How do Tesla windshield wipers work

How do Tesla windshield wipers work

Do Teslas have windshield wipers? How do you clean them and how do they work? Manipulating wipers may seem easy in other cars but it’s not completely obvious how to do it in a Tesla, so we’re here to help. I also get a lot of questions about what wiper fluid to use, so I’m going to share what I know after my research. I hope this is helpful, let me know if you still have questions at the end.

Tesla cars have wipers and washers, and in this article, we’re going to learn more about the following:

How do Tesla windshield wipers work?

It does work differently in the Model 3/Y and the Model S/X, so let’s look at both separately:

Model 3/Y
  • Single wipe: Press and immediately release the button on the end of the left-hand steering column lever.
  • To adjust the continuous wiper settings, touch the windshield wiper icon located in the «Cards» area on the touchscreen. The wiper card displays the current state of the wipers. This is how it looks like:

Press the icon (1 in the picture above) to turn the wipers on and off.

Adjust the speed of the wipers with the controls below the on and off icon (2 in the picture above).

  1. Intermittent, slow
  2. Intermittent, fast
  3. Continuous, slow
  4. Continuous, fast
  5. AUTO: Model 3 detects whether or not it is raining. When wipers are set to AUTO and liquid is detected on the windshield, Model 3 determines the optimal frequency at which they should wipe. If Model 3 does not detect liquid on the windshield, the wipers do not wipe. This feature is currently in BETA.

Alternatively, you can also turn on and off and adjust the speed of the wipers using voice commands. Here’s how:

  • Turn on and off: “Turn on/off windshield wipers” and “Wipers on/off”
  • Adjust wipers speed: “Set wipers to auto/1/2/3/4” or “Speed up wipers” (increases speed by 1).

A few other things to take into account (from the Owners Manual):

  • Ensure the wipers are off when washing the Model 3/Y to avoid damaging them
  • Remove ice from the windshield before turning the wipers on. Ice has sharp edges that can damage the rubber on the blades
  • In harsh climates, ensure that the wiper blades are not frozen or adhered to the windshield.
Model S/X
  • Single wipe: press and release the end of the left-hand steering column lever.
  • To adjust the continuous wipers settings: Rotate the end of the left-hand steering column lever away from you.

The steering column lever has five positions:

  • 1st: Off
  • 2nd: Auto with low rain sensitivity
  • 3rd: Auto with high rain sensitivity
  • 4th: Continuous, slow
  • 5th: Continuous, fast

To enable the Auto settings, touch Controls > Vehicle > Autowipers (Beta). When wipers are set to Auto, Model S detects whether or not it is raining. The frequency at which they wipe depends on how much rain is detected on the windshield. When wipers are set to high rain sensitivity, the wipers turn on when Model S/X detects a light mist. This feature is in BETA.

A few other things to take into account (from the Owners Manual):

  • If the wipers are set to Auto and Model S detects no liquid on the windshield, the wipers do not wipe.
  • When parking in cold outdoor climates, it is helpful to leave Model S with the wipers in the service position. In this position, they are closer to the defrost vent, allowing you to thaw them by directing air from the climate control system towards the windshield.
  • Wipers automatically return to their normal position when you shift out of Park.
  • If Model S/X is equipped with the optional cold weather package, you can de-ice wipers by touching the climate control on the touchscreen. Wiper heaters automatically turn off after 15 minutes.

All the same voice commands available in the Model 3/Y are also available in the Model S/X.

Washers and wiper fluid

The washers also work differently in the Model 3/Y and in the Model S/X:

Model 3/Y

Fully press and hold the button on the end of the left-hand steering column lever to spray washer fluid onto the windshield. While spraying the windshield, the wipers turn on. After releasing the button, the wipers perform two additional wipes, then a third wipe a few seconds later.

Model S/X

Press the button on the end of the left steering column lever to spray washer fluid onto the windshield. You can press this button at two levels. Press partially for a single wipe, without any washer fluid. Press fully for both wipe and wash. When washing the windshield, the wipers will perform two wipes after you release the button, then a third wipe a few seconds later.

When the level of windshield washer fluid is low, a message displays on the touchscreen.

A few recommendations (from the Owners Manual):

  • Use a washer fluid with limited Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) content only if it provides adequate freeze resistance for all climates in which you drive your Tesla.
  • Do not add formulated washer fluids that contain water repellent or bug wash. These fluids can cause streaking, smearing, and squeaking or other noises.
  • In temperatures below 40° F (4° C), use a washer fluid with antifreeze. In cold weather, using a washer fluid without antifreeze can impair visibility through the windshield.

Here are some of products that Tesla owners recommend:

How to clean and change Tesla wiper blades?

Tesla recommends changing the wiper blades once a year. Here’s how to do it in the Model 3/Y:

  1. Shift into Park and turn off the wipers
  2. Touch Controls > Service > Wiper Service Mode > ON to move the wipers to the service position.
  3. Lift the wiper arm a short distance away from the windshield, just far enough to access the wiper blade so you can clean it. Important note! Wiper blades do not lock into a lifted position. Do not lift a wiper arm beyond its intended position.

To change the wiper blades:

  1. Place a towel between the wiper arm and windshield to avoid scratching or cracking the windshield
  2. Hold the wiper arm and press the locking tab while sliding the blade down the arm
  3. Align the new wiper blade on the wiper arm and slide it toward the end of the wiper arm until it locks into place
  4. Turn Wiper Service Mode off to return the wipers to their normal position

In the Model S/X, to make wiper blades easy to access so you can clean or change them, shift Model S into Park, turn the wipers off, then use the touchscreen to move them to the service position. Touch Controls > Service > Wiper Service Mode. Then follow all the same steps above.

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