Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Do Rain-Sensing Wipers Work?

How Do Rain-Sensing Wipers Work?

Rain-Sensing Wiper System

Several decades ago, the only settings windshield wipers came with were low, high, and off. Later, an intermittent wiper feature was integrated into many windshield wiper switches, allowing drivers to reduce the frequency of wiper movements based on the intensity of precipitation. The most innovative addition to windshield wiper technology has come in recent years, in the form of rain-sensing wipers.

Rain-sensing wipers turn on when precipitation or another obstruction is on the windshield. The wipers engage on their own and the frequency of windshield wiper swipes is adjusted based on the weather conditions.

So How Do Rain-sensing Wipers Actually Work?

Mounted on the windshield, usually close to or integrated into the rear-view mirror base, is a sensor. Most rain-sensing wiper systems use an infrared light that is projected through the windshield glass at a 45-degree angle. Based on how much light returns back to the sensor, the wipers engage or adjust their speed. If rain or snow, or dirt or another substance is on the windshield, less light returns to the sensor and the wipers turn on independently.

Rain-sensing wipers will turn on faster than you can respond, especially in a surprising situation like your windshield getting splashed by passing traffic. Your vehicle is still equipped with a manual override with at least a low, high, and off switch in the case of rain-sensing wiper malfunction.

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

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...

Related questions

Q: How is the ABS sensor related to the driver side rear axle?

The speed sensor is important to all of the systems listed. The tire pressure system in your vehicle is a common basic type system. It uses the ABS sensor to measure the diameter of the tire. A tire with low...

Q: Why are my wipers going off when I turn the turn signals on?

Hi, thanks for writing in. It appears that there may be an issue within the column. The controls for the wipers and turn signals are separate units, but are connected by a series of wiring within the column, and there...

Q: Died while driving, now it cranks but doesn't start.

The codes for the cam sensor may indicate the cam sensor is bad or the camshaft is not turning. If your timing belt broke then your camshaft would not turn. You should open the oil cap and look inside when...