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Wiper blade defrosters - useful? necessary?

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by NickM, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. NickM

    NickM Member

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    I originally ordered my car without the subzero weather package, because everything in the description sounded unnecessary (even though I live in a cold climate). I've never had a car with wiper blade defrosters or washer nozzle heaters, and I've never had a problem with either of those things freezing up, and I almost never have anyone riding in the back seats either.

    However, I'm starting to worry that the wiper blade defroster might be a necessity because of the way the Model S wipers are designed. I recently found out that the wipers retract all the way beneath the lip of the hood, I think? On my current car, I can scrape around the blades, lift them up and scrape underneath, etc. but it sounds like it might be nearly impossible to de-ice the wipers if they freeze up on my MS while it's parked outside.

    On the other hand, I don't mind setting the wipers in service mode while the car is parked outside, if that's possible. But I can't seem to find out whether the wipers will stay lifted off the windshield once you leave the car or not. On the other, other hand, maybe the defroster blower inside the car will unfreeze that area well enough already?

    Can anyone comment as to their experiences de-icing the wipers with/without the cold weather package? I confirmed my order a while ago but they haven't started building the car yet, so if the wiper blade defrosters are really necessary for using the car in the winter time I suppose I might be able to call up Tesla and get them to add the feature. I'm buying this car on a budget though, and I'd rather not spend the extra $750 though unless I can't get by without it....
     
  2. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Can speak for not having the blade defrosters--with a wet snow, the wipers will get caked up. Turning the defroster on high will take care of it but uses a lot of energy. I would think that, when wiping, the blades don't really spend enough time on the heating element to make a difference in that scenario. Will let someone with the package comment on that one. Cold weather/dry snow is a non-issue for me.
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Yes, they will stay lifted when you exit the car. However, they won't stay lifted when you start to drive, so be very sure to get every bit of ice out of the channel. Someone should make an insert to put in the channel to keep the snow out. Maybe battery powered to heat just a bit.
     
  4. Odenator

    Odenator P2607

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    Any hydrophobic coating (Aquapel, Rain-X...) to the windshield will minimize the likelihood of your wiper blades freezing to the windshield. This will also help to clear off snow and ice that forms on the windshield during a heavy snowfall. However, the recessed area at the bottom of the windshield will still get packed with snow, but this has not caused any significant issues with the use of the wipers. I do not have the subzero package and this has worked well for me this past winter.
     
  5. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    My car doesn't have it, but a Tesla loaner I used during a huge snowstorm for two days had the package. Here's my observations:

    Couldn't care less about the rear seat heaters since I rarely have anyone back there. Having said that, I found having the only controls (as far as I could tell) on the touchscreen a bit odd. It would mean rear seat passengers would always have to be asking someone up front to adjust them, and then you have to navigate through the Controls screen to get to them.

    It apparently has heated washer nozzles. I have always used a good quality washer fluid and have never once had a problem with my non-heated setup.

    The heated wipers are actually just a heated strip on the glass where the wipers sit when parked. I think it might be useful if they came on when you start to pre-heat the car with the app, but it does not appear that they do. That might be useful to start melting now/ice before you get to the car. Further, when you turn them on via the touchscreen, they will time out after a bit and shut off. I found that it was of very little use during the snowstorm I was in. Once you have the wipers actually wiping, they eventually turn into frozen popsicles anyway.

    Conclusion: Knowing what I know now, I would probably pass on this package.

    - - - Updated - - -

    They actually don't stay lifted off the glass (NickM's question) but simply park half way up the windshield. Many people around here will lift their wipers straight up when they park to make snow cleaning easier when they return, but the Model S wipers will not allow this:

    download.jpg
     
  6. bhuwan

    bhuwan Active Member

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    1) My nozzles froze on me on the way to NH during a winter storm. I thought I used quality washer fluid but I guess not. It would have been nice to somehow unfreeze them - as the situation was EXTREMELY dangerous.
     
  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    One winter trick is to make sure you use the washers frequently. Give them a little squirt now and then. I've been told that the alcohol in the fluid can "evaporate" at the end of the line near the nozzles, leaving the "water" behind to freeze up. Heated washer systems usually heat the fluid before it travels down the tubes to the nozzle, so if you have an ice plug at the nozzle, it probably wouldn't help anyway.

    I always buy the -45 F or better fluid. No problem at all through this horrible cold winter we've had. Sometimes cheaper fluid, even if it does flow, can freeze on the glass, also creating a dangerous situation. I did not have that problem all winter either.
     
  8. bhuwan

    bhuwan Active Member

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    Thanks good to know.
     
  9. NickM

    NickM Member

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone! I think based on your collective advice, I will forgo the cold weather package. Sounds like it's really more of a luxury than a necessity. Yeah I know, I'm buying a luxury car, but I've gotta draw the line somewhere :wink:.

    I am a little disappointed that the service mode doesn't actually lift the wipers off the windshield, but at least getting them out from underneath the hood should be a big improvement.

    Also, thanks to Odenator for the advice on hydrophobic coatings. I was thinking about trying Aquapel anyway, but didn't even realize it would help with snow and ice as well as rain, so I'll definitely have to give it a shot now :smile:. I wonder if it would also work for keeping the windows from freezing up if I applied it around the edge? I've heard of people having stuck doors because the window glass froze and couldn't lower, so I was going to plan on spraying some silicone around the edges, but I wonder if Aquapel would work even better...
     
  10. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

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    I'm also considering this option, pretty much just for the heated steering wheel. Wish that was available alone.

    The reason most of us have never had frozen wiper fluid... The huge heated engine under your hood. I'm just in PA but I've had them not work well. Once the engine is warm under the hood. All flows fine. Of course the S has no huge heat source under the hood... But I don't care about heated rear seats or wipers. I just want the wheel, and not $750 worth.
     
  11. rdrcrmatt

    rdrcrmatt Member

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    If I order a new car this would be a must have.

    without the wiper heaters the water on your windshield will get wiped up by the wipers and then pushed into any built up snow down where the wipers sit and refreeze. At which point your wipers become useless.

    This happens in about 5 minutes of driving.

    I hate the wipers and sprayers on these cars.

    I need to replace my windshield and plan to figure out how to install the cold weather package windshield so I can get the defroster.
     
  12. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I have just happened to have loaners with this feature twice now during terrible snow days... once last winter and once this past December. I honestly didn't find that it helped one tiny bit compared to my car without the feature. First of all, you still get the same ice build-up and second, they "time out" and shut off just like the rear defrosters do. Since the controls are buried on the 17" settings screen, there is no way to notice this unless you leave the screen with the "Cold Weather" tab open all the time.
     
  13. RiverBrick

    RiverBrick Active Member

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    It is true the feature is buried too deep in the menus. However, the cycle is exactly the same as the rear-defroster one. If you turn on both at the same time, you know you have to reset the two of them when the rear-defroster turns off. It would be nice to be able to adjust the cycle lengths in the settings.
     
  14. arijaycomet

    arijaycomet Member

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    just to add my $0.02 here ...

    Subzero weather package for me is a MUST HAVE on my next Tesla. This time around finances required me to get a deeply discounted inventory car, so I ended up with a spring-2014 built 85 w/o auto pilot for a nice price off MSRP, purchased right before end of year. I've had a few BMWs with heated steering wheels and that feature alone makes the subzero package worthwhile to me here in Cleveland, Ohio (today's temps are single digits with negative "feeling" wind chills)

    Beyond the steering wheel that alone justifies the cost to me, the wiper "heaters" (glass section with defrost) is similar to what some other manufactures have done for years (Land Rover etc). I think it will help but I'm going to say Tesla needs to update their app to allow THAT to turn on with the pre-heat. In my wife's 2012 Nissan Leaf the pre-heat in winter will turn on the heated seats, the heated steering, and defrost the car. In the Tesla it just appears to resume your last HVAC setting but nothing more.

    If Tesla gets off their butt and makes the pre-heat (winter) work better, then it would be great b/c then you get a heated tush, heated steering, defrosted wipers, defrosted glass, all with a single button press. As it sits right now it won't give you the full experience, and the moment you get in the car you'll be sitting/waiting for the defrost to actually achieve the end-goal. Still, for the small price, the steering alone makes it good by me. (Rear heated seats, as others have said, is a PITA to adjust for those people back there-- but at least that is a nice bonus of the package, I guess). Oh and heated nozzles, all my Audi vehicles came with this STANDARD... I think it is a joke to be part of this and should be std... but also a nice feature if you park outside frequently.
     
  15. PatD

    PatD Member

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    Here's how I looked at it. When I started pricing my Tesla, it didn't have the heated steering wheel. No biggie for me - never had one before and I can preheat the cabin.

    But, if you're pricing a P85D, let's assume you're at $120k. $750 is .6% of the total cost of the car. My theory is that if/when I go to sell the car, someone is going to look at it and say - you didn't get the subzero package? I'll pass. I don't expect to necessarily get a return on my $750 investment, but I do expect someone to not pass on the car because it has those features. Now that they've thrown in the heated wheel, goodie. :)
     
  16. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I tend to like all the "goodies" myself, but do have to question this assertion. It may be true if you're selling privately to someone very knowledgeable about the car, but in my experience with trade ins, it comes down to year, make, model and mileage. There is sometimes (oddly) a bump if the car has a sunroof, but rarely are any of the other options even considered when a trade-in price is worked up.
     
  17. PatD

    PatD Member

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    I agree, if trading it in. Other than to buy another Tesla from Tesla, I'd be shocked if I trade a Tesla in (How many times can you say Tesla in a sentence?) Actually, I'm not sure I've EVER traded a car in - always a private sale. That's where my head is on this.
     
  18. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I agree for a trade-in. But it's not likely to be true for a private sale.
     
  19. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    On a previous car with heated wiper parking area on the windshield, the only time I found it really useful was when driving in slush/sleet to help keep the blades running and the bottom of the windshield relatively free of frozen slush. I liked having it, but it wasn't overwhelming.
     
  20. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    My 2000 Land Rover Discovery has an actual heated windshield with wires imbedded the full width of the windshield. These are very thin wires which are inside the glass (not on either surface). They are visible with proper lighting but don't interfere with vision. These work great to clear the windshield of ice and snow quickly. I haven't seen these on other cars and don't know how common this is but highly recommended. I think most manufacturers have gone the route similar to Tesla where they have heater wires painted onto the surface.
     

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