Your car's wiper cowl, just like any exterior accessory, gets a lot of beating whenever you drive your car. After all, it's regularly exposed to plenty of dust, grime, bug juice, road debris, and extreme temperatures. Now your vehicle will still work if this part breaks down, but a busted wiper cowl is a sight for sore eyes. It also means less protection for your vehicle's more fragile wiper arms. So before a worn-out cowl makes your car look older than its actual age or eventually lead to wiper arm damage, replace it as soon as possible. Here's how:
- Socket wrench
Step 1: Remove the wiper arm.
Using a socket wrench, remove the nuts that hold the wiper arm in place. Then lift up the wiper arm assembly by pulling off its black plastic cover from the base. If the wiper arms won't seem to budge, wiggle them a bit until you can easily lift them off from the vehicle.
Step 2: Remove the old wiper cowl.
In order to get access to the cowl assembly, lift up the hood. Look at your car's old cowl and see how it's attached. Depending on your car make and model, the cowl could either be screwed on, clipped on, or taped onto the windshield trim. Once you've figured out how your cowl is installed, use a screwdriver to unbolt it, use a pair of pliers and a screwdriver to unlock and pry off the clips, or simply pry the wiper cowl off with a screwdriver if it's a stick-on type. Be careful not to nick or scratch nearby parts with the screwdriver. Use your fingers to slowly wiggle and yank off the cowl from the windshield trim. Now is also a good time to remove wiper fluid hoses or tubes attached under the cowl. These parts are usually installed using clips; just squeeze the clips to loosen the tubes or use pliers to remove them from underneath the cowl.
Step 3: Install the new wiper cowl.
Slide the new cowl in place. Reinstall any hoses or tubes you've previously removed by sliding and clipping them in position. Be careful not to scratch the hood or the windshield. Depending on the type of cowl that's suited for your vehicle, you either have to bolt the cowl, clip it on, or stick it in place. Follow the cowl manufacturer's instructions for proper installation. If you're installing a stick-on cowl, make sure outside temperatures are above 60 F. Installing a stick-on cowl during winter or freezing temperatures isn't a good idea since the adhesive strips won't stick on properly to the mounting surface.
Tips to keep in mind
- If you want to match the cowl to your car's exterior, choose a replacement part that can be easily painted.
- When installing a new cowl, now is the best time to inspect the wiper arms for signs of old age or damage and replace them if necessary.
- If your new cowl is a stick-on type, it usually includes a foam strip. Make sure this strip is properly attached between the cowl and the hood as this piece of foam is designed to protect the underside of the hood.