Headlight wipers? Why do you have those on your car? Or, did you know you have little wipers on your headlights?
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    1. #1
      Member qwkbrk's Avatar
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      Headlight wipers? Why do you have those on your car? Or, did you know you have little wipers on your headlights?

      Admittedly, I’m sort of rambling here, but those are common questions from friends/family unfamiliar with Volvo and/or European cars. Those questions are usually followed by, “Do they work?” or “Can you really tell the difference?” A friend asked me just yesterday as he was looking at the front end of my car.

      To which I answer yes, they are activated when I squirt the windshield. Sometimes they’ll ask if there are washer nozzles. I tell them I can tell a difference, thought not really when I use them in the fair weather months (spring, summer, and fall), but night driving in the winter when the roads are all salty and nasty.

      I ask them to imagine driving without windshield wipers/washers and how dirty the windshield gets along with the lack of visibility. Then I suggest they think about the light emitted from the headlights, sometimes telling them the dirty headlights act as a diffuser (not good) or like trying to shine a flashlight through waxed paper. I ask them if they ever wash their headlights when they wash their windshield at the gas station. Then they get it. And that is usually followed up with a “that’s cool,” “interesting,” or some other eureka-type expression.

      Depending on how interested they are in the conversation (or if they're still confused), I might follow it up with something like, “it’s a European car thing and that they have some sort of headlight washer, whether they have wipers and/or washers nozzles.
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    3. #2
      Member TheCastro's Avatar
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      Girls like them. They think they're cute.

      'Nuff said.


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    4. #3
      Member Papa_Kirlo's Avatar
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      The difference these little wipers make is amazing.
      Once I had to drive from Boston to Bangor ME for an interview in the middle of Feb. The huge snowstorm arrived just an hour before I have to leave a house around 4 am. Drove 5 hours through this, used 2 jars of windshield washer fluid... Look at the pic below, as we were driving up north the temperature was falling down, whole front of the car was covered by thick ice. Fog lights were totally covered by ice. But headlights remained clear..

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    6. #4
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      It's simple. They're required in Scandinavia.

    7. #5
      Junior Member BadgerR's Avatar
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      I wonder if it's not so much a European thing as it is a SWEDISH thing:

      A good chunk of Sweden is near / in the Arctic Circle - which means that your average Swede spends A LOT of time driving in crappy Winter weather.
      As a result, these kinds of driving conditions are factored into the design of their vehicles (although sometimes toned-down for the same cars sold in other markets.)
      (It comes in handy in Badgerland, because our climate is pretty similar a lot of the time.)

      Plus, it allows us in the U.S. to make the most of our "fake" high-beams, when conditions actually allow us to try to utilize them....
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    8. #6
      Member LOGBOMB's Avatar
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      If you have ever driven thru a snowstorm at night they come in quite handy. I have had the headlights on other vehicles go as dim as candles with all the crap that builds up on them.
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    9. #7
      Member qwkbrk's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by LOGBOMB View Post
      I have had the headlights on other vehicles go as dim as candles with all the crap that builds up on them.
      This will become increasingly prevalent as the HID and LED headlamps become more common and because they do not produce as much heat as Halogen. Halogen headlamps do a decent job of keeping the lens of ice/snow buildup. I've read a few article about traffic signals being blocked by blowing snow and road crews having to use a cherry picker to actually clean the lens of the build up.
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    10. #8
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      It is the last of the breed on the R. Newer Volvos have all gone to high pressure water nozzles, which allows the use of plastic headlight covers, (wipers scratch plastic). This is much cheaper and lighter weight for the manufacturer. Some cars, Mercedes comes to mind, heat the high pressure washer fluid to spray on the headlight covers.

    11. #9
      Member PC Diesel's Avatar
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      I never see my wipers work, but i'm sure they do. Gotta love them!
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    12. #10
      Member qwkbrk's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by rogersampson View Post
      It is the last of the breed on the R. Newer Volvos have all gone to high pressure water nozzles, which allows the use of plastic headlight covers, (wipers scratch plastic). This is much cheaper and lighter weight for the manufacturer. Some cars, Mercedes comes to mind, heat the high pressure washer fluid to spray on the headlight covers.
      I know what you mean. My '94 Civic has glass lenses. Civics changed to plastic in '96 model change. My Passat has plastic lenses.

      Even though they are more expensive to replace, I prefer the glass lens. They seem to stay clearer (not foggy) and less chipped than plastic lenses.



      Quote Originally Posted by PC Diesel View Post
      I never see my wipers work, but i'm sure they do. Gotta love them!
      I haven't seen mine in action per se, but I can see movement of their shadows in the beam pattern on the roadway.
      '06 Long Roof R Magic Blue | Eroticama | 3-Pedal Arrangement | 225k miles | My story: Addicted to a new drug: torque, baby!!!
      '06 S2000 Berlina Black | Black | 27k miles - garage queen | RIP 10/05/17, now a parts car.
      '06 S2000 Berlina Black | Black | 26k miles - garage queen
      '07 Passat 2.0T Wagon | Deep Black | Wifemobile | 163k miles

    13. #11
      Junior Member Fjord's Avatar
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      Headlight washers are required in some EU countries. That's why every BMW/MB/Saab/Volvo/Audi (in some cases VW) have a set of spray nozzles. Since Swedes see the harshest of weather they like the wipers. Papa_kirlo gives a good example above.
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    14. #12
      Junior Member bwill's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by qwkbrk View Post
      Admittedly, I’m sort of rambling here, but those are common questions from friends/family unfamiliar with Volvo and/or European cars. Those questions are usually followed by, “Do they work?” or “Can you really tell the difference?” A friend asked me just yesterday as he was looking at the front end of my car.

      To which I answer yes, they are activated when I squirt the windshield. Sometimes they’ll ask if there are washer nozzles. I tell them I can tell a difference, thought not really when I use them in the fair weather months (spring, summer, and fall), but night driving in the winter when the roads are all salty and nasty.

      I ask them to imagine driving without windshield wipers/washers and how dirty the windshield gets along with the lack of visibility. Then I suggest they think about the light emitted from the headlights, sometimes telling them the dirty headlights act as a diffuser (not good) or like trying to shine a flashlight through waxed paper. I ask them if they ever wash their headlights when they wash their windshield at the gas station. Then they get it. And that is usually followed up with a “that’s cool,” “interesting,” or some other eureka-type expression.

      Depending on how interested they are in the conversation (or if they're still confused), I might follow it up with something like, “it’s a European car thing and that they have some sort of headlight washer, whether they have wipers and/or washers nozzles.
      +1 for the European "sports sedan" explanation!
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    15. #13
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      Mine dont work, the sprayers spray but no movement from the wipers, Im thinking of doing the wiper removal and making where they mount in the bumper flush.

    16. #14
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      People leave me notes on my headlight wipers. It's a headlight wiper thing - others wouldn't understand.


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    17. #15
      Former Advertiser TEPPERS AUTO SALES's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by BadgerR View Post
      I wonder if it's not so much a European thing as it is a SWEDISH thing:
      No it's not, sorry to disappoint you
      Mercedes invented them in 1976 in their 450 SEL 6.9.
      Volvo barely had cars that ran then

    18. #16
      Junior Member blackvolvorules's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by TEPPERS AUTO SALES View Post
      No it's not, sorry to disappoint you
      Mercedes invented them in 1976 in their 450 SEL 6.9.
      Volvo barely had cars that ran then
      http://www.saabhistory.com/2007/04/0...dlight-wipers/
      '05 V70R - Sapphire/Nordkap - manual - 199k miles

    19. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by blackvolvorules View Post
      haha, well played...so saab had them a good 6 years before MB?

    20. #18
      Junior Member blackvolvorules's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by GSWAGON View Post
      haha, well played...so saab had them a good 6 years before MB?
      Yup, and I had the Saab until a couple of years ago...
      '05 V70R - Sapphire/Nordkap - manual - 199k miles

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