Skip to main content

Why do SUVs have rear wipers, but sedans don’t?

Do you know why car manufacturers don't put rear window wipers on sedans? My Hyundai SUV has one but my Elantra does not. – Dianne

Rear wipers are essentially meant for vehicles with an upright rear window that collects dust, dirt, snow, etc., because of aerodynamics – the flow of air over the right angle where the roof and rear window meet creates a low pressure area that pulls that nasty stuff in and deposits it onto the surface. Sedans, with their sloped roofline rely on that same flow of air – this time over the roof and down the window to keep it clean. Adding a wiper would create more aerodynamic drag creating slightly more fuel use. A wiper also requires an electric motor and a fairly convoluted mechanism and lengthy arm to make the wiper sweep across the glass from side to side. On a wagon or other vehicle with a tailgate the motor, mechanism and other paraphernalia can be hidden within the tailgate. The same is true of a hatchback where there is sufficient space for all this equipment. There is no place to put it in a sedan, just a thin parcel shelf and, in most cases, rear seats that fold down.

Daytime running lights

Story continues below advertisement

Our 2005 Honda's Daytime Running lights (DLRs) come on automatically after it is started. But I see a lot of cars, new and old, that do not. Can they be shut off by the driver? It would be safer if both front and rear lights came on whenever the car is started and running. Why don't safety advocates push for this? – Peter

DRLs are required by federal law. If you see a vehicle without these it is a) older than the regulations (1990), b) visiting from the United States where they are not required or c) the owner has disconnected them – illegally. Your point about front and rear lights coming on together is one I am happy to champion. DRLs are a mere percentage of low beam or separate lights altogether – what we used to call parking lights. They are often, dangerously, connected to the instrument panel lights causing drivers to think their headlights are on. Too many people think that because they see lights on in front or on the dash, that their actual headlights are on as well as their taillights. If driving in an area with some ambient lighting, they may not notice the lack of proper light at the front, but drivers behind them may not see them in time to prevent running into them. The law should require head and taillights to be on when the ignition is on.

Remote starter

My girlfriend's new car has a remote starter – from the manufacturer. She appreciates being able to get into a warm vehicle first thing on a cold morning, but I'm told that this hurts the engine. If that is the case, why would the company include it? – Marc

Idling for any great length of time might cause some minimal engine problems but today's engines are so well managed by the control computer, that isn't likely. A check of the owner's manual will tell her how long is considered okay. The feature is really designed for consumers in the deep south, allowing them to cool off a vehicle before getting in. We get to use it with the HVAC set to warm. The big issues though are fuel consumption and the environment. Any time an engine is running, even a new clean one, it is consuming fuel and emitting harmful gasses. This is especially true for a cold engine which depends on a richer initial fuel/air mixture. Obviously, customer satisfaction comes ahead of common sense.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Story continues below advertisement

Add us to your circles

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter