Breathing new life into your old rusty windscreen wipers

If your windscreen wipers are starting to look a little shabby (the whole mechanism, not just the blades themselves) then there’s a few options. You could buy a whole new assembly, go to the wreckers for a better-than-your-current-set from a similar model or do what we did: break out the tools and really get to work. (Note: there’s not that much work involved.)

On Project WRX the wipers had faced a one way battle with the elements and come out barely breathing. Surface rust was starting to take over and the sun had really started to leach the color off. Completely understandable on a 20 year old pair of windscreen wipers. Since we’re planning to put this on the market soon, something had to be done. Here’s how we really brought them back from the dead.

  1. Pry off the plastic caps at the base of the windscreen wipers and undo the nut underneith to get them off. A good idea is to put the nut back on the assembly so you don’t lose it later.
Windscreen wiper
Best left here for safe keeping.
  1. Remove any surface rust before you apply the paint as painting over the rust will only give you headaches later when it returns. Sandpaper is fine as long as it’s not super coarse. We used a Ozito rotary tool with a sandpaper head and it only took seconds to file off the rust.
Windscreen wiper
surface rust begone!
  1. Clean the windscreen wipers with methylated spirits or similar oil and grease remover so the paint has a much better chance to stick.

  2. Originally I was going to lay down a coat of primer so the paint really took hold but I saved costs with a can of Rust-Oleum 2x ultra cover which has the primer already mixed in (around 12 bucks from your local hardware store.) It sprays easily, dries quickly, can be used on outdoor jobs and looks great.
    Originally for my windscreen wipers I was thinking a flat matt black but the Rust-Oleum does come in a Satin Black which suits the wipers perfectly.
    Make sure you paint them in a well ventilated area (we chose a big open corner of the workshed) and that your work area is clean and well masked from overspray.
    After one coat you can only see where the rotary tool has done it’s best work if you really look up close…but who actually gets up close and personal to a set of windscreen wipers??

Windscreen wipers
12 bucks at your local hardware store.
  1. Make sure you spray from different angles to ensure you don’t miss any spots. A fresh sheet of newspaper before the start of each coat is a helpful guide to see if there’s any areas that paint isn’t getting to.
Windscreen wipers
After 1 coat it’s already looking a million miles better.
  1. Let it dry. Yes we know you’re keen to get them back on but make sure it’s 100% dry lest you end up with bits of Satin Black all over your windscreen and duco..

  2. Install them back on, don’t overtighten the nut, pop the cover back on and then test the windscreen wipers to make sure they’re aligned correctly and not likely to slip. Do this before you hit a massive patch of rain to save any hassles.

  3. Treat yourself to a beer for some of your best work. In between sips work out what you’re going to paint next..

Found this post helpful and want to say thanks? Feel free to kick in a couple of bucks below – all donations to the next car project greatly appreciated!

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