Windshield Wipers Giving You Trouble? Learn How to Adjust Wiper Arm Tension




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Your car’s windshield wipers are essential for maintaining visibility during bad weather. But if they are not performing optimally, they can be more of a hindrance than a help. One of the reasons your windshield wipers may not be performing as they should. Due to improper tension on the wiper arms. Adjusting the tension can help improve wiper performance. And keep your windshield clear during inclement weather. 

In this guide, we will show you how to adjust windshield wiper arm tension step-by-step. And provide tips to help you avoid common mistakes. With our simple instructions, you can say goodbye to poor wiper performance. Enjoy better visibility on the road. 

Why Adjusting Is Important

Adjusting the tension on your windshield wiper arms is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that the wiper blades make proper contact with the windshield. Which allows them to clear the surface effectively. If the tension is too loose, the blades may skip or chatter, leaving streaks or missing spots. Conversely, if the tension is too tight. The blades may not conform to the curvature of the windshield. Reducing their effectiveness.

Additionally, adjusting the tension can help prolong the lifespan of your wiper blades. When the tension is incorrect, the blades may become damaged or wear out unevenly. Leading to the need for a replacement sooner than expected.

Overall, proper adjustment of the tension on your windshield wiper arms is essential. For maintenance tasks that can improve wiper performance. And extend the lifespan of your wiper blades.

Tools You Need 

To adjust the tension on your windshield wiper arms, you will need the following tools:


It is essential for adjusting the tension spring located inside the wiper arm. By using the pliers, you can make the necessary adjustments. To improve the blade’s contact with the windshield, leading to better performance.

Flathead Screwdriver

The flathead screwdriver is used to remove the wiper arm from the wiper linkage, allowing access to the tension spring. It’s important to use a flathead screwdriver. As other types of screwdrivers could cause damage to the wiper arm or linkage.

Torque Wrench

The torque wrench is needed to ensure that the wiper arm is reinstalled correctly. And tightened to the appropriate torque specification. This is crucial because if the wiper arm is too loose or too tight. It can cause the wiper blade to skip or chatter across the windshield, reducing its effectiveness.

Step-by-Step Guide

Adjusting the tension on your windshield wiper arms is an essential part of keeping your vehicle safe. And ready for any weather conditions. Poor windshield wiper performance can lead to reduced visibility. It makes driving more dangerous in inclement weather. To keep your wipers functioning correctly, you need to ensure that the wiper arm tension is set correctly. 

Adjusting the tension on your windshield wiper arms can be a simple process if you follow these steps:

Lift the Wiper Arm First:

Lift the wiper arm away from the windshield, so it stays in the raised position. This makes it easier to access the tension spring.

Remove the Wiper Arm Next:

Use the flathead screwdriver to remove the nut that holds the wiper arm to the wiper linkage. Once the nut is removed, you can gently pull the wiper arm off the linkage. Be careful not to damage the linkage while doing this.

Locate the Tension Spring:

The wiper arm was removed, and you can now locate the tension spring. It’s usually located inside the wiper arm and can be adjusted with a pair of pliers.

Adjust the Tension Spring Using the pliers:

Adjust the tension spring to the desired tension. Be careful not to over-tighten the spring, as this can cause damage to the wiper arm or linkage.

Reinstall the Wiper Arm: 

Once you have adjusted the tension spring it’s time to reinstall the wiper arm. Line up the wiper arm with the wiper linkage and tighten the nut using the torque wrench to the appropriate torque specification.

Test the Wiper Blade Finally:

Test the wiper blade to make sure it’s working correctly. Turn on the wipers and check to see that the blade is making good contact with the windshield and clearing away any debris or water.

By following these steps, you can easily adjust the tension on your windshield wiper arms. Ensure that your wipers are working correctly, providing clear visibility on the road.

How Often Should You Adjust Windshield Wiper Arm Tension?

The windshield wiper arm tension should be adjusted whenever you notice. That your wipers are not performing optimally. Signs that your wipers may need adjustment. Include skipping, chattering, or streaking across the windshield. Other factors that can affect wiper performance.  Include extreme weather conditions, worn wiper blades, or damaged wiper arms.

In general, it’s a good idea to inspect your wipers regularly and make any necessary adjustments. As soon as you notice any issues with their performance. Some experts recommend adjusting wiper arm tension at least twice a year, typically before the winter and summer seasons. However, the frequency of adjustment may vary depending on your driving habits. The climate in which you live, and other factors that affect wiper performance.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Adjusting 

When adjusting the windshield wiper arm tension, there are several common mistakes. That people make can lead to poor wiper performance or even damage to the wiper arms.

One common mistake is adjusting the tension too tightly, which can put excess strain. On the wiper motor and cause the wiper blades to wear out more quickly. On the other hand, adjusting the tension too loosely can result in the wiper blades not making good contact with the windshield.  Leading to poor visibility and potentially dangerous driving conditions.

Another mistake is forgetting to replace worn or damaged wiper blades before adjusting the wiper arm tension. Worn blades can cause poor performance, even if the wiper arm tension is set correctly.

It’s also important to avoid using excessive force when adjusting the wiper arm tension, as this can damage the wiper arms or the motor. Finally, forgetting to test the wiper’s performance after adjusting the tension is a common mistake. That can lead to poor visibility on the road.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following the proper steps for adjusting the windshield wiper arm tension. You can ensure that your wipers are working correctly. Providing clear visibility on the road, and keeping you and your passengers safe.


In conclusion, adjusting the windshield wiper arm tension is an essential maintenance task for any vehicle owner. By following the step-by-step guide we provided and using the necessary tools. You can easily adjust the wiper arm tension yourself and ensure that your wipers are working optimally. 

Remember to inspect your wipers regularly and make any necessary adjustments as soon as you notice any issues with their performance. By avoiding common mistakes and taking good care of your wipers, you can keep your vehicle safe and ready for any weather conditions. 

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