Wiper Arm Refinishing

by Jeremy Goodspeed

One area of a vehicle that tends to fade and wear faster than any other part of the car, are the wiper arms. They are generally painted with a non-catalyzed lacquer based finish and do not hold up to every-day wear and blistering hot summers. Often chipping occurs which makes them look even worse.

To start the refinishing process, first remove the wiper arms from the vehicle and determine their overall condition. If the arms are just faded than sand them with either 400 grit wet-or-dry sanding paper or use a red scotch bright pad to smooth the paint and create adhesion. If the paint of the wiper arms are pealing or has areas that are chipping, then it would be best to bead blast the arms to a bare finish. Bead blasting services are available at most engine rebuild shops for around $15.00-25.00 for the pair.

Now that the arms have been either sanded or media blasted, they are ready for final preparation. While you are preparing the arms, place the trim paint in a basin of hot water to warm the paint for 10 minutes or so. This is especially handy in cooler climates or in winter and will allow for better atomization of the paint. If the arms were bead blasted than lightly sand the bare steel with 400 grit dry to smooth the metal and reduce the blasting marks. Wipe the arm with a clean, dry lint free cloth or blow the arms with compressed air. Follow with a grease and wax remover, and immediately wipe or blow dry.

Next, hang the parts in an area free from breeze and dust. If you are refinishing in a cooler climate then warm the arms by using a hair dryer to warm the steel or place then in an oven for 5 minutes at 170 degrees to force out the moisture and heat the steel for proper adhesion. To refinish, start by using a self etching primer for proper adhesion between the bare steel and the final finish. Immediately follow using a desired trim paint and apply several light coats to the arms. Please note: Self etching primer is not necessary unless the wiper arms have been stripped of original paint. Allow each coat to dry for 10-15 minutes before next application. After 3-5 coats have been applied, allow the wiper arms to dry for a couple hours before re-installation.

At this time, it would be a good idea to replace your wiper blade cartridges. Either purchase new cartridges from your Porsche dealer, or use Trico Exact-fit wipers. They are available from most local auto parts stores. Trico makes most original equipment blades and have an excellent reputation for quality.