Finding replacement wiper blades

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It is no easy trick finding replacement wiper blades for my 2021 Tesla Model S Long Range.  Most wiper blades are made for what is called a J-hook mounting.  The Tesla uses something called a 22-millimeter push button mounting (see photo above right).  You push with a screwdriver or other blunt object into that square hole, and it releases a latch that allows you to pull the old wiper blade radially out from the wiper arm. 

So the first thing to do, when you are shopping for wiper blades, is to check to make sure that the blade (a) is specifically made for the 22-mm mount or (b) comes with several mounting brackets, one of which can be snapped into place and configured for the 22-mm mount.

What I found is that many Trico brand blades come with several mounting brackets including a bracket specifically made for the 22-mm mount.  I ended up with Trico Maxx blades (product page) which are a house brand for Advance Auto Parts.  The blades were about $35 each, or about $70 for the pair.

The Trico blade comes out of the box with the J-hook mounting bracket in place on the blade.  You snap that bracket out and discard it.  You snap the other bracket into place.

The Trico instructions invite you to either leave in place or remove a bit of plastic called “part C”.  If you leave part C in place, then the bracket fits securely to the 22-mm mount on the wiper arm (which is how it is on my Tesla Model S).  If you were to remove the part C, then the bracket is able to fit what is called a 19-mm mount.

What I found, when I pulled the factory original blades off of my car, was that at the factory they did it wrong.  They removed the part C as if the arm had a 19-mm mount (which it does not, it has a 22-mm mount).   Until now, the wiper blades were wobbly in the mount of the wiper arms.

Now for the first time in the life of the car, the car has blades that are correctly and securely mounted to the wiper arms.

Another challenge is that the user manual for my car says the blades to get are 20 inches and 26 inches in length.  That is wrong.  When I installed a 20-inch blade on the passenger side (which is what the manual says to use), I found that it is too long and it smacks into the passenger-side frame of the windshield every time the arm rotates downwards toward its “home” position.  (The 26-inch blade did not collide with anything, of course, but it also left a two-inch-wide swath of windshield untouched, adding up to about 120 square inches of windshield that failed to get wiped.)

I used a tape measure on the factory original blades and found that they are 18 inches and 28 inches in length (on passenger side and driver side respectively).   I had to return the 20-inch and 26-inch blades and I had to get 18-inch and 28-inch blades.

When you are getting ready to replace your wiper blades, remember to tap around on the touch screen of the car to put it into “wiper service” mode.  This causes the two wiper arms to swing upwards and away from their home positions, so that it is easy to get the old blades off and the new blades on.

If I had to do it over again, maybe I would have gotten the Trico Ceramic blades (product page) which are said to be a “Super Premium” product in the Trico product line.  By comparison, the Trico Maxx blades which I actually purchased and installed onto the car are merely “Premium” instead of “Super Premium” in the Trico product line.

I see customer reviews of the various high-end Trico wiper blades, and people say the blades are notably quieter in use than other less-expensive blades.  Given that an EV runs quieter than an ICE car, it might be helpful for a wiper blade to be quieter in use.  In coming days and weeks I expect I will have an opportunity to use the blades in wet conditions, and I will find out if they are actually quieter.

One Reply to “Finding replacement wiper blades”

  1. Very helpful information! I’m going to try the Trico ceramic, to see if they support the postponement of the inevitable. (Don’t we all put this onerous task off until we’re craning our necks like giraffes?

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