Windshield Wiper Blade Refill 5th Gen 4Runner

Updated 1/6/20 / Read Time: 5 mins

Windshield Wiper Blade Refill, and Replacement Rubber Insert for 5th Gen 4Runner

5th Gen 4Runner Windshield Wiper Blade Refill (OEM)

When your rubber blade insert starts giving you problems, it is time for a replacement. We have a 2014 4Runner that we purchased late in 2014. We just entered 2018, and now are needing a new set of rubber inserts.

It all depends on where you live and how much it rains, but you can expect to see something similar in terms of life expectancy. Depending on your climate expect you can see anywhere from 1-5 years before you need your first set of rubber inserts.

For us personally (located in Sacramento, CA) after about 4 years – the driver side windshield wiper blade started coming off a little bit, and thought “yeah, I should probably get on that”.

Fast forward a couple weeks and one rubber inserts was flapping in the wind with every stroke of the wiper blade.

Bad Inserts can Damage your Blades

Windshield Wiper Blade Refill, and Replacement Rubber Insert for 5th Gen 4Runner

Bad inserts can damage your actual blades. When the rubber inserts start to go bad, they cause the wiper motor to work harder and the will also cause issues with the windshield wiper linkage. There are other natural causes of damage as well, like the sun, and other common wind debris that can cause your inserts to come apart or even fall off.

When dangling from a thread, the rubber insert/ refill portion doesn’t do much in terms of clearing water off the windshield. It is incredibly obnoxious, annoying and frustrating when it’s raining hard. Also, it is rather dangerous when your view is obstructed by lingering water spots because you have faulty blades.

Do yourself a favor when you see your rubber inserts falling off of the actual blade. Go buy a new set of replacements. If your blades are still in good working condition, then you don’t need to replace your entire blade system, you just need new rubber inserts/ wiper blade refills.

Aftermarket or OEM Windshield Inserts?

Aftermarket or OEM Windshield Wiper Blade Inserts?

Note: the driver side blade insert is longer than the passenger side. 

If you are looking for a rubber windshield wiper blade insert, I think the general consensus here is to stay OEM. But, you can go in any direction you want. This is just my personal preference. There are a few things on a Toyota that you want to keep OEM, like your windshield wiper blades.

The marketing of these products is pretty interesting. They have blades for almost any application you can think of. From all-season blades to performance blades, they have it all. If you head into your local Auto-Zone or even Amazon, you will be inundated with all of the options out there.

Take your pick of the available options out there:

I would love to see how the all-season blades compete against the all-season plus! – that was a joke.

  • All-Season
  • Performance
  • All-Season Plus
  • Beam
  • Winter

When our actual wiper blades go out, we might buy a set of aftermarket blades but we will probably stay with OEM. If you are only in need of the rubber windshield wiper blade insert, just call your local Toyota service center and have them bring some to the front counter. Pick them up and throw them on. It’s easy, they know exactly what part you need and it is the right application for your 4Runner.

Installing/ Swapping out old Rubber Wiper Inserts on 4Runner

Actually, this was kind of confusing. It seems like a stupid “step by step” but it did take me a second to figure out. If you are not a Toyota tech and do this on a daily basis, it will take you a second. As long as you read this first, you will get it the first time around.

Unclip Wiper blade from wiper arm

Peel Back Rubber Inserts

Align new wiper blade inserts with metal guide strips

Start feeding wiper blade refill and insert through blade

The most important part here is that you have to slide in the blade refill with the metal guide strips from one end. Start by feeding in the end that is flat. The other end is a little more rounded off and has indents on each side for the actual blade to catch on. Start feeding the blade insert through each section until you reach the end. Once you reach the end of the blade, you can set the blades into their located insert on the rubber refill.

Feed wiper blade refill through each blade catch

That’s it! Reattach your blades to your blade arms and then slap them back down on your windshield.

If you buy these from the dealership, they are around $6 per insert. If you want this process to go a little smoother, then just buy the actual blades with the inserts. New 4Runner blades with the inserts were $60 for both sets. So, you will save some money if you only buy the inserts. If there is nothing wrong with your actual windshield wiper blades, then you might want to stay with the inserts.

While we were messing around at the shop today, Jimmy Jet at Snail Trail 4×4 was saying that he usually just buys the entire blade with inserts when he needs new blades. Feeding new inserts into the blade is kind of a pain in the ass, so I can see why.

Comment below and let us know what you buy. Do you buy new inserts or do you just buy new blades? If you have any general questions about blades, let us know as well by commenting below. Thanks, 4Runner Fam!

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Jim Warren
Jim Warren
January 6, 2020 6:27 pm

Wiper inserts every three to four years? That’s crazy! First, heat, cold, and other environmental issues destroy them in 12-18 months max. As the article noted, the inserts were falling apart. That’s already a safety issue, but you also risk damaging the windshield, which ain’t cheap. Quit being a tight wad and replace them annually!

Jim Warren
Jim Warren
January 7, 2020 1:57 am

Hi Brenan, Yes, I’ve seen severely scratched glass when the metal clamps holding the insert contact the glass. Once the blade edge tears, the blade friction increases and the assembly can roll slightly and the metal contacts the glass. I’m an old fart—worked in Mercedes-Benz dealerships for 14 years (parts and service), then worked for Porsche Cars North America for six years, and have been training Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, and other manufacturer parts and service staff since 1991. Great fun! I’ve seen the wiper issue somewhat frequently when cars aren’t maintained. Love your blog—I’m on my third 4Runner—2018 SR5… Read more »

January 28, 2018 9:54 pm

UPDATE: Forget what I said. They are there. I just did not look hard enough. Sorry.

January 28, 2018 7:12 pm

Brenan, my 2017 SR5 does not have the rear wiper option. Is there an after market solution for the complete assembly/installation. I am not sure if I have the proper wires or controls already even though it did not come with them. Thanks.

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