Those Tesla Auto Wipers Have A Major Flaw, Musk Promises Future Fix




Tesla automatic windshield wipers

Until the next Tesla over-the-air software update, we advise you to wear a poncho prior to entering your Model S, X, or 3 in the rain.

Tesla’s automatic rain-sensing wipers are “smarter” than rivals’ systems, however, there’s one small problem. Actually, depending on who you talk to, it could be a very big problem.

It turns out that the automatic wipers are still in beta mode. Rather than using a simple, single sensor to detect rain or moisture, Tesla has decided to use its second-generation Autopilot suite of cameras and artificial intelligence network to determine when and if the wipers should turn on. This will allow the system to be highly advanced, especially once incremental software updates improve it.


Tesla rain-sensing wipers in action

The auto wipers are already capable of detecting just about anything making contact with the windshield. As we recently shared, DÆrik made a goofy video in which he dumps all kinds of food products on the windshield to see if the sensors will wipe it off. Included below is another of Erik’s videos (via Teslarati) that uses a hose and some tape in an attempt to figure out exactly which Autopilot cameras are involved in the auto wiper system.

So, what’s this small big problem?

Apparently, if the cameras are detecting moisture while the car is idle or parked, as soon as you approach it and open the door, the auto wipers spring to life splashing you with water and dumping it into the vehicle.

Let’s paint a picture here. If it’s the middle of summer, on a warm weekend, and you have nowhere important to go, this may create a bit of a laugh. However, can you imagine being dressed for work in your nice clothes, perhaps carrying a computer or briefcase … freezing temps … unacceptable to say the least.

Multiple Tesla owners have reported incidents related to this auto wiper quirk, while others explained that their auto wipers didn’t turn on until they pressed the brake and started the car.

Of course, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter — in response to a related complaint — that the next software update will fix this issue:

Below is another video showing the wipers in light snow. As you can see, there’s still some tweaking to do since the wipers aren’t automatically clearing the dirty, snowy windshield:

Source: Teslarati

Categories: Tesla


Leave a Reply

53 Comments on "Those Tesla Auto Wipers Have A Major Flaw, Musk Promises Future Fix"

newest oldest most voted

Automatic wipers are still in beta mode, and still, there are small/big problems.

If they are struggling with such simple thing, I’m wondering how long FSD will be in “beta mode with small/big problems”.

I have yet to see autowipers that work perfectly on any car. At least these will be updated better.

My non-Tesla autowipers work perfectly. I leave them in that setting all the time. Oh, and my wipers cover a whole lot more of the windscreen too.

My wipers working well, then again I haven’t seen rain since October.

My auto wipers work pretty much perfectly.

Great. And since the Model 3 requires a distracting GUI interface to operate the wipers for anything besides mist, the wipers become even more dangerous now that you can’t count on the auto feature.

Unlike every other car built in the last 50 years, you can’t operate the wipers on muscle memory alone.

Tell me again, Elon, what was wrong with a simple wiper stalk that performs all wiper functions?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“Tell me again, Elon, what was wrong with a simple wiper stalk that performs all wiper functions?”

Exactly. Another over engineered item like the door handles.

and the air vents, and the instrument panel . . .

You obviously don’t have a model 3. The air vents are the best on any car I’ve ever seen.

Do you own one?


Ok. I believe you.

It’s red with Alancantra #1412. My son has two Tesla’s that’s how I got it so early

Exactly. Another reason I won’t buy a model 3. Hoping they come to their senses for the model y.

“While controlling the Model 3 through a screen is relatively intuitive in this gadget-filled age, the reality is that you may wind up asking the passenger to perform some of the functions just so you can keep your eyes on the road. If you’re driving solo, stop lights will be your friend. ”

That sounds terrible. What’s the point of changing the interface system if it makes it *harder* to do anything? Now it’s like trying to operate a cellphone while driving, getting in a few quick presses at each stoplight???

What the ever living fark? That is straight up pathetic. First time I saw a video of that nonsense. And you can keep your stupid FUD accusation. There is no defense of it. It doesn’t even reach the passenger side all the way. Did some intern do that? Whisky Tango Foxtrot Over? Forget the failed auto feature, it just plain doesn’t reach a big chunk of the windshield.

Well, lets wait until the problem is fix with writing about it and then don’t mention that it’s fix with a new software…

Indeed. It’s already been fixed in the latest release.

This is one of those problems related to Teslas powering on automatically.

I really dislike automatic features for things that don’t need to be automatic.

Put the wiper controls on a stalk and be done with it. I can reflexively hit a stalk with thoughtless musle memory whenever the winshield is wet.

Oh and the touchscreen menu controlled glovebox? GMAFB. WTF is wrong with a simple glovebox? If someone breaks into your Tesla they’ll just pry open the glovebox anyways.

It is an issue and unlike most of the issues with vehicles from the laggard legacy OEMs, Tesla will be able to fix this through a software update WHILE YOUR CAR SITS PARKED through an OTA.

If Tesla can get that OTA fix out in the next month or so then they will have contained the fallout.

The point you miss is legacy automakers wouldn’t have add such functionality to need fixing in the first place. Tesla is their own worse enemy. Instead of their developers being able to add true value add they are left implementing features that could have easily just been a hardware solution.

No one cares how fancy their wipers are in their cars, but they better work 100% of the time consistently.

“Instead of their developers being able to add true value add they are left implementing features that could have easily just been a hardware solution.”

That is just flat wrong. Perhaps the biggest reason Tesla cars are so desirable is that Tesla has engineered everything to work well together, in an intuitive fashion perhaps more like an iPhone than a traditional automobile. And that requires that as much as possible be software-driven and changeable thru updated programming, rather than “locked into” the hardware the car was given when built.

Now, that’s not to say Tesla can do no wrong! I certainly agree that it was a mistake for Tesla not to allow the wiper control on the steering column stalk to control the wiper speed, as is common on other cars.

But this current thing about “The wipers may unexpectedly swipe and splash some water on you…” Really? Who would base a buying decision on such a trivial and seldom-encountered problem?

To me, the fact that an “issue” is being made of this non-issue is a pretty strong indication that there are no major faults with the car! Seems like grasping at straws to find something to complain about, no matter how minor.

Software isn’t going to fix those stupid wipers.

Great. A regular “Ice Bucket Challenge”.

I am pretty sure we will have perfected the automated windshield wiper by the time the last glacier melts. At least we have our priorities straight. 🙂

Why do something the simple way when you can do it the complicated and error-prone way?

Makes sense to me, and the rest of the Silicon Valley Automotive dedicated EV only startups. Your just going to have to learn to live with all this new “coolness factor”.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I have 2 cars with this auto feature and I never use them……lol

Agreed. It’s pointless. But far dumber is the fact that this is not ‘technology’. Pretty sure this has been a thing for a very long time. And if Someone can’t measure a windshield for coverage or do the math perhaps they could just go look at a Chrysler minivan to figure out how one makes a windshield wiper that functions on a very large windshield.

Reminds me of that juicer company that went broke selling the a $700 juicer that didn’t actually do anything.

The funny is that on my ’97 S420, this feature was actually useful and worked. You could leave it on all the time and it would only wipe when you wanted it. In temps right around freezing, it would get the moisture off before it had a chance to turn to ice – great especially at night. It would clear the moisture before you even knew it was there Too bad this was about the only thing that worked on the car.

So why is it that MB had this system perfected 20+ years ago and Tesla has to use trial and error because apparently everything has to be designed from scratch?

Aren’t their cameras also having trouble detecting the rain at night in dark conditions? I thought I had read that was another issue that cropped up in avoiding typical generally-accepted rain sensing technology.

C’mon, this silly splashy splashy issue is not THE biggest issue. They can fix the splashing in software (e.g., don’t wipe until the brake pedal is pressed, etc.).

The BIGGEST issue is that the auto wipers barely and/or don’t work at night, since the camera needs light in order to “see” the drops in front of it on the windshield.

At night, alone on a dark road, when it’s raining heavily, the auto wipers DO NOT WIPE unless you happen to go under bright streetlamp (and maybe there are none). (This is from personal experience.)

It is beta, so perhaps they will come up with some kind of fix for this. But, this is a major flaw with a camera (light) based system.

I hadn’t even thought of that rather obvious issue. Headlights don’t shine on windshields. If they had experienced design engineers that point would probably have been made in the first meeting that the designer team working on it would have had.

You guys really don’t understand disruptive nature of these wipers and revolutionary Tesla enterprise!

It is all about disruption, and squashing conspiracy of these legacy automakers, who are in bed with Big Oil & Koch brothers. I’m starting to suspect that you are Big Oil shills and short sellers, trying to undermine BEV revolution. Are you???!

Just quit it, Tesla wipers are greatest invention in the world! Disruption! Full autonomy! Cars driving all by themselves in ludicrous mode! Tesla is the best and will take world in no time! GO TESLA!!!!

Eloony the Elunatic continues to live up to his name with his nonsensical posts here including this lame attempt at sarcasm.

Like a joke… only not funny.

Totally overstated, works fine for me. There is a corner case where you wait for a while after unlocking your car and then get in at just the right moment when the wipers come on. Probably addressed in the next software update, really no big deal.

It seems like with Tesla, it’s considered ok to ship all sorts of stuff that doesn’t work, because hey, it’s just software.

In Norway, a Model X owner documented the falcon wing door opening on its own initiative while driving at 80 kph. He says it’s happened several times, and that Tesla has told him they were aware this sometimes happens but have no fix as they don’t understand why. The same guy also said the window wiper is dangerous as it doesn’t clean the most vital area of the windscreen, right in front of the driver, properly. He even reported it to the equivalent of the DMV, asking for an evaluation of whether Model X as it works now should even be allowed on Norwegian roads.

NRK (Norway’s equivalent to the BBC, in Norwegian) brought the story:

Gosh! If it’s raining, you might be splashed with water. In other news, the sun will rise in the East tomorrow.

How terrible that the automatic rain sensor wipers on Tesla cars have the same “problem” found on other cars. /snark

That is, if it’s even worthy of being called an actual “problem”. More like an extreme example of a “first world problem”!

I guess, as a Tesla fan, I should look at this as actually being a compliment. It appears that Tesla cars are so much better than all other cars that people get upset when there is any function on Tesla cars which doesn’t work significantly better than the identical function on other cars!

Go Tesla!

Do you own a Tesla? I do. It’s death by a thousand cuts. Fortunately, it very slowly improving. My second X has doors that have failed to open only once. That’s huge.

“Do you own a Tesla? I do.”

You mean, you pretend to own a Tesla Model X, despite being a serial Tesla bashing FUDster both before and after pretending to buy one.

I no longer drive, nor do I pretend to own any EVs, as you do because you think it makes your Tesla Hater cultist lies more plausible.

Unlike you, I value Truth.

So in the future, you will hail a self-driving car to take you to your destination, but you will have to manually operate the wipers if you want to look out a window?

Isn’t there a manual override mode?

Yup. You can manually choose from two speeds of intermittent wipers thru the central touchscreen; see article linked below.

Believe it or not, every bit of the whining in this discussion is about how well or poorly the automatic rain-sensing function of the wipers work… not to mention ignoring the OTA update to fix this rather minor problem; an update which ItsNotAboutTheMoney reported, above. 🙄

Very, very definitely “a first-world problem”! *Sigh*

This is not the biggest flaw with the beta wipers. The biggest flaw is that they don’t do their job. I turned mine off. If it’s using a neutral net, it’s the neural net of a nematode.

The wipers on your imaginary car worked equally well before and after you pretended to turn them off, Mr. Tesla Hater cultist.

So no one has a Tesla?
Are they selling to aliens?

Another Euro point of view

Could be now that you mention it, some of them at least. For example Tesla is supposed to sell masses of cars in China but yet none of their models appears in the top twenty best sold EVs list for 2017 in China (at least according to EV sales blog by Jose Pontes).

What a petty issue. Just override auto-on or auto-wipe.

My ELR does the same thing if the car is on AND the wipers are on auto AND it’s raining enough to activate them. However, I’m usually damp already because it’s freaking raining!

Yeah seems funny they write an entire article about this issue – unless you can’t disable them. I’ve had 2 cars that have this feature – and on neither car it worked well enough to use.

On my 2004 Kia Amante (great value of a car – before Kia got popular), since the car had to have everything but the kitchen sink in it, it also had ‘rain-sense wipers’. They tried to work sometimes, but since you could add the feature in-addition to variable intermittentcy, there was no downside.

The ELR initially was a big PITAss but then I firgured out how to disable it so that intermittent wipers returned. The next replacement wiper blades will be standard ‘wireless’ ones, permanently disabling the feature which is just fine by me.

You mean you can’t disable or do some other work around on this Tesla?

New model 3 auto wipers don’t keep up with rain. Also turn on sometimes with dry conditions, wont stop.

I turned my auto wipers off, no matter where i set it, it just doesn’t do well with very light rain. Its like it doesn’t see it when it a light rain. I have a Ram truck that has the best rain sensor system i have ever used, it catches the lightest to the heaviest even a splash.