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Windshield Wipers - Should They 'Flip'

Experience with a squeegee washing windows tells me that a wiper blade should flip its orientation each time it changes direction on the windshield. By that, I mean that the body of the blade should always lead the wiping edge, never be behind it, pushing the edge first. In my experience, if the blade runs edge first, it chatters. The driver’s side blade is 26" long and the passenger’s side blade is only 18" long. Only the former gives me problems with chatter.

Do others share this experience?

Is there something I can adjust to get my wiper blades to work correctly?

For a while I thought a windshield treatment might work. More careful research suggests that others have triggered wiper chatter with such a product.

Perhaps you just need a better quality wiper blade?

You might try replacing the blade, or you may need to bend the arm a little to assure that when the blade is not under pressure from the arm the actual blade is centered. If not you may need to bend the arm a little.

The OP did not tell us how old the blades are.
It is possible to need new blades every year or so, so it could just be a case of hardened rubber that does not yield to movement the way that it should.

The new-design Goodyear wiper blades are very good.
If you are a member of Costco, they are available there for the VERY reasonable price of $7.99 for any length.

so it could just be a case of hardened rubber …

if thats the case then it still needs new wipers.

Clean the rubber blade with rubbing alcohol.

“if thats the case then it still needs new wipers”

Bear in mind that the OP never actually told us that he replaced the blades.
I think it would be more accurate to say that it needs new wipers, rather than it still needs new wipers.

Speaking of orientation ; ( and if the blades are newish )
Where the ARM holds the body of the blade should be exactly parralel to the glass to allow for that flip over each way that you want. Check THAT as you replace with new blades.
– lift the arm, not the blade, so the blade tip is almost touching the glass and look at it endwise to see that the blade is being held square with the glass face , like a T.

if not, bend or twist the arm, not the blade, to re-orient that angle.

when the drivers side wiper on my wifes 02 Sonata was fine on the down stroke but chattered on the up stroke I simply put a little twist -as Ken suggests- in the wiper arm. Problem solved.

Two crescent wrenches made this a quick & simple job.

Thank you everyone for your pointers. The wipers are OEM Toyota parts that are about 1 year old. They behaved the same way the first time it rained after I installed them. It was raining today and I paid more attention. Neither wiper flips on the return, but the smaller works silently. Go figure.

I will take a closer look at the orientation of the blade. I will also give them a massage with rubbing alcohol.

Clearly, at rest, the blade is oriented so that the wiper edge is up. The car is not garaged, so the blades certainly can get set in that way, experiencing that position in all kinds of weather, but more sun than rain on the Bay side of the mid San Francisco Peninsula in Palo Alto.

Thanks again,


If you get ice on your windshield in winter, it is possible for the wiper arm to get twisted and that is one of the causes of you problem. This is why checking the orientation of the blade was suggested so many times above.

EDIT: Rain-X will not cause the blades to chatter, in fact it will reduce the chatter, but it wont help to make the blades “flip”. It takes friction to do that. Rain-X has other properties, like increasing forward visibility in highly raked windshields like yours that make it worth while doing. I highly recommend it especially if you do a lot of highway driving.

We had a brief respite from the rain yesterday. I cleaned the windshield with 1 Tbsp corn starch in 1 cup of water. I added a dash of water, stirred to wet the cornstarch, and then added hot tap water. I cleaned the wiper blades with a paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol. I wiped down the windshield with the cornstarch solution and wiped dry with a couple of dry paper towels. I did this inside and out. After 6 years there was an accumulation of plasticizer on the inside of the windshield. It rained again this evening. The wiper chatter is gone. The blades still don’t flip. When I get a chance I will try adjusting the angle a bit. My major goal is accomplished. The wipers work quietly.

Thanks again,


Put the correct length blade on

Stranger things have happened, but these blades were sold to my the Parts Department at our local Toyota dealership.

2004-2009 Prius calls for an 18 inch blade on the passenger side and a 26 inch blade on the drivers side. Many modern cars have unequal length blades in order to properly clear their rather rakish windshields, allowing the driver to see through them. Windshields are no longer a short, wide rectangle.

To the OP: You do not need to return to the dealership for simple things like this, or even simple things like oil changes, brakes, or tires. For wiper blades, you could buy them at Walmart and install them yourself, or if you don’t want to install them yourself, at an auto parts store and have the counter person install them for you. Wiper blades are almost impossible to screw up, and avoiding the dealership or any repair shop for replacement will probably save you a bundle on this simple item. Just so you know, Toyota does not make wiper blades. They buy them from a third party and package them in Toyota packaging. They are probably made by Anco.

The cleanup job worked for about a day, then the chatter began again. I then adopted Ken Green’s and 87_Ranger’s technique with the Crescent wrenches. It took a couple of gentle tweaks to overcome the problem. They’ve worked properly for several days now. If you alternate the heads so that the handles are almost overlapping it is relatively easy to squeeze them together and put a slight twist in the flat part of the arm. The direction of the twist should be self-evident. Thank you Ken Green and 87 Ranger for a long term fix.


Before you start trying to make adjustments to the arms, try new blades. Even if you bought the car brand nwe it could have been sitting on the lot and the blades could have been in need of replacement.

One tip: I use rubber-booted blades in the winter, and they’ll chatter on the highway from lift from the passing air flow. I use 2" shorter blades on the driver’s side (24" instead of 26") and one inch shorter on the passenger’s side (16" instead of 17") to reduce the lift. It sounds nutty, but it works.

For the record, I replace my blades once in fall, once in spring, and again in midsummer. I’ll replace them four or five times if necessary. A clean windshield is a pet peeve of mine. Blades are cheap, crashes are not.

Toyota (and Honda) sell a “wiper insert” which is just the rubber strip.
You can buy these online for less than the aftermarket wiper assemblies.

You can buy them at WalMart.