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Automatic Windshield Wiper Issue—rains but delay is way too long

Has anyone else experience the auto wiper delay between cycles is way too long? A sprinkle and the auto does activate. However, the cycle between wipes is long and the window has been covered causing difficulty on seeing out. I have to usually switch to manual.

Where is the rain sensor btw?
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
12,390
14,714
Riverside Co. CA
Has anyone else experience the auto wiper delay between cycles is way too long? A sprinkle and the auto does activate. However, the cycle between wipes is long and the window has been covered causing difficulty on seeing out. I have to usually switch to manual.

Where is the rain sensor btw?

I believe if you search this site for "wipers" you will find more threads than you know what to do with. Short answer is, yes, many (many many many many) have noticed that the "automatic" wipers (which are actually in beta still I think) do not work as well as one would hope.

The main reason is because tesla did not use a sensor like almost every car that has auto wipers, instead they went with training from their neural net to accomplish the same thing. In some firmwares people report its better, and in some people report its worse. In general in my experience, it seems to depend on time of day and amount of rain.

The "auto" (use that term losely) wipers are easily the largest frustration I have with the car, and (other than "fit / finish") are the only area I feel my BMWs were clearly superior.
 
I believe if you search this site for "wipers" you will find more threads than you know what to do with. Short answer is, yes, many (many many many many) have noticed that the "automatic" wipers (which are actually in beta still I think) do not work as well as one would hope.

The main reason is because tesla did not use a sensor like almost every car that has auto wipers, instead they went with training from their neural net to accomplish the same thing. In some firmwares people report its better, and in some people report its worse. In general in my experience, it seems to depend on time of day and amount of rain.

The "auto" (use that term losely) wipers are easily the largest frustration I have with the car, and (other than "fit / finish") are the only area I feel my BMWs were clearly superior.


Ha! I guess I should have looked before posting. Well shoot. Seems like some users have it working so... maybe hope in time mine will too.

Fit and finish on my m3 is very good. A little bit of the rubber around doors issue but they fixed it.
 
I find the auto wipers are very good at reducing wear and tear on the wiper blades.
If that was their objective than they succeeded. :)

I would be less annoyed about the dysfunctional auto wipers if the manual controls worked from one of the steering wheel stalks. The touchscreen dance required to control them take too much attention when dealing with a sudden downpour. Although 14 months in, I have gotten much better at it. First few months were challenging though.
 

MikeyP

New Member
Sep 20, 2019
1
0
Taftsville, Vt
Has anyone else experience the auto wiper delay between cycles is way too long? A sprinkle and the auto does activate. However, the cycle between wipes is long and the window has been covered causing difficulty on seeing out. I have to usually switch to manual.

Where is the rain sensor btw?
I have the same issue. When it rains, I always switch to manual.
 

AdamMacDon

Member
May 8, 2019
729
564
Victoria BC
I find it depends heavily on the "type" of rain. Not very scientific here, but smaller more misty drops won't trigger it, but a downpour with lots of water that runs down the windshield seems to trigger it more often. I think it has to do with the water running down the windshield, maybe it's movement based.
 
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MarkNW

Member
May 26, 2019
15
21
here
I agree with the above posts. Wiper activation is the worst feature in an otherwise spectacular car. I think it's clear that when the car was designed someone drank the kool-aid and believed they could do a better job than most cars by using a neural net to sense the rain. The problem is they use the same camera as is used to see the road for sensing. It's right up against the windshield. If there isn't a drop of water right there, then no NN no matter how smart can tell that it should activate the wiper. Moreover there are individual sensitives. Different people are bothered more by drops than others. So, their approach failed but they are unwilling to let go of the failed approach. This is made much worse of course because the manual control is on the screen, which means you have to take your eyes off the road to use it.

There are lots of partial fixes. They could use speech to control them, or a double tap on the wiper cleaner button, or they could just notice that you are tapping the washer button frequently and use that to adjust the NN. But, they persist in a failed approach.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
12,390
14,714
Riverside Co. CA
I find it depends heavily on the "type" of rain. Not very scientific here, but smaller more misty drops won't trigger it, but a downpour with lots of water that runs down the windshield seems to trigger it more often. I think it has to do with the water running down the windshield, maybe it's movement based.

I would agree with that assessment as well. Type of rain, and time of day (and firmware version) all seem to play a part. When I first got my car it was december of 2018, and california doesnt have true winter, but we do get rain in the winter. We got a fair amount (for california) of rain between december and, say march / april, and the "auto" wipers were so bad I told my wife I didnt want her driving the tesla at all.

Its my primary car, but we switch off driving each others cars normally just for changes of pace. I had to use the manual wipe almost constantly while driving. Setting it to a speed resulted in either too fast, or too slow, and auto didnt wipe enough so I had to supplement it with pushing the button at the end of the stalk. Coming from my BMW (and my wifes existing one) where the feature "just works" and always seems to wipe as expected, it was upsetting to have the tesla always wait too long to wipe.

Sometime during the above period, it got "better", with better defined as "almost tolerable". Then, we got out of the rainy season so I have not seen its operation over the past few months. I am dreading fall actually because as I mentioned, the auto wiper lack of consistent operation is really my biggest complaint with the car. Even when I mentioned " fit and finish" above, that was in relation to the paint job on my former and wifes current BMW. the BMW is just put together better imho, but my tesla is "fine" and is so much better to actually drive that I have no issue overlooking the small fit / finish issues I have on my car.
 
I agree with the above posts. Wiper activation is the worst feature in an otherwise spectacular car. I think it's clear that when the car was designed someone drank the kool-aid and believed they could do a better job than most cars by using a neural net to sense the rain. The problem is they use the same camera as is used to see the road for sensing. It's right up against the windshield. If there isn't a drop of water right there, then no NN no matter how smart can tell that it should activate the wiper. Moreover there are individual sensitives. Different people are bothered more by drops than others. So, their approach failed but they are unwilling to let go of the failed approach. This is made much worse of course because the manual control is on the screen, which means you have to take your eyes off the road to use it.

There are lots of partial fixes. They could use speech to control them, or a double tap on the wiper cleaner button, or they could just notice that you are tapping the washer button frequently and use that to adjust the NN. But, they persist in a failed approach.
I couldn't agree more that the system is beyond flawed in it's current state, wipers shouldn't be in beta after a century of development. I think if the system learned from user manual input AND had a variable that let you customize sensitivity, it might be half useful. I don't mind the minor fit and finish issues of the model 3 but the current wiper system is downright dangerous. I live in a part of BC Canada that is a rainforest and the weather changes constantly to some form of rain. We get rain nearly daily for 9 months of the year, so I really notice a flawed wiper control scheme.
 
I think it's clear that when the car was designed someone drank the kool-aid and believed they could do a better job than most cars by using a neural net to sense the rain.
Story I heard was that Elon challenged (demanded?) the team to make the wipers work with the cameras that were already there, rather than add a new dedicated sensor. And so here we are.
 
I also think there is a lot of variation among people as to how often they want the wipers to work. Some want it only when the water has built up some on the window and others want no buildup at all.

Here in Oregon we get pretty continuous rain that most other people would call extremely light. Under those conditions, I prefer it to wipe more often then the car, so I go manual. On the couple of occasions I have seen "heavy" rain (what would be called light to moderate in other parts of the country) it seemed to work fine. Having lived in both LA and Silicon Valley, I think their wiper settings are probably better tuned to those conditions -- no rain or quite a lot of rain.
 

DopeGhoti

Active Member
Aug 28, 2019
1,244
1,429
Phoenix, AZ
The evening I picked up my car, it started to rain while I was out driving it. I was frustrated, yet unsurprised when the automatic windscreen wipers utterly failed to perform. I had to manually trigger them myself, every time. It was only later, when I pulled over to look at the UI that I found that while auto-headlights, auto-high-beams, auto-just-about-everything was turned on by default, the initial setting for the windscreen wipers was off. I turned them on and was very pleasantly surprised at how well they were working; at least for me. As an aside, driving in a nighttime thunderstorm in a glass-roofed car is something one must do should one have the chance.
 
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Bill Foster

I'm going home!
Mar 6, 2019
934
891
Nashville
The auto wipers are 150% better than they used to be - I only rarely use the manual options now, whereas in the past I used to have to use manual all the time. I believe the change came sometime in February or March of this year, so if you got your car since then you missed all the real fun.
Yea, I agree. They are much better, still not great. Would be nice if there was a sensitivity adjustment.
 

VT_EE

Active Member
Apr 22, 2017
2,095
2,820
Maryland
Has anyone else experience the auto wiper delay between cycles is way too long? A sprinkle and the auto does activate. However, the cycle between wipes is long and the window has been covered causing difficulty on seeing out. I have to usually switch to manual.

Where is the rain sensor btw?
They are like a fine wine and get better with age.
 
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drtimhill

Active Member
Apr 25, 2019
2,359
3,079
Seattle
Well I'm up in Seattle (and you know what that means), and to be fair I've found to my surprise that the auto wipers work pretty well. I get the occasional "phantom wipe" when there is no rain at all, but mostly they trigger appropriately. I do, however, keep the windshield clean, which I suspect gives the cameras a more accurate view of the rain.
 

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