Are Wiper Blades Universal?
Wiper blades come in countless styles, sizes and variations to suit all drivers and all vehicles. They’re not universal, and it can be difficult to know which ones to buy when replacing your windscreen wipers.
In this blog post, we’ll cover all of the wiper blade types that you need to know about to make an informed decision when you change yours.
Wiper Blade Position
The first thing you will need to decide when changing your wiper blades is whether you need to replace your driver-side, passenger-side or rear wiper blades. Driver-side and passenger-side wiper blades can be purchased individually or in pairs. Rear wiper blades are typically sold singularly, and some vehicles don’t use them at all.
Keep in mind that the condition of your wiper blades will be checked in your MOT.
Wiper Blade Fittings
When you replace your windscreen wipers, you rarely need to replace the entire wiper. Usually, you can keep the arm and just replace the blade that connects into place. Different blades connect to the arms in different ways. Many use hook mechanisms, but others use side-pin, top-lock, pinch-tab, bayonet and slim-top mechanisms. Each set of blades comes with a picture diagram that will show you how to slot your new blades onto your wiper arms.
Standard Wiper Blades
These are usually attached to the vehicle using a hook-shaped arm fitting. As the most common types of wiper blades, these wipers are coated with rubber squeegees or halogen-hardened rubber. They are manufactured for virtually all makes and models.
Spoiler Wiper Blades
Manufacturers produce these wipers with a full spoiler that runs the entire length of the blade. This enables the blades to sit flush to the windscreen and travel at higher speeds. These blades are usually designed for the driver’s side only, and they typically connect to the wiper arm via a hook-shaped fitting.
Flat Wipe Blades
Manufacturers produce these slim-design wipers with a rubber-coated, tensioned metal strip. Their flat, aerodynamic shape reduces wind noise and improves wiper efficiency. The internal metal strip applies continuous pressure to the blade to minimise obstruction to the driver’s field of vision. These blades rarely have hook fittings, instead using side-pin, bayonet or pinch-tab connections.
Hybrid Wiper Blades
Combining the aerodynamic design of flat blades with the solid form of conventional wipers, hybrid wiper blades enable smooth airflow and sturdy support for the rubber wipers, producing an efficient, noiseless wiping motion.
Specific-Fit Wiper Blades
These Original Equipment wipers are produced for specific vehicles that require unique blades.
Consisting of the protective rubber casing only, these refills are a low-cost alternative to replacing the entire blade. However, it is easier, quicker and (usually) more effective to replace the entire blade, as its superstructure becomes weaker over time.
Choosing Your Wiper Blades
Most wipers measure between 10 and 28 inches. Sometimes, matching sizes are required for the driver and passenger sides. However, different sizes are usually required for each side of the windshield.