Wiper blades are one area of maintenance where you often really get what you pay for, and a new premium option just opened up for owners of Jeep Gladiators and JL Wranglers. Jeep’s own “high performance” wiper blades promise better…performance…in a rather unconventional way. If this sounds like a gimmick, bear with me for a second. There’s no special compound at play here, but instead a different method of spraying wiper fluid that’s been around for several years now. Let’s take a look at how these new Jeep blades work and why you may have seen similar technology before.
In a typical windshield wiper arrangement, you have at least one blade and at least one separate windshield washer fluid nozzle located on the hood or in the cowl or even on the wiper arm. Hit the control for the washer function and a big spritz of washer fluid gets pumped onto the windshield. While a dose of this cleaning cocktail can help get dirt off your windshield, a fan-style fluid nozzle is hardly effective at evenly covering the entire swept area of the wiper blades. Enter, the high-performance part of Jeep’s new high-performance windshield wiper blades. New hoses redirect windshield washer fluid to the blades themselves, then 12 laser-cut holes in the blades let the fluid flow smoothly and evenly across the swept area of the wiper blades. This allows for more even application of washer fluid for thorough windshield cleaning when you hit the washer function. It’s rather ingenious, although Jeep isn’t the first manufacturer to do this.
Most high-end Mercedes models sold in the past decade or so can be had with a variant of this system dubbed Magic Vision Control. It’s a pretentious name, but Mercedes’ system does have some advantages over a more traditional setup. For starters, the washer fluid is heated, which means that ice can be melted off of the wiper blades. Pretty nifty, although far from the only perk.
Imagine you’re motoring along in your 2014 Mercedes-Benz SL 550 with the retractable hardtop down, Steely Dan on the stereo, and your toupee flapping in the breeze. Things are going well until an envious seagull decides to use your windscreen as a lavatory. Now there’s precisely one dollop of avian waste directly in your line of vision. In a lesser cabriolet, you’d shortsightedly reach for the washer function, only to have a mixture of washer fluid and bird crap mist over you like Axe body spray. That really puts the toilette in eau de toilette, don’t you think? Thankfully, Mercedes has thought of that. Because fluid doesn’t have to travel at enormous pressure to reach the surface of the windshield, Mercedes can control splatter.
While reduced open-top splatter is certainly nice, it’s certainly not the biggest benefit of in-blade washer nozzles. Mercedes-Benz claims that Magic Vision Control can reduce washer fluid consumption by up to 50 percent, all while improving safety. Wait, what? Well, when traditional washer nozzles absolutely bukkake your windshield with cleaning fluid, you experience a few seconds of not being able to see a damn thing. At 70 mph (114 km/h), a vehicle travels more than 200 feet (61.16 meters) in two seconds, plenty of distance for shit to suddenly hit the fan. Because these special blades don’t spray fluid across the whole windshield in one go, forward visibility is preserved. Overall, Magic Vision Control is more precise than arm-mounted nozzles or hood-mounted nozzles, plus the ability to blast ice from the wiper blades is pretty awesome.
While recent high-end Mercedes-Benz models are expensive, Jeep’s kit costs a mere $140 at your local Mopar parts counter. That’s not bad considering that the kit includes two sets of special blades, new wiper arms, and the necessary tubing required to send washer fluid up to the wiper blades. Granted, there are still some unknowns about Jeep’s kit. Replacement wiper blades likely won’t be easy to find at your local generic auto parts store, and winter performance without a heating system is still very much up in the air. Anyone who’s lived in a place with four fully-fledged seasons will know that ice buildup on wiper blades can get surprisingly thick, even to the point where winter-formula washer fluid can’t melt the frozen shackles of Jack Frost.
Perhaps the biggest known drawback to Jeep’s high performance wiper blades is that they only appear to have holes for fluid flow on one side. This means that the passenger side blade will be wiping across a fairly dry windshield on its way back down to its parked position, which can put extra wear on the blade. Many modern cars with traditional washer nozzles use an extended spray to keep the wiper blades lubricated through a full sweep, so Jeep’s high-performance setup will likely see slightly quicker blade wear compared to a standard setup.
We’ve reached out to Mopar for comment on replacement blade costs and whether or not the high performance wiper kit is fully reversible. In the meantime, this wiper kit looks like it could be a solid upgrade provided you live in a reasonably warm climate. The vertical nature of Wrangler and Gladiator windshields means they’re a magnet for bugs and mud, so a better way of spraying washer fluid feels like it’s worth a shot. As for performance in cold-weather climates, the jury’s still out. While these blades should do an awesome job of washing away salt stains on dry days, we’d need to test these blades to know if they’re still effective with ice coating the wipers.
Lead photo credit: Jeep
I have received a set of these. The spray bar is on the arm, not the blade. It essentially comes with two sets of blades, and the refill looks to be identical to the stock ones, so I don’t believe they will cost much more, if anything, and with two sets you’ll be good for a while.
It comes with a QR code instead of paper instructions. The link currently 404’s, so it probably hasn’t been added to starparts yet. I contacted Mopar, but who knows how long that will take to post. It looks easy-ish to install, except you have to pull the full arm to get the cowl plastic off for hose routing. I’m going to wait to install the kit until they have instructions to make sure I get the routing correct.
It is amazing to me how many commenters cannot discern the difference between this system and previous “wet arm” systems which merely placed washer nozzles on the arms – NOT channeled it through the blade itself like this does
The old Chrysler Concorde/Dodge Intrepid/Eagle Vision had something like this too apparently, according to this video:
As for conventional systems, my R129 SL seems to try and mitigate spraying the cabin by using narrow jets instead of a wide fan pattern (I can’t rule out that they’re not just clogged or something though…). It definitely does not work as well as a “normal” spray pattern but the times I’ve had to use it with the top down I didn’t get anything on me.
Also, the Chevy SSR had washers on the wiper arm. The work great.
$140.00 for new wipers? No thanks. That’s a lot of money for something I don’t need.
I think the compromise here is a nozzle next to the wiper(clipped) like Jaguar and I believe Volvo does.
It is also present on Mercedes Sprinter. I highly highly doubt any jeep person would pay 140 for a set of consumable blades – this way the thrifty Jaguar owners can still use the 10-20 dollar rain-x blades.
The $140 kit that is linked includes “arms, blades, and tubing required for initial installation, as well as one set of replacement blades”.
So I would guess the replacement blades by themselves being around $70-$100 – still expensive but not too crazy considering regular “premium” blades can cost $25 each.
I think I also saw something similar I mean a similar wiper blade at AGS
It was cheaper by the way
I had a mid 80’s Citroen BX with washer nozzles on the wiper blade. Nothing new.
Yeah I’ve had cars with nozzles on the arm, but not IN the blade though.
“The vertical nature of Wrangler and Gladiator windshields means they’re a magnet for bugs and mud, so a better way of spraying washer fluid feels like it’s worth a shot.”
There’s a reason that the Wrangler windshield is the most-replaced piece of automotive glass in America. Stones that would glance off a more-sloped windshield crack directly into it.
So true. On at least the fourth windshield in 80k + of driving. To be fair, one was due to the auto parts store dropping the wiper arm when changing it out. They replaced it at their own cost.
My kids have each replaced the windshields on their JK Wranglers at least 3X.
This is right up there with “Push to Start”, and low-profile rims and tires on Station Wagons.
I sense distaste. Personally my only problem with your examples is that they may not always be optional.
My Peugeot 405 from 1991 had already the same system. ????
My Peugeot 405 from 1991 had already the same system. ????
I’m sure it’s an unpopular opinion, but I preferred when spray and wipe were separate functions.
Want to douse that windshied to loosen things up? Nope, here come the blades immediately.
Didn’t realize the nozzles were iced up? Too bad, there go the blades skittering along, getting wrecked.
1 wipe? 3 wipes? 7 with another bladt in the middle? Knock yourself out.
We could have these halcyon days of total control again!
Nice. I don’t just learn about cars here. I also learn at least one new word a day, be it from the article or the comments.
The Model3 has wiper jets similar to this. Not exactly, but as soon as I cleaned the windshield the first time I thought more cars should have it.
Little bits of tree still get stuck under the wiper blade and leave a perfect line of washer fluid on the windscreen directly in front of your eyes though.
This is the wiper problem that needs fixing.
Cruising along with my arm out the window trying to catch the wiper arm as it comes up so I can flick it up a smidge and free that leaf/ice it keeps dragging across the windshield.
Actually lost a blade in a snowstorm on a highway trying to do exactly that. I timed it poorly (caught it on the down stroke) and it just snapped off. Had to finish the trip home manually wiping with a stolen gas station squeegee.
Can we get a button on the stalk that lifts the wipers off the glass for a second. Or even automatically every tenth stroke or so.
(Don’t worry, I returned the snaffled squeegee the next day)
Whenever this happens it invariably drives me crazy for the entire drive, and then I invariably forget about it the instant I switch off the ignition, thus ensuring that the offending bit of detritus will still be there next time, starting the cycle anew.
This is REAL luxury. Not the size of the tablet you glue to the dash.
Hello, SEMA? Why the flapjacks isn’t this (with heat for goodness sake, we’re not all Baja racing) available for all the cars?
1. Isn’t a bit of soak time good to loosen grime before wiping?
2. How would these nozzles perform if the system was pressurized by the spare tire? (Torch question)
Back in the mid-1970’s it was normal for rally cars to have multiple nozzles on the wiper blade assembly. This just looks a progression from that concept.
I’ve owned cars with single nozzles on the wipers that would easily freeze in Canadian cold if they were not used frequently.
I await reports on the new mousetrap out in the frozen field.
My box truck has this. It doesn’t come out in as many places, but there are tubes up to the wipers and the fluid comes out right there as you wipe. It’s…OK, I guess? It’s fine, not particularly better or worse than the usual arrangement, as far as I’ve seen.
What I will say though is that the design of the nozzles on a traditional setup matters a lot. A perfect example is the NA Miata, which from the factory comes with nozzles that each spray two pathetic pinpoints of fluid onto the windshield in tiny little narrow streams. As you might imagine, they suck. A common modification, which I’ve done, is to replace them with nozzles from a Mazda Tribute, which just pop right in like they were always made to go there. These spray a glorious, even fan of fluid at the windshield, perfectly coating the swept area in a consistent, substantial layer that makes sure every bit gets enough fluid, but nothing gets too much.
What I’m saying is, automakers could get a lot of mileage out of just bothering to design nozzles that are more than just a check-the-box afterthought, without having to completely reinvent the wheel. It’s not about the basic design, it’s about the implementation.
” A perfect example is the NA Miata, which from the factory comes with nozzles that each spray two pathetic pinpoints of fluid onto the windshield in tiny little narrow streams.”
Wow. You must have a concours-level Miata. Mine refuses to dump fluid anywhere other than a) right into the cowl 6″ away, or b) over the windshield and straight into my eyes.
Get yourself some nozzles for a Tribute. They’ll sort you out. Although it sounds like you could get some benefit from just sticking a pin down your existing nozzles to clear out whatever crud is blocking them up.
NB was one or two streams each nozzle and equally challenged. 1977 F-100 has metal tube sprayers mounted below the cowl grille. Pisses out a weak stream onto the glass.
The 2nd generation GM U-body minivans had something similar. The nozzles were mounted in the middle of the blade. It worked well above freezing. I recall a winter trip to Massachusetts where we stopped at every single service plaza to squeegee the salt spray off the enormous windshield. GM obviously didn’t put in a heater.
“A better way to wipe”
Here we go again Autopian.
Oh it’s about windshield wipers.
And.. there’s poop in the article, and bukkake… lovely.
The article didn’t make the cut for the Morning Dump.
50% less fluid? I don’t buy it. Sounds like the Big Blue Washer Fluid consortium is trying to get you hooked on cleaning your windows more often. Then they jack up the prices – Nice try!
Might be worth it depending on at what boost level you have your water/methanol injection set at: 50% more fun!
Never thought of it this way…
“nozzles absolutely bukkake your windshield with cleaning fluid”
Me neither. And I wish it had stayed that way….
Yes indeed. This was the mental image I did not need while eating breakfast. Thankfully it was a protein bar and not something like, say, Cream of Wheat.
I am currently halfway through a bowl of cream of wheat, and I’m on the fence about finishing it after reading that.
Yes. That is… upsetting imagery. Now I’m going to be thinking about windshield wipers every time… I’ve said too much…
Speaking of wiper performance, has anyone else noticed that the highest speed on most wiper motors is at most, barely adequate for major downpours? Why does almost every car feel like it needs maybe one more setting?
IDK, I find the top speed on most cars to be overkill. Anything above non-intermittent slow seems excessive to me. At speed I usually just leave them off unless the precip is in the form of a fine mist. I treat my glass though.
I’m with photonics on this one. The only times I ever find the slow speed inadequate are in situations where it wouldn’t matter if the blades were going infinitely fast or not at all because the only things you are going to be able see are the hood and sheets of rain.
Yeah. In my experience, if I need the highest wiper speed, the movement of the wipers themselves is going to be nearly as distracting as the actual rain. There’s little overall gain in visibility as compared to the slower continuous speed. If I need high speed wiping it may actually be time to consider pulling over and waiting for the downpour to pass, or at least slowing right down and putting on my hazards, assuming I don’t think that will cause me to get rear-ended.
If visibility is that bad, I flick on my (rear) fog light. They’re their for all bad visibility, not just fog.
I too am with you, I honestly find that even the slowest intermittent setting is often overkill and end up just doing manual actuation when I need it. Heck in a good number of rains I can leave the wiper off and let the flow of air clear it right up as i cruise along.
Rain-X is a thing. It even works as advertised. Buy their washer fluid and it lasts a loooooong time.
+1. I’ve used Rain-X windshield washer fluid for years…and there are times where the wipers aren’t even required. Water just beads away…
If you are in places prone to ice rain, Rain-X with deicer is great, I keep a spray bottle of it, not in my car, just handy, for melting ice around the car doors so I can get in after an ice storm. It’s also great for clearing side windows and such without having to idle (ie 0MPG waste gas) for a long period or scratch stuff up scraping. And if you forgot to lift your wipers, it can free them before you tear them by turning the car on (damn rain sensing crap).
I once used like half a bottle trying to unfreeze my doors, only to eventually discover that they weren’t frozen, just locked.
The one time (albeit 25 years ago) that I had Rain-X applied to my windshield by a detail shop, I greatly regretted it because it seemed to make dead bugs especially difficult to get off the windshield after an evening drive in the summer. I remember having to scrub and scrub with the windshield washer thing at the gas station to get the damn bug guts off. After the Rain-X was gone things seemed to go back to normal.
What I want is an intermittent speed that’s slower than the slowest speed available. I hate when it’s barely sprinkling and I have to manually twiddle the stalk every time I need a wipe, like some kind of caveman.
Oh, you have a stalk to twiddle? Luxury! My 1970 Cougar has a twisty knob and 2-speed wipers (no intermittent at all!) and that knob’s way down low on the dash, so you gotta reach down and twist it on and off–“click-click”–every time you want intermittent-like performance for drizzly or misty days. What I wouldn’t give for a column-mounted stalk!
(Now someone without a wiper-park circuit’s gonna out-Yorkshireman me!)
JC Whitney used to sell a little box you installed under the dash to add variable speeds: you could live like a king then!
That’s one of the many things I love about my shitbox DD. It has a “ring” about 3/4 up the stalk that you can twist to adjust intermittent speed. Only time I can’t get it slow enough is when I’m stopped at a light.
VW’s have a little extra switch on top of the wiper stalk which you can use to adjust the sped of the intermittent setting.
Sounds great right? The problem is, if you’re as nerdy as me about setting the speed *just right* (and from your post, I guess you might be), you spend all your time fiddling with the switch, instead of concentrating on where you’re supposed to be going.
Loved this on my passat
Good auto sensing wipers do this. On my old Audi, you just left the wiper stalk on intermittent all the time and it handled random sprays etc.
I hate the inability to control the number of wipe passes. On a hot windshield, if I give it a squirt, I don’t necessarily want the blade to keep going once the glass is dry and just streak some more. Give me one squirt, one wipe. If I need more I’ll take another pass.
Personally I really like that feature, saves me from having to manually clean up the drips that the first pass didn’t get.
Cars should come with a power user configuration menu where nerds like us can change these kinds of settings. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be anywhere that a driver would stumble into unexpectedly, because being confronted with a billion settings for everything from number of wiper passes after spraying to cruise control speed variation tolerance would be super annoying unless you really wanted to Go There with your car. It should be an option, though. It’s all just software now, so let the owner adjust things to their little OCD heart’s content, if they’re so inclined.
My biggest, most important user setting preference is turning off the horn beep that comes with locking the doors. It makes sneaking home late at night a challenge. We really have become snowflakes, haven’t we. 😉
I’m gonna add automatic headlights you can’t turn off to that list. Do I back in to a parking space at an apartment complex and fill the ground floor dwellers living room with exhaust fumes or do I go head in and fill it with light?
On many Ford products there are a lot of things that can be customized via the steering wheel buttons. Things like turning on the courtesy wipe that waits a bit and does another wipe to catch the stuff running down from the top.
However there are lots of other things that can be turned on or off in code, with the proper scan tool. For example I though the heated steering wheel temp used on my 2015 MKZ isn’t hot enough at 68 degrees. For what ever reason that an the 2014 had the lowest temp of any of the various vehicles that use that heated steering wheel control module. It is literally t digits of hex that is the temp in good old Fahrenheit. ForScan which is the Russian Hacker’s version of the factory software allows you to rewrite the selected bits. It even calculates the check digits before rewriting the relevant bits. There are literally dozens of things that you can change across many modules.
I used on my F-250 when I changed to a different tire size, in that case you have the option from picking from all of the possible factory sizes or you can do your own calcs for non stock sizes. On my CAFE busting E-150 I rarely use its full 3000 lb capacity so I reset the tire pressures in the TMPS module to suit the proper pressures for the loads I carry most of the time. I also went to 4 blinks instead of 3 on the turn signal tap on my MKZ because that is what seems right to me.
One reason they don’t want you to have total access is that sometimes that includes extra cost features. They charge fleets $40 to enable DRLs or to remove the user selectable DRLs.
Bimmer Code allows you to adjust things in your BMW and VAG-COM for VW-Audi
The settings are fine in my opinion. If your wipers can’t keep up with the downpour that’s old Mother Nature telling you to slow down till that’s not a problem.
I disagree a little bit, some british cars have that sorted out, you know maybe because in uk rains quite a lot, but yes the average car, would not have that super fast wiper setting 🙂