Front Wiper Blade Replacement

There were two things that bugged me about the stock wiper blades on the Mazda3:

  1. The blades at rest sat high on the windshield, which obstructed my view across the hood.
  2. The wiping coverage on the windshield was relatively small compared to the overall service area.

So to fix #1, I found a way to adjust the placement on the windshield – effectively lowering them closer to the cowl and out of my normal vision. For #2, I decided to go for a larger wiper blade on the driver’s side. This post outlines how to accomplish both as part of a routine wiper blade replacement.

First things first: the plan. I wasn’t positive that a new blade would work, so I went with a small increase on my first attempt: 22″ driver/19″ passenger versus the stock 21″/19″. On the 2nd replacement a year later, I felt comfortable going with a 24″/19″.

As you can see I went with a very low-tech solution on the 2nd try: cut a post-it note into a strip, marked 1″ from the edge and attached it to the top of the wiper. Increasing a blade size by 2″, only increases each end by 1″. The theory is that if the other blade hits the post-it note, I’m out one crumpled piece of paper and not a wiper jam with possible motor damage. Turns out it worked ok.

The passenger was already very close to the edge. No need to increase the size there.

The Mazda3 wiper blade attach using a fairly standard mechanism so aftermarkets were easily installed and available. At the recommendation of Consumer Reports, I gave Anco 31 series blades a try. Overall they were of good quality, very cheap, and the first set lasted 5 months with no problems.

Love the Rain-X stuff by the way. It keeps the windshield much cleaner day-to-day because the water doesn’t accumulate on the surface – leaving dirt/residue behind.

Removal: The Anco blades disconnect by rotating the blade into a “T” shape, pressing the release lever, and sliding down.

It then pulls down and off with little trouble. In case you’re interested the J hook size is 1/2″.

Granted some of that is dirt, but the rubber does start to decay over time and you can see a bit of that in the picture. The summer sun and winter sub zero temperatures are not kind.

Installation of the new one is the reverse of the old. Slide it up and on to the hook until it faintly clicks into place, and rotate it down into normal position.

Next we need to adjust the placement on the windshield. There is a plastic cap on the nut that is held in place only with friction. A gentle pry with a screw driver and it came right off.

Scavenge up a 12mm socket wrench and it can be loosened. Notice I said “loosened”. You don’t have to take it all the way off. You just need some play to adjust the blade.

I didn’t put the driver’s side all the way down to the plastic at the base of the glass because I didn’t think the wiper would clear the path of the passenger side blade in time. Besides it was already below the level of the hood – any further would be of no benefit. A check of the wiping path shows that the two blades cleared by a couple inches. All that’s left is to apply the Rain-X and we’re set.

 

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