The windshield wiper arms on your Ford F150 allow you to clear rain, snow, and debris from your windshield quickly and easily. But over time, the wiper arms and blades can wear out or become damaged. When this happens, you’ll need to replace them. Removing the old wiper arm from your Ford truck is the first step in this repair process.
What You’ll Need To Remove the Wiper Arm
Removing and replacing the windshield wiper arm on your Ford F150 is a fairly straightforward job you can tackle yourself at home. Here’s a look at the basic tools and supplies you’ll need:
- Flathead screwdriver
- Wrench or socket set
- Replacement wiper arm and blade
- Clean rags
- Protective gloves
You may also find a pair of pliers helpful for removing any stubborn nuts or bolts. Be sure to locate and have your new replacement wiper arm ready before beginning the repair.
Step 1: Lift the Wiper Arm Off the Windshield
The first step is to lift the wiper arm up and away from the windshield. Here’s how:
- Turn off your F150’s ignition and remove the keys. This ensures the wipers won’t start moving while you’re working on them.
- Gently lift the wiper arm off the windshield. Don’t force it straight up – doing so can damage the wiper motor. Instead, lift it just enough so it stays locked in a vertical position off the glass.
With the wiper arm safely up, you can now access the mechanism connecting it to the wiper motor below.
Step 2: Locate the Locking Tab Under the Wiper Arm
On the underside of the wiper arm, you’ll notice a small locking tab that attaches it to the wiper motor on the vehicle. This tab is your next focus:
- Look under the raised wiper arm to find the tab. It will be located on the side facing the windshield.
- Note the tab’s orientation. You’ll need to know which way to push it in order to detach the wiper arm.
- Some wiper arm designs may have a nut or bolt instead. Use your wrench or socket set to loosen this.
Locating this tab or fastener is crucial – it’s what will ultimately allow you to remove the wiper arm from your truck.
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Step 3: Release the Locking Tab with a Flathead Screwdriver
With the wiper arm lifted and locking tab located, it’s time to release it:
- Insert a flathead screwdriver into the gap below the tab. The fit should be tight. You want the screwdriver tip to press directly underneath the tab.
- Carefully pry the tab upward. Don’t force it. Apply slow, steady pressure with your screwdriver until the tab lifts slightly.
- Hold the tab raised as you wiggle the wiper arm. Rock it back and forth until it detaches from the motor below.
Releasing this locking mechanism takes finesse. Don’t rush prying up the tab or you may damage it. Patience and the right technique will have the wiper arm off in no time.
Step 4: Remove the Wiper Arm From the Wiper Motor
With the locking tab released, you can now fully remove the wiper arm:
- Continue holding the tab up while pulling the wiper arm away. It should slide free of the motor shaft with steady pressure.
- Use pliers if the arm is stuck. Grip it just above the motor shaft and twist gently to work it loose.
- Set the detached wiper arm aside. You’ll want to transfer any bump stops or other hardware to the new arm.
- Clean the wiper motor shaft. Use a rag to remove any dirt or corrosion.
Be careful not to damage the exposed wiper motor shaft. Avoid bending it or allowing it to hit against anything hard. With the old wiper arm now fully detached, you can prep its replacement.
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Helpful Tips for Removing a Stubborn Ford Wiper Arm
While most F150 wiper arms will detach easily by following the steps above, you may occasionally encounter one that’s stuck and won’t budge. Here are some tips for removing a stubborn wiper arm:
- Spray lubricant on the underside of the arm. This can help loosen rust and corrosion. Let it soak in for 5-10 minutes before trying again.
- Use a rubber mallet to tap the arm. Deliver light taps aimed downward while wiggling the arm. This can help jar it from the motor.
- Try an impact wrench. Set it to a low torque setting and impact the bolt head or nut to break it free.
- Heat can help loosen things up. Use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm the wiper arm base and expand the metal. Be careful not to overheat plastic components.
- Cut away rubber covers. Removing rubber boots on the arm gives better access if a nut or bolt head is buried.
With patience and persistence, even the most stubborn wiper arms can be removed. Just work slowly and carefully to avoid damage.
Step 5: Install the New Wiper Arm on Your Ford F150
Once the old wiper arm is off, installing your new replacement is straightforward:
- Clean the wiper motor shaft again. Make sure no debris will interfere with the arm’s fit.
- Transfer any hardware or bump stops. Remove these from the old arm and install them in the same places on the new one.
- Slide new arm down over motor shaft. Rock side to side until fully seated. It should slide smoothly but fit snugly.
- Reconnect locking tab or tighten nut/bolt. Make sure the arm is securely attached and can’t detach from the motor.
- Lower arm back onto windshield. The new wiper should now operate normally.
Take a test drive and activate your wipers to ensure the new arm moves smoothly across the windshield and returns properly to the rest position.
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Performing Regular Wiper Arm and Blade Inspections
Replacing your F150’s windshield wiper arms and blades promptly when they show signs of wear is key to maintaining a clear field of vision in wet weather. Follow these tips for inspecting and replacing them when needed:
- Check wiper arms yearly. Look for damage and verify they still hold blades securely.
- Inspect wiper blades every six months. Replace any that appear frayed, cracked, or leave streaks.
- Rinse blades with washer fluid regularly. This removes debris that can impede proper contact with glass.
- Listen for screeching sounds. These indicate blade or arm problems that require attention.
- Replace wiper arms every 2-3 years. Friction wears down pivot joints over time.
- Consider installing winter blades. They flex better to clear snow and resist freezing temperatures.
Performing these inspections lets you spot issues before they become severe. Following the steps in this guide, you can easily replace the wiper arms and blades on your Ford F150 when needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I tell when my F150’s wiper arms need to be replaced?
Look for signs like squeaking, streaking, loosening at the base,difficulty staying in the rest position, and failure to hold wiper blades securely. If the blades aren’t clearing water well, the arms likely need replacement.
- Do I need any special tools to remove my Ford truck’s wiper arms?
No, only basic tools like a flathead screwdriver, pliers, and wrenches or sockets are required. The locking tab makes the arms easy to detach once lifted upward.
- What should I do if my wiper arm won’t come loose even after releasing the locking tab?
Try spraying lubricant on the joints and letting it soak in first. You can also try gently tapping the arm with a rubber mallet or applying heat with a hair dryer or heat gun to help loosen a stuck arm.
- How can I avoid scratching my windshield when removing wiper arms?
Be very careful about where you place tools. You can put a piece of painter’s tape on the glass underneath the wiper arm base to prevent scratches from tools. Never let the exposed wiper motor shaft touch the windshield.
- Do I need to replace both wiper arms at the same time? Yes, it’s recommended to always replace the driver and passenger side wiper arms as a set. That way their performance remains balanced.
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Removing a windshield wiper arm on a Ford F150 only takes a few simple tools and the know-how to release the locking tab or nut. Carefully follow the lift, locate, and pry steps to detach the arm. Installation of a new replacement arm is likewise straightforward. Keeping your truck’s wipers in good repair through regular inspection and timely replacement ensures you have a clear view of the road in any weather.