Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Do Heated Windows Work?

Heated Window

The outside of your car’s windows are subject to harsh environmental elements including:

  • Stone chips
  • Road debris
  • Dirt
  • Bird droppings
  • Snow and ice

The benefits of heated windows

While you can’t prevent environmental elements from occurring, snow and ice can be combatted by heating the windows. Air blowing on the inside of the glass can be effective if the air is already warm, but it can take quite a while to heat up in freezing temperatures. Often, you won’t want to wait that long to begin driving.

Even if the temperature outside is above the freezing point, the inside of the windows can fog up from moist, humid weather conditions. Foggy windows obstruct your vision much like ice and snow on the windows can, making it unsafe to drive.

Nearly all back windows on cars and SUVs are equipped with heated windows, and some trucks are as well. The grid on the rear window is known as a rear window defogger. It is a thin electrical element that power runs through. The resistance in the element causes it to heat up, which warms the glass. The heat melts a small amount of ice and snow, and clears the fogginess from the rear window.

Immovable side windows and power mirrors on some vehicles, as well as a select few windshields, are now equipped with an electrical grid of the same nature. While rear window defogger grids are usually visible as long horizontal lines on the glass, the side windows, windshield, and power mirrors use a very fine element that is barely visible at all, even on close inspection.

How heated windows work

Heated windows operate on a button or switch, and utilize a timer to turn the heat off after a certain period. Typically, it is between 10 and 15 minutes of operation.

The rear defogger will stop working if the grid is broken and is the most common problem for rear window defogger grids. If the rear window defogger has an electrical contact come off or a defogger line is scratched through, there will not be electrical continuity to heat the rear window. The grid can be repaired and electrical contacts can sometimes be re-secured.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: Car overheating and not defrosting properly.

Hi, I have seen this issue quite often on the PT Cruiser. This is typically caused by a failure in the heater core that is located in the dash. This part carries hot coolant into the interior of the car...

Q: Heater controls not working

Hello, thank you for writing in. There are multiple fuse boxes associated with the vehicle, and you may also need to check the interior fuse box. Fuse number 13 according to my records is for the rear climate control, and...

Q: Power window not working

The window regulator may have broke and is binding the motor or the motor is bad. Both of these are common problems, and if you hear crunching when the window switch is pushed, the regulator is broken. If you do...