2004 Toyota Prius Wiper Insert Change

It’s that time of year and my wiper blades needed to be changed. While I was at my local Toyota dealership getting my oil changed ($60. Not bad.), I asked about getting new wiper blades. The service rep was kind enough to go to the service department to check on the price and informed me that for both the passenger and driver side inserts, I would be charged an additional $58. Yep. For inserts. That’s doubling the price of my oil change for a pair of wiper inserts. Some extruded rubber. I told him thanks, but no thanks and shopped around elsewhere to get a better price.

I ended up buying some PIAA replacement inserts off of Amazon for the decent price of $20. I wasn’t looking for a steal of a deal, but I wasn’t looking to get ripped off either. The inserts came today, and I had some free time this afternoon, so I decided that I would go and replace the blades quickly and then get back to my afternoon. Hah! Little did I know that it is now a requirement to have a Masters in Mechanical Engineering to install wiper blade inserts. I looked around online and couldn’t find any instructions on how to install these little buggers, so I decided to put this tutorial together. You can use this tutorial to change the inserts on any 2004 Toyota Prius or comparable poorly designed wiper system.

Step 1: Remove Wiper Blades from the Wiper Arms
This is the easy part. You just push the little clip down and slide the wiper blade assembly down the arm. Do this for both the passenger and driver side.

Step 2: Remove the end clips.
This is the second to the hardest part. You have to get something small underneath the ends of the metal strips and lift them above the plastic bumps on the end clips. I used a couple of small, flat screwdrivers. Once you have the metal clips lifted above the plastic bumps, push the end clip off. Do this for both ends of each wiper blade.

Step 3: Remove the rubber covers.
Okay, this might be the easiest step. These extruded rubber covers slide off really easy. Remove these from both sides of each wiper blade.

Step 4: Remove the old wiper insert.
Another easy step, here. Just pull the old inserts out from between the two metal bands. Discard or use for whipping your kids into shape. Do this for both wiper blades (and disregard my comment about whipping your kids).

Step 5: Insert new wiper inserts.
This is the hardest part. In my first few tries, I was able to get the new insert about 5 inches onto the metal bands and then there was too much friction to move them forward anymore. After looking at it and thinking for a while, it dawned on me what to do. Dish soap! I smeared liquid dish soap along the metal bands and went back to installing the inserts. This still isn’t an easy thing to do, but the soap made it much easier. The important thing here is to make sure that the bands are in the correct slot on the insert and that the insert doesn’t get twisted or misaligned going through the center portion of the wiper blade assembly. You can make everything perfect once you have the insert centered.

Step 6: Replace the rubber covers.
Again, an easy step. Just make sure that the geometry matches between the rubber cover and the center of the wiper blade. If it doesn’t, you have the rubber cover mounted backwards. It also helps to have the rubber cover mounted in the correct slots on the wiper blade. Do this for each end of both wiper blades.

Step 7: Replace the end caps.
This is actually easy. Much easier than removing them. Just make sure that the geometry matches the rubber covers and that you have the metal bands going into the correct slots. Do this for both ends of each wiper blade.

Step 8: Remount the wiper blades onto the wiper arms.
The last step is easy. Just place the wiper blade back into the crook of the arm and push until it clicks in.

Congratulations. You’re done!

Option 1: A beer of your choice.
Use option 1 at any step in these instructions. I chose to use option 1 (Victoria, in my case) starting at step 5.

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