How To Refinish A Worn-Looking Windshield Wiper Arm On Your Vehicle


Windshield wiper arms can lose their paint and become pitted and dented through years of use. If your vehicle's wiper arms are looking bad, then you can refinish them yourself. Keep reading to see what you will need and how to do it:

Tools and materials needed

Satin or low gloss enamel spray paint

Spray filler primer

Sheet of 200-grit sandpaper

Sheet of 400-grit sandpaper

Socket set

Ten feet of twine

Steel wire brush

Bearing or gear puller

Wooden block

Clean shop towel

Trisodium phosphate powder

Rubber gloves


Step-by-step procedure

1. Remove the windshield wiper arm and blade from the vehicle - While it is possible to paint the wiper arm while still on the vehicle, it is best to remove it first. Controlling paint overspray can be difficult, and it will require you to cover most of the hood and windshield. In addition, you will likely find it tricky to adequately paint the wiper arm where it connects to the motor assembly.

Removing the wiper arm isn't difficult, but you will need to use a bearing or gear puller to remove it. The wiper arm will be fitted to a splined (grooved) shaft and may be held in place by a cap nut. If there is a nut in place, use a socket to remove it first and set it aside in a safe location. Next, place the center shaft of the puller on top of the wiper arm shaft and adjust the puller arms so they slip underneath the wiper arm. Tighten the puller, so it applies upward pressure to the puller arms and lifts the wiper arm off the shaft. Keep tightening the puller until the wiper arm slips free from the splined shaft.

2. Remove the wiper blade from the wiper arm - After you have taken the wiper arm off the vehicle, you need to remove the wiper blade. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the blade assembly will be clipped on or held in place with another type of fastener. Loosen the fastener and slip the blade assembly from the arm. It's a great time to replace a worn wiper blade while everything is disassembled, so toss the blade if it is beginning to crack or become noisy during use. Also check the windshield for any cracks.  If there are small chips, consider repairing them before they spread and lead to a windshield replacement

3. Prepare the surface of the wiper arm for painting - Once you have stripped down the wiper arm, you will need to prepare it for its new paint job. Begin by using a steel wire brush to scrub the surface of the wiper arm to remove small areas of oxidation or rust. Next, use a sheet of 200-grit sandpaper folded over twice to remove excess material and old paint, then follow up with a 400-grit folded sheet of sandpaper to smooth and blend the bare metal surface.

In addition, the wiper arm will need to be thoroughly cleaned so the primer and paint adheres. Dissolve one tablespoon of trisodium phosphate (TSP) powder in two cups of hot water, and apply the solution to the wiper arm surface using a sponge; be sure to wear rubber gloves when handling TSP, as it can cause skin irritation. Rinse the wiper arm in plain, hot tap water to remove the TSP residue and allow it to air dry completely before moving to the next step.

4. Prime and paint the surface of the wiper arm - After you have cleaned the wiper arm, tie the end of a piece of twine to the end of the arm, then hang the wiper arm to a suitable overhead anchor point in a somewhat sheltered, but well-ventilated area. Adjust the height of the wiper arm, so the tip hangs approximately at eye level.

Next, begin spraying the wiper arm using a spray can of filler primer; ordinary primer will suffice, but it will not fill in pitted areas and leads to a less-attractive finish. Spray the wiper arm lightly and be sure not to coat it too thick. Allow the primer to dry to the touch, then spray another light coat if necessary. Permit the wiper arm to dry for a couple of hours before painting.

Once the primer is thoroughly dry, apply light coats of spray enamel paint in a satin or low-gloss finish. Avoid using a flat finish, as it will look dull and unnatural, but also do not use a high-gloss formula due to potential problems with adherence to the wiper arm. After you finish painting the wiper arm, allow it to dry overnight before handling.

5. Re-install the wiper arm on the vehicle - When you have finished painting the wiper arm and allowed it dry, you can re-attach the wiper blade or install a new blade, if necessary. Next, align the base of the wiper arm with the shaft and push it into position onto the shaft. If you can't push the arm all the way into place, wrap a scrap piece of wood with a shop towel, then use it to gently tap the wiper arm into position. Be sure to reinstall the cap nut, if one was removed in step 1.



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After my old car finally bit the dust, I knew that I needed something that would last for another 20 years or so. Instead of heading out to buy a car right away, I spent a lot of time doing my research. I test drove several different vehicles and I even checked consumer reporting agencies to see which vehicle had the best trade-in value. After I found a car that I felt comfortable with, I did my best to argue down the price. This blog is all about finding a great car and negotiating a great deal so that you don't have to deal with buyer's remorse later.