View Full Version : Refinishing Worn Wiper Arms

09/17/2018, 06:33 PM
I finally broke down and did it. My wiper arms were in quite bad shape. The factory satin black on them was either faded, worn off, or plain rusted. This simple task does not call for heavy work or a body shop ($$$cha-ching$$$), so I took matters into the shade of a tree.

Stopped by Pep Boys and picked up....

3M Wet O Dry 600 grit sand paper
3M Wet O Dry 400 grit sand paper
Spray Primer of choice
Spray base coat of choice (color?)
Spray clearcoat (not necessary unless you want a BIT of added protection)

Removed the arms. You may need to pop the hood to get to the driver side arm assembly. Just pop the small black caps and use a ratchet to remove the nuts. I believe this was a 14mm. Once nuts are removed, flip up the wiper arm for easier removal.

Remove the wiper from the arm. Simply press down the small plastic tab on the U hinge assembly (where the arm and the wiper meet). The wiper should slide right off of the arm while holding the tab down.

Get a bucket of soapy water (dish soap works well) and pull up a comfy lawn chair. Time to wetsand. Starting with 400 grit, soak both the sandpaper and the arm, and begin sanding. Make sure to continuously keep the sandpaper and the arm wet. Try to sand as much as possible, even in the small crevices. Any missed spots may allow the primer and to lift. Sand as low as you wish. I recommend going to the metal since the factory black satin is quite weak.

Once you feel confident you have all the black off, wash the arm well and dry thoroughly. Do not leave the bare arm exposed to air or water long or oxidation will start. Try to begin priming immediately. Using something to set the arm on (I used an upright 1ft wooden block), spring side down, lay a thin coat of the primer down. Continue to put on a few coats, but dont gob it on thick.

Once dry, wetsand LIGHTLY with the 600 grit. I repeat, LIGHTLY. This is to scuff the surface and to remove any imperfections from the surface. If you see bare metal again, lay a light coat over that area and repeat wetsanding with the 600.

once the primed surface is scuffed and smoothed, clean the arm again and dry well. Now, using the same method as you did priming, lay down a thin coat of your basecoat (the color you wish your wiper arm to be). Do NOT wait for the basecoat to dry between coats. Touching an area "around" the arm (the block or whatever your arm is sitting on), make sure it is tacky, but not wet. Just enough that you can touch and your finger does not get paint on it. Lay a few coats on (using the tack-touch method above) until you have covered the wiper arm surface and the primer is no longer visible. Let the paint set for a day, if possible, before remounting.

Clearcoat: If you wish to lay a clearcoat over the basecoat, I recommend wetsanding the basecoat with Wet O Dry 2000 grit. DO NOT break through the basecoat or you will have to re-shoot the base. Apply the clear in thin, even coats along the arm. Let dry overnight if possible.

Buffing: If you feel your finished job has imperfections like fingerprints, dust, or fisheyes, you can wetsand the "dried" arm (basecoat finish or clearcoat finish) with 2000 grit. Be VERY careful, once again, not to break through one of the coats. Once your imperfections are removed, hand buff the arm to a shine. I do not recommend machine buffing for obvious reasons.... the arm is tiny and you will most likely burn the paint surface.

Finally, re-install in a reverse engineered manner. What you have now are better than factory looking wiper arms, and everyone is happy. :)

Hope this helps anyone looking to save a buck.