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Windshield Wiper Problematic in winter condition!

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Lezhang888, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. Lezhang888

    Lezhang888 New Member

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    To whom may concern.
    On the night of January 30th, 2014, my family and I had experienced the worst driving experience ever with the Tesla model S. I owned a Tesla Model S for about five months now, and was very much satisfied with the driving until the recent winter months in Colorado. The Windshield Wiper system performance was the worst one I had ever experienced since I know how to drive.
    Here's the story, around 8pm, My family and I was heading to dinner in Boulder Colorado to celebrate Chinese New Year with our families, and the snow weather condition was started to worsen as we were driving to Boulder, but it was manageable. Knowing the weather condition is getting worse, everyone suggested to head home sooner. After the celebration dinner was over, which was around 10:30pm, the snow was pouring down hard, and the road started to piling up with snow, but still drivable. We took the Highway I-36 east back to Westminster, I was driving around 35 mph in very pour visibilities condition, but was manageable until the windshield wiper system started to freezes on me, than the visibility started to get worst, I had to pulled over 4 times on the highway to deiced the wipers. My family was overwhelmed by this experience, especially my daughter whom was so frightened, she cried when we got home. Put it this way, I lived in Westminster Colorado for over 20 years, and had driving all bad and worser winter conditions with many other cars that I had owned, but never had such scary moment in my life with the Tesla Model S. They got to figure out a way to retrofit those Winter Wiper package on to those early Tesla Owners who drives the car in the Winter time...
     
  2. caddieo

    caddieo Member

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    Did you have the windshield defroster running on full blast?
     
  3. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    While I commiserate with your experience, I have driven in winter weather for over fifty winters, in Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia, Utah, New Hampshire, Vermont and Pennsylvania, and through many hundreds of trips and tens of thousands of miles of iced-up windshields. It IS wretched, but there are some times when effectively no wiper is able to overcome the precipitation.

    I hope you never have to drive through such weather again. It's one of the reasons this winter I'm - finally! - in a different kind of climate ;) But I'd not be so quick to blame your wipers and the car they're on.
     
  4. hughconn

    hughconn Member

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    Driving in the NJ storm on Jan 21st 2014 was a mixed bag. The car handled wonderfully in the driving snow and ice covered roads. But with the defroster on max the wipers iced up. It was 5 degrees. At a stop I tried to break away the ice from the wipers but the wiper arms do not pull back from the windshield like my other cars so it was very difficult to clear the ice. Car drove great, didn't get stuck, or even close, while other cars did; but ability to see the road is important, too.
     
  5. Lezhang888

    Lezhang888 New Member

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    Oh yes, that didn't help much. It is the design of the windshield wipers, it just not put in for winter conditions.
     
  6. TokyoRush

    TokyoRush Member

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    That's strange. No problems for me. Essentially these are Mercedes wiper motors but some unique wipers on them. I do know that the defroster design needed to be tweeked, so I'd look at getting that update when you bring it in to the service center. Other than that, I haven't had problems like you have had at all (despite two winters in New England snow).

    Have you brought into the service center to see if they can do something?

    Jason
     
  7. Lezhang888

    Lezhang888 New Member

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    It is not the motor, it is the wiper blades. I found it too flexible to stand on snowy condition in many occasions already. I had complained to the tesla services personals, they told me it is the design. And they suggested me to voiced my frustration here, and hope the company will look into it...
     
  8. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

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    The windshield wipers DO pull back from the window depending on your FW version. In 5.8.4 go to controls, settings, wiper service mode, ON.
     
  9. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    If you get just the right conditions, every car will experience this.

    Last year I was on a trip where every car on the freeway was experiencing this - there were stopped cars everywhere trying to clear the ice from their wipers. I was in a Ford loaner, not my Model S. My passenger and I were too scared to stop in the chaos (and it was total chaos!) so we rolled down the windows and whacked the wipers every time they passed by. Had to do that repeatedly as they kept turning into thick rods of ice and lifting off the windows.
     
  10. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    Not unique to Tesla.
     
  11. Brass Guy

    Brass Guy Member

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    I'm familiar with the wiper thwack method while driving. I've not tried it in the Model S, it seems a bit farther to reach with that wide A pillar and the rake of the windshield.
    The wipers do seem to ice up much more than my previous cars. They quickly form a cocoon of hardened slush. I don't think it's the design of the wipers as much as the lack of a heating plant under the front of the car.

    Here's my theory:
    Cold snow (below say 20°F) mostly blows past the windshield. Icing wipers happens with warmer snow, just around the freezing mark. An ICE a couple of feet away probably warms up that area enough to delay wiper icing. So it's the very nature of the EV that is causing the icing. A post production modification would be most appreciated.
     
  12. tezco

    tezco Sig P85

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    The only blades that seem to work for me in the worst of conditions are those ugly ones that are covered with a rubber boot.
     
  13. PeterK

    PeterK Model S Owner

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    I think your theory makes sense. I've driven my 11 month old MS in multiple snowstorms but on one of the warmer ones in particular had the wiper icing problem. Pulled over several times to clear them off.

    Any Leaf or Volt owners out there who have had similar experiences? Or is this exacerbated in the MS by the size and rake of the windshield and/or wipers?

    On a related note, my brother had a hard time finding replacement blades for his 2003 BMW 3 series when one froze and snapped during a snowy ski weekend recently. So at my annual service today I asked the SC to save the old blades for me when they put on new ones. I have them in the frunk for emergency use - they're still in reasonable shape and I think it will be a long time before gas stations or Autozone stock Tesla replacement blades.
     
  14. jkirkebo

    jkirkebo Model S P85+ VIN 14420 EU

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    I think the icing can occur much easier on cars which do not have the upgraded defrost vents. There has been exactly one report of icing here in Norway, and that was an early US demo car which most probably didi not have these vents.

    As I understand it, these are easily retrofittable.
     
  15. Brass Guy

    Brass Guy Member

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    Are there many Model S in Norway that don't have the sub-zero (heated wipers) package? I don't know the timing of availability.
     
  16. jkirkebo

    jkirkebo Model S P85+ VIN 14420 EU

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    Yeah, quite a lot didn't order this package. The improved windshield vents are standard here though, and not a part of the winter package.
     
  17. tezco

    tezco Sig P85

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    Great idea about keeping a spare around. My Leaf wipers are similar to the S's and also have a tendency to freeze in certain conditions. So do the stock wipers on the Audi. Good hood seal keeps any heat from the engine from getting to the wiper bay. Most cars have a seal at the firewall to keep oil, steam or smoke out of the windshield area in the event of a complication in the engine compartment.
     
  18. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    Tesla told you to complain on TMC? That doesn't make sense. These forums aren't owned by Tesla. If you're lucky, someone from Tesla might see them, though I suspect Tesla isn't watching here like they once did when TMC represented a pretty good chunk of total customers.

    You need to be talking to ever increasingly folks in the Tesla management chain.
     
  19. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    That is strange, although Tesla is watching these forums closer than ever in my experience. I've been contacted by service over 2 of my posts within the last couple weeks!
     
  20. Atebit

    Atebit Member

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    Maybe they meant to post on the forum at teslamotors.com?
     

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