Windshield wipers: can one buy just blades anymore?


#1

I bought some replacement windshield wipers for my pickup (87 Toyota XtraCab Deluxe 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual, carbureted, longbed, platormate, green power crystals, gl-7, crelm) but they didn’t attach to the arms. It’s arms have 2 screws; all of those I could see at the stores (Wal-mart, Autozone) have only 1. I used to be able to buy just the rubber part, not the whole assembly, but didn’t see that at either place. Am I out of luck?


#2

Try NAPA…


#3

None of my local napa stores carry the wiper inserts

Apparently, it’s a waste of valuable space, as it’s a slow mover, and pretty much nobody ever asks for inserts these days

Autozone, pep boys, o’reilly’s and carquest also don’t carry inserts

Ironically, our local Honda and Toyota dealers carry inserts, but only for their factory wiper blades


#4

Speaking for myself the last time I used inserts I sliced a finger real good. Now I just stop at Advanced Auto and they install the blades for me if they are not to busy.


#5

Yes the blade inserts were cheaper, @VOLVO_V70 only minor cuts for me, Sure I would still do them, but old age, most efficient use of time, laziness and enough money to not worry about $5 vs $20 I am happy enough to do the whole blade replacement.


#6

I bought refills recently from rock auto, they were around $3 a pair. I added them to a parts order otherwise the shipping cost isn’t worth it. I haven’t seen refills in stores for a long time. I find it a waste to replace the whole frame every time.


#7

I’ve purchased inserts at O’Reily (chain auto parts store). They didn’t quite fit but I was able to make them fit by trimming them a bit. Worked fine w/a little diy’er improvisation. But I prefer to just take the vehicle to my local non-chain auto parts place and they’ll take a look at what’s on there, and either give me the exact wiper blades I need or order it up. At one point the inserts for the blade I used became unavailable, so they installed a new blade for which inserts are readily available. Worked out good for my purposes, I change the inserts regularly now.


#8

The effort for inserts can be worth it. I have silicone ones that work better and longer than rubber.
Sends less to the landfill and can cost about the same as a whole blade.


#9

Where do you get them?

I don’t mind the few bucks to buy the whole assembly. The one I bought won’t attach to the arm; the others look like they won’t. I have original equipment, so I could go to the Toyota dealer.


#10

You’re contradicting yourself, IMO

You said “The effort for inserts can be worth it.”

Then you said “can cost about the same as a whole blade.”

If it was worth it, the insert would cost less than the whole blade


#11

No contradiction. The silicone blade inserts last longer (about 2-3x) than regular blades. And not generating as much waste is also valuable to me.


#12

The brand is probably more helpful; it is PIAA. A tip is to match the width of the existing insert with what PIAA sells. I’ve read that 15" - 22" silicone blade refills are 1/4" (6mm) wide, while the 24" - 28" blades are 5/16" (8mm) wide.
The longer ones can be cut to shorter lengths if the wider width is needed.

And I’m not being cagey: the last set were online from a big online only entity (I don’t want to advertise for them).


#13

Even attempting to stock refill blade inserts is an inventory crap-shoot that most places just give up on since there are so many strange and different types . . and manufacturers each with their own brilliant idea of how to build them.
A DIY purchaser almost always brings them back because they don’t fit right with the package all torn up. Or they force them in anyway, they don’t work right, and it’s all your fault.
Ford stopped selling inserts twenty years ago and my part time job at Auto Zone a while back gave me this insight as to the Rubik’s Cube of insert sales.
The only way to get inserts right is to have the whole blade off first to be able to match the ear width and depth plus the attachment style. Most DIY won’t take the time to notice all the variations and by the time they bring it in the shop to do that . . we may as well just quickly replace the whole thing and be done with it.


#14

Apparently you can because my overly-thrifty neighbor always buys them and then asks me to come install them because they’re such a pain in the butt. For my car, I just buy the replacement assembly. Life’s too short to screw around with all that time consuming stuff.


#15

They sell them at Amazon.

It seems like something you should be able to buy in bulk, doesn’t it? As in a roll that you could cut to the size you need?


#16

I believe that McParts stores are eliminating the inserts because customers want them installed for free and that is time consuming and often results in failure. Then the store must install loaded wiper blades for the price of the inserts.


#17

The inserts have a rigid metal spine that doesn’t bend/coil easily. A roll probably isn’t possible.


#18

The inserts I used a few years ago were only the rubber portion. The metal strip was taken from the old insert and put into the new one.

It probably depends on the manufacturer.


#19

Rolls of rubber will probably dry and harden over time, so probably not a great long term solution. I have no idea if silicone ones come in rolls.


#20

I hope you demand a case of beer as payment :beers: