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27 November 2005

Wiper Features

The wipers on the A3 have a 'cleaning position' feature - when you turn off the ignition switch, tap the wiper stalk to 'wipe once' and the wipers will jump up midway on the windshield and stop there. That way you can fold them up for cleaning. However, I discovered yet another feature as part of this: When the wipers are in the cleaning position, you can 'wipe' them back-and-forth freely on the windshield! I expected they would be immovable like every other car, but you can actually move them to wherever you want. If you push them all the way down to the normal 'rest' position, though, they lock there and they don't move when you restart the car, so no streaks on your just-cleaned windshield!

Another feature is that when you turn the car off, the wipers move slightly. Not a lot, just enough to 'flip' the blade edge to the other direction; so one time the wipers will move slightly down, and the next time slightly up, to keep the rubber blades 'exercised' to prolong life. It may look like only the right one is moving, but it's just that the right one is more visible than the left so you notice it more. You'll hear the sound of the wipers moving, but it's normal. Get used to it.

When you pull the washer on the rear wiper, it squirts water along the blade for a couple of seconds before it first wipes, eliminating (or at least reducing) the dreaded first-wipe drag of grit across the dry glass. Better for the blade, fewer scratches on the glass. However.... after using the rear wiper/washer with actual road scuzz on the rear window, I saw how it could be made a little better.

The rear washer has two jets that rotate as part of the wiper hub, and aim at the leading edge of the blade. The lower jet is aimed about 1/3 of the way up from the tail of the blade, and the higher jet was aimed about 1/2 of the way up the blade. In real-world use, this meant that a streak formed on the glass under the upper 1/2 of the blade beacause not enough washer fluid reached it to clean the glass effectively. A stiff, thick pin (slightly larger than a straight pin used for sewing) can be used to adjust the ball jet, c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y. I hate adjusting those things - it's a real pain to get it right. But now, with a lot of patience, and a lot of trial-and-error, I now have the upper jet blasting the leading edge of the blade about 2/3 of the way up, and it gives a nice streak-free wipe. It also works even better at blasting grit off the blade before the first wipe.

If you have the front wipers 'on', and you put the car in reverse, the rear wiper will activate even if its switch is 'off'. I've also activated 'teardrop wiping' in the Comfort System coding. This means that when you use the rear wiper/washer, and you switch it 'off', after a few seconds it'll activate itself for one last wipe to get the 'teardrops' that run down the glass.


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