Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Windshield wipers are horrible, and arguably dangerous

repoanything

Member
Aug 18, 2014
73
108
Tucson
I have a 2017 Model S produced Oct 2017 and my auto wipers are all over the place! It does not rain much here in Arizona but when it does it would be nice to have the auto part work correctly. When I got the car they were great. Now they are crap. Sure I can just push the button at the end of the stock but I paid $140k for a car, my auto wipers should work. I did inform the Tesla Ranger of the issue last week when they had my car and he said its a software issue and said its still BETA. Not happy on a rainy Arizona day today.
 

mikebixby

Member
May 29, 2018
11
17
Miami
The Model 3 auto wipers have gradually gotten better but still don't work as well as my 2016 Prius.

One thing that happened to be twice recently in my Model 3 when going from bright sunlight to a very dark parking garage, the auto wipers would turn on and not turn off until I switched them off
 

rmfpdx

Member
Dec 26, 2018
32
-1
Oregon City
If you push the button on the left stalk the wipers will swipe and the controls for the speed will appear. With one quick tap you can choose the manual speed you want.

My wipers work okay. They are not perfect, but not as bad as other people report.
I agree. I live in the Portland OR area and we get plenty of rain right now. While annoying, the wipers work fairly well most of the time. If I need to, I just give a light press on the wiper button on the left stalk end and they kick on. Good enough for most purposes. The biggest annoyance is that they still don't kick on fast enough when it's a heavy rain. It could be a downpour and they're still going in slow mode. So then I have to enable fast mode manually. Wish it were smart enough to figure it out. Another minor complaint is that when the big trucks around me are kicking up clouds of mist, even though the windshield gets coated with the mist enough to block good vision, the wipers won't come on at all. I have to do that manually. Rain they sense, but not glass-coating mist.
 

John Lamoureux

l Parzival l
Jul 2, 2016
192
120
NH
The auto wipers on my car are essentially useless. They don't turn on until the windshield is completely covered in rain to the point that you can't see anything. So just use the manual wipers, right? Well there's no control. You have to fish around on the touch screen to find the setting.

Crappy auto-mode + terrible ergonomics on manual mode = seriously unfortunate combination.

Has anyone tried working with service to get their auto-wiper functionality working better? Or do they tell you there's nothing that can be done?

I love the car, but the wipers are garbage, making it annoying driving this car in the rain.

Honestly, I've not had that many issues with the wipers in the rain, and specifically with the auto function.

But, this week I had to deal with a snowstorm that had me swearing up and down at the wiper design. Three times on a two-hour snowy commute home I had to get out and clear ice from the wipers. Ice collected both on the sides and bottom of the windshield, and I literally could not use them. I don't know if it's because there's not enough heat at the bottom of the windshield to keep them clear of ice, but this is one of the first things I've discovered that I didn't like about the car.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: F_T_K and Lobstahz

swoosh82

Member
Aug 27, 2018
11
3
USA
The auto wipers on my car are essentially useless. They don't turn on until the windshield is completely covered in rain to the point that you can't see anything. So just use the manual wipers, right? Well there's no control. You have to fish around on the touch screen to find the setting.

Crappy auto-mode + terrible ergonomics on manual mode = seriously unfortunate combination.

Has anyone tried working with service to get their auto-wiper functionality working better? Or do they tell you there's nothing that can be done?

I love the car, but the wipers are garbage, making it annoying driving this car in the rain.
FYI - I've found the autowipers to work much better/be better tuned for when you have some sort of rain repellent coating on your windshield (such as rainx).
 

caskater47

Member
Oct 20, 2018
442
244
Los Angeles, CA
The auto wipers on my car are essentially useless. They don't turn on until the windshield is completely covered in rain to the point that you can't see anything. So just use the manual wipers, right? Well there's no control. You have to fish around on the touch screen to find the setting.

Crappy auto-mode + terrible ergonomics on manual mode = seriously unfortunate combination.

Has anyone tried working with service to get their auto-wiper functionality working better? Or do they tell you there's nothing that can be done?

I love the car, but the wipers are garbage, making it annoying driving this car in the rain.
I have the same complaint. I tried timing the auto wipers the other day because it seemed like it was working on a fixed interval, not dynamic. They do appear to be dynamic but they never work faster than once every 5 seconds or so which in heavy downpour is useless.
 
  • Like
Reactions: APotatoGod

Quinndo

Member
Sep 7, 2018
50
54
94103
+1 on the wiper control logic is horrible train.

To be clear, the wiper does a great job of clearing the window, I just cannot EVER get the speed to be appropriate for the situation.
The auto setting for me is the worst ever. A light drizzle starts, I turn on auto, and the wipers race back and forth at hyperspeed for about 15 seconds before calming down (on what is essentially a dry window after the first pass).

I also am not happy with the manual speed settings. There just isn't enough granularity. Most cars I've driven have 5 or more "clicks" on the stalk that allow for different speed settings. 3 isn't enough.

I now control wipers 100% manually, meaning I leave them OFF and push the stalk button EVERY TIME I want the wipers to move across the window. Ridiculous.
 

T-1000

Member
Jan 13, 2019
15
7
Newark, CA
The sensors on the Model 3 is terrible. The auto rain-sensor wipers on my 2003 BMW X5 is 100x better. I have had multiple updates since September and it has not gotten any better at all. It is almost tolerable during the daylight, but it just doesn't work at all at night.

I also have the wipers go crazy right when I get into the car and won't turn off until I start driving away.
 

designgauge

Member
Oct 18, 2018
6
17
Berkeley, California
It's a curious human-interaction issue. It rains so infrequently here in California that I forget about pushing the left stalk for a quick wipe. Now that the rains have come I notice that I instinctively pull up on the right stalk like in my other cars, in an effort to engage the wipers while driving. Of course this is the control for putting the car in reverse, which the car wisely ignores at speed.

However the other day I was stopped in traffic and a sudden short blast of rain came down. I absent-mindedly pushed up the right stalk, immediately realized my error and fiddled with the screen to get the wipers going, forgetting that the car was now sitting in reverse! So when traffic started moving again I was in for a big surprise when I touched the accelerator! Luckily I realized what was happening in an instant and was able to shift to going forwards, but the car behind me must have been terrified for an instant. I now make a special effort to not touch that stalk for wipers but muscle memory is very hard to erase.

So I highly recommend that Tesla revert back to a traditional wiper stalk for convenience and safety reasons.
 

groovidad

Living the Dream!
Oct 19, 2018
615
460
Ewa Beach, HI
As I'm reading the numerous posts on this issue, I realize that not everyone is having the exact same problems. Some appear to be content with the function of their wipers. For me, I have developed a callous on the tip of my Left index finger from pushing the Left stalk button in to wipe the window.l (We've had a LOT of rain here, this winter) Certainly we have all had the .50 OTA update(?) Yeah, I'm not digging the wiper controls.
 

navguy12

Member
Apr 5, 2016
576
486
Eastern Ontario
The auto wipers on my car are essentially useless. They don't turn on until the windshield is completely covered in rain to the point that you can't see anything. So just use the manual wipers, right? Well there's no control. You have to fish around on the touch screen to find the setting.

Crappy auto-mode + terrible ergonomics on manual mode = seriously unfortunate combination.

Has anyone tried working with service to get their auto-wiper functionality working better? Or do they tell you there's nothing that can be done?

I love the car, but the wipers are garbage, making it annoying driving this car in the rain.
I wish two taps of that button on the stalk would produce manual intermittent setting, slow speed.

Three taps would produce manual constant wipe setting, slow speed.

To go back into auto, tap the button once (to get a final single sweep).

I sent this recommendation to Tesla 13 months ago......
 

TEZLA3

GMB3
Jul 7, 2018
16
10
Coastal CenCal
We've been having buckets of rain here in CenCal lately. The auto wipers work as well as our ICE vehicle that is equipped with them. No chattering either. However, I keep my windscreens scrupulously clean all the time and apply Rain-X® about once a week during the rainy season.
 

RonJoven

Member
Oct 10, 2018
14
23
La Nesa CA
Someone mentioned that the washer sprays. My P90D S has wonderful wipers and an excellent washer spray. My M3 washer just dribbles a little water. No spray. Service told me that was normal on the M3. How can I find out without trying another model 3?

I also have all of the problems others have mentioned with the wipers. In auto mode the blades shimmy, and they turns on only with plenty of rain so I must supplement it with the stalk button
 

ptsagcy

Member
Nov 4, 2013
528
176
NJ
Agree that the auto wipers are horrible. They are also terrible on my 2018 MX, so it's a general system problem not just M3. They are useless in a light rain/mist. TM needs to work on this as there is no excuse for such a poor system in cars that cost $60 - 150K.
 

Incredulocious

LEAF → RAV4EV → Model 3 → Model Y
Mar 31, 2012
426
584
Scotts Valley, CA
Honestly, I've not had that many issues with the wipers in the rain, and specifically with the auto function.

But, this week I had to deal with a snowstorm that had me swearing up and down at the wiper design. Three times on a two-hour snowy commute home I had to get out and clear ice from the wipers. Ice collected both on the sides and bottom of the windshield, and I literally could not use them. I don't know if it's because there's not enough heat at the bottom of the windshield to keep them clear of ice, but this is one of the first things I've discovered that I didn't like about the car.
I do have issues wirh the auto function in the rain. However, I’m responding to your icing up issue: I found last week in well below freezing, mountain blizzard conditions that the wipers and windshield would ice up badly enough that they weren’t actually wiping until I resorted to the second level defrost mode (2nd press goes from blue icon to red). This mode worked really well and cleared all the ice off and kept it off. I never even had to stop and knock off the ice that had already accumulated.

The downside is that it became quickly too hot in the cabin (though my girlfriend was happy with that) so I had to resort to keeping one or two windows cracked open. (And I alternated windows as we shifted direction relative to the wind blowing in snow.) But hey, it kept the windshield completely clear! I ended up alternating between that heavy defrost mode and normal as the long night went on.
 

aleagle

Member
Mar 22, 2017
141
58
Yorba Linda, CA USA
The auto wipers on my car are essentially useless. They don't turn on until the windshield is completely covered in rain to the point that you can't see anything. So just use the manual wipers, right? Well there's no control. You have to fish around on the touch screen to find the setting.

Crappy auto-mode + terrible ergonomics on manual mode = seriously unfortunate combination.

Has anyone tried working with service to get their auto-wiper functionality working better? Or do they tell you there's nothing that can be done?

I love the car, but the wipers are garbage, making it annoying driving this car in the rain.
Then move to California. But seriously, I agree, they should either be more sensitive or be adjustable.
 

Threezy

New Member
Feb 15, 2019
1
6
Tigard, Oregon
The auto wipers on my car are essentially useless. They don't turn on until the windshield is completely covered in rain to the point that you can't see anything. So just use the manual wipers, right? Well there's no control. You have to fish around on the touch screen to find the setting.

Crappy auto-mode + terrible ergonomics on manual mode = seriously unfortunate combination.

Has anyone tried working with service to get their auto-wiper functionality working better? Or do they tell you there's nothing that can be done?

I love the car, but the wipers are garbage, making it annoying driving this car in the rain.
If you half press and hold the button on the end of the turn signal stalk the wipers will continue to run at a relatively fast rate. That's a quick and easy way to get the windshield cleared when the auto mode is doing something stupid.
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top