Review: Friends don’t let friends buy cheap wiper arms

What a funny little car. It was one of the most prolific ever produced. That’s until it wasn’t produced anymore, but it still lives on. Some factory new parts are available, used parts are still available, and replacement aftermarket parts are available. It’s the aftermarket parts I want to discuss here.

I had a recent need to procure some new wiper arms for my 1975 Standard Beetle. I thought to myself that it would just be cheap and easy to order a set of them, so I set out to do so. I placed an order online for some IAP (International Auto Parts) arms, part number IAP 111955407F and IAP 111955408F – left and right respectively. While I was at it, I ordered a set of Bosch 11″ wipers too, as I’ve always used them on my Beetles.

I figured – how hard could wiper arms be? That was a bit of a mistake to question this. They bolted right up to the splines on the wiper shafts. So good so far, I thought to myself. I clipped the adapter to the Bosch blades, and attempted to fasten them to the arms. They should slide in to the arm hook and “click” when they are fastened. They didn’t click. I tried again. Nope! Ok, perhaps there is something amiss – I’ll try the other side. No-sir!

It seems that in the manufacturing process, the hooks on the arm are not formed deep enough to allow a Bosch wiper to actually clip to the arm. Since it did that on both left and right, there was either a disagreement with the Bosch wiper clip or the arms. It also seems that the arm width where it connects to the wiper is a millimeter or so skinnier than the Bosch wiper expects, so the fit is less than stellar. I took my arms into the shop an formed a bit longer hook on the arms which now allow the blades to clip in as expected. I would say the IAP wiper arms were most likely at fault here, but I could be wrong too. One thing for certain, the strength of the steel arm is somewhat more flimsy than I would have liked. In the end, I was able to make them work, and I didn’t pay much for them (less than $20) for the pair.

Besides, who really wants to drive their toy in the rain. It might get wet!