2016 Toyota Tacoma: Time for New Wiper Blades
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on August 29, 2016
Not that it ever rains here much. But there are those times that you've got a bit too much grime buildup or some morning dew. Our 2016 Toyota Tacoma pickup had a bit of each one recent morning, but all I got was a big smear when I triggered the wiper/washer function. I tried cleaning the blades off, but they were toast.
Toyota uses the fairly common J-hook style of blade mount, so they go on and off rather easily. The driver's side blade is longer than the passenger side one, and the guy behind the counter at Autozone said I needed 22- and 21-inch blades. I took him at his word and bought a pair.
That was a mistake.
I put the driver's side one on first after first holding it up to the old one and confirming the match. Then I unboxed the 21-inch passenger side blade, but when I compared it to the old one I found that the original was shorter, a 20-inch blade.
This was bass-akwards, of course. I should have made the comparison in the store before buying them. But I was in a hurry. And the boxes containing the new wipers I selected were designed in such a way that I couldn't compare old to new without tearing open the fully-fused packaging in the store.
I thought about going in to exchange it. But the impatience that got me into this mess made that seem undesirable, too. And maybe it would fit. I figured I might as well try it first.
It fit, but just barely.
Having worked for Toyota once, I can understand why they'd specify the 20-inch blade. They like decent-sized clearances to avoid tolerance-related problems in production, and the tip of the 21-inch blade was less than a tenth of an inch shy of the windshield molding with the wiper in the park position. But it wasn't actually touching, and the longer blade would in theory wipe a larger area. I could see how an aftermarket wiper supplier might call it differently.
I decided to give it a go, figuring I could always nip a bit of rubber off the end if it starts slapping the molding later on. But next time I think I'm going to buy a 22- and 20-inch blades. Probably. We'll see.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 12,233 miles