I went to the dealership today to pick up an order that I’d placed for a couple of minor parts.
The windshield wipers on my 2003 BMW 330i (E46) have been driving me nuts. Years ago, when I tried to replace the rubber inserts by myself for the first time, I didn’t know the correct procedure to remove the wiper blades. I forcibly separated them from the wiper arms, breaking the locking tab on the windshield wiper clips (61618233577, part #8 in the diagram below, buy on Amazon.com) in the process.
The part is described in BMW’s system as a “wiper blade clamp” – its purpose is to hold the windshield wiper blade in place. Without the locking tab, the wiper blade can move laterally in the wiper arm.
My windshield wipers used to chatter loudly. The driver-side (left-hand) wiper blade was the worst offender. The noise went away if I allowed a sufficient quantity of water to accumulate upon the windshield, but even at the lowest automatic setting, I’d hear a terrible sound with each pass of the wiper blade. They made this noise with fresh wiper inserts as well. The sound was so bothersome that I started to manually actuate the windshield wipers, running them only when I’d deemed that enough water had accumulated so as to keep them quiet.
(this made me feel like the old bus driver back in my high school days at ISKL)
Before committing to purchasing the new windshield wiper clips, I’d considered swapping the wiper blades entirely. I was inspired to do so after reading a newsletter sent to me by one of the (many) online parts stores that I’ve used in the past. It dawned upon me that it was highly probable the wiper blades weren’t the problem at all, and that I had best exhaust the cheapest options before opening up my wallet any further. I paid just over $5 for two clips.
I replaced the windshield wiper clips while parked at the dealership. The sun was shining brightly outside this afternoon, and, prior to hitting publish, I realized that I had yet to test the wipers after removing and replacing the faulty clips. I’m back inside now, and pleased to report that my windshield wiper blades are functioning as intended.
Looks like I’ll be putting off my purchase of new wiper blades for a while longer, yet.