Frugal windshield wiper replacement ideas?

Toyota Corolla windshield wiper replacement

What are you folks recommendations for frugal windshield wiper replacement? I can buy the whole wiper unit at a store like Target or my chain retail auto parts store, but each side costs $12 or more, each. Some brands cost as much as $25 per side. Seems a little pricy for what I really need, just a new strip of rubber. Is it possible these days to purchase just the blade inserts? Where?

And if I’m able to find just the insert for sale, is there an easy way to remove the old inserts? When I’ve done this before, I usually end up damaging my fingers in the process. Is there a special tool available that holds those two little pins inward so the insert can be slipped out?

Look for the windshield wiper blade refills. They can be found online or at most large auto parts stores. The only tool that I know of for changing out the blades is my fingers. That’s what I use.

Thanks @missileman … looks like I can buy Bosch refills online for about $3-$4 per side.

Or just rub down the old ones with denatured alcohol! I have not seen blade refills in years, they were kind of a pain sometimes, but I would do it I think.


Denatured alcohol is ethanol. Ethanol can damage rubber components.

You want to use Isopopyl alcohol to clean wiper blades as this doesn’t damage rubber.


I, for one, am through with cheap wiper blades. Early last year we traded a luxury brand 2008 for a 2013. The 2008 had the original wiper blades that were still good and you can be sure that I know the difference.

I did not determine the wiper blade brand used on the 2008 but now I am trying out more expensive wiper blades on one of our other cars to find one that can last 5 years now that I know it is possible at least here in the north where the sunlight is not so harsh on rubber. Expensive blades can not only be cheaper in the long run but a side benefit is that you always have good wipers.

Maybe it’s just me, but I never had much luck with re-fill blades. I’ve gotten Anco bracketed units for around $10, but I find Rain-X Latitude beam blades worth the money, especially in winter. $35 every 12-18 months won’t break the bank.

What year Corolla? Does it have a modern “frameless” wiper blade?
One thing I do to keep the cost under control is change the drivers side when the performance starts to deteriorate but wait on the passenger’s side until I prep for my annual inspection. I consider wipers to be a critical safety item, especially in my climate, but the driver’s side wiper pretty much keeps my field of view clear.

I got Rain-X wiper blades (not the beam type) . . . ONCE . . . they were absolute crap

I’ve found Bosch blades to be good, but very expensive

Then I went to Toyota and bought the factory blades

When it was time for wipers again, I bought the refills at Toyota . . . much cheaper than buying decent blades at a parts store

We use Anco blades at work. They clean well, but the frame sometimes literally breaks apart

FWIW . . . I’ve never seen any wiper blade last longer than 12 months tops

In fact, most of them seem to last about a half year

The cheaper Michelin blades at Walmart have worked well for me.

My car dealer brags they give free wipers with every service. Stupid me, I let them do it, BIG mistake, terrible blades.

My local AutoZone has refills of all types, but they keep them in back, not on the rack with the expensive ones. You have to ask the counter guys. They run about $5 a pair. It is helpful to take your frames inside as they come with varying widths, and sometimes two different lengths on the same car. That helps the counter guys who can’t seem to look anything up without a computer.

The trick to installing most of them is that you slip the refill into the frame, skipping the one on the end that is supposed to hold the barb that holds the refill in place. Then you slip the barb into end that holds it in place from the opposite direction.

I use Bosch Icon blades, nothing else I’ve tried works as well or lasts as long. You get what you pay for.

I really like TricoFlex blades. Pricy at a parts store, but I buy them from rockauto. Last time, I bought a private label package (same thing but with a different name on the package) and they have been excellent as well. Total about $2 each.

That last paragraph is why nobody buys replacement rubber anymore.

An hour of cussing, fighting and getting sliced up…for $10 savings??

My two-word summary of replacements blades is “economize elsewhere.”

@GeorgeSanJose, I hate those plastic adapters that come with those ‘universal’ replacement blades for screw-on Toyota wiper arms of that era. Fortunately, my dealer had replacement wipers with U-hook adapters. I bought two for the Celica and three for my Supra. About $12.99 apiece. The Supra blades I just replaced for thr first time, and the u-hook accepted the new blade, no problem. Getting the old ones out was a bear, tho.

Mine are $35 each at the dealer, but the connectors are a different style so have no choice. I always replaced the whole blade. It seemed to work a lot better. Never had any luck with just the refill. I don’t ever use the winter, triple blade, etc. stuff. If they were so hot I think they’d come with the car.

The last time I messed with wiper blade refills was when a dealership left them on my passenger seat for free while I was having the car serviced. These days I buy the store brand wherever I happen to be shopping for the full blade, metal bracket and all, because even if you manage to get the blade refill in the bracket correctly, there is a pretty good chance either the blade or one of the metal strips on either side will start to slip out before it’s time to replace them again.

IF attempting to do just refills…WATCH OUT that the width matches ! ( too skinny and they’ll fall out, too wide and they won’t flex right. )
Here is the main reason refills are so difficult to get right.
Far too many manufacturers have a different idea. In Motorcraft alone I have three different part number groups to pick from .
Which brings up the fact that NO o.e. car brand makes their own blades. They are all sublet to blade manufacturers like Anco, Trico and others then boxed and labeled with the car brands.
— this is why Ford/Motorcraft completely stopped ofering refills. They were too hard to match even to o.e. then add customer’s self replacement with another brand somewhere along the line and getting a refill right was a complete waste of time.

I have a line of Motorcraft to fit your Toyota for just 9.98 each.

El-cheapo just got to walmart.

Someone who has answers for almost every question asked on this forum has to have help with wiper blades. OK fine

I use Bosch Icon blades, nothing else I've tried works as well or lasts as long. You get what you pay for.

I love when someone with a 50k truck or Suv goes into autozone and buy “value craft” wiper blades. I see it all the time…