip will latch the arm snugly into position.

8. Turn the blade and bracket parallel to the arm and then gently pull the arm toward you and lay the blade flat against the windshield. The blade assembly on the passenger side of the truck is replaced in the same way.

Truckers News thanks Harvey Truck Center, New Castle, Del., and Bill Smith, service manager, for help with this story.

Combating Ice

Owner-operator Gordon Bow uses winter-style blades made by Trico and others. A rubber cover or boot surrounds the entire arm of these blades. “I use them because the rubber cover keeps ice from building up and making it impossible for them to clean the windshield.”

He always carries these with him because snow can show up unexpectedly. For anyone who runs far enough north to encounter snow a significant number of days a year, it makes sense to use these, except in summer.

Changing Wipers

Level of difficulty: (scale of 1-10 with10 being the hardest job): 1

Time needed: 10 minutes

Tools needed: none

Watch for Small Parts

This Volvo VN and many other tractors have under-hood air intake systems that connect with outside grills only when the hood is closed. When handling small parts like adapters as you work, be careful not to drop them into the air intake system.

Big Rig Basics Tips

Heavy-haul and oversize driver Gordon Bow, who operates out of Oakfield, N.Y., carries a case of wiper blades with him at all times so he can change them right away if they show signs of improper operation.They normally wear out at almost the same rate, but he changes both sides even if one is still usable.

He also carries an extra set of flex arms in case a spring would fail and keep the wipers from staying tight against the windshield and performing properly.

He uses a product like Rain-X on the windshield because it helps keep the blades from sticking when ice starts to freeze on the glass. Bow periodically uses rubbing alcohol on a clean rag to wipe down the rubber to help the wipers fit right against the windshield.

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