WRX-n-Effect: Heated Windshield Wipers a Great Subaru WRX Feature

Sections: Car Safety, Chassis

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2013 Subaru WRX Special Edition Photo Shoot 011

This kinda cool-looking orangish pin striping at the base of our 2013 Subaru WRX Special Edition test car’s windshield heats the base of the windshield more quickly than standard blown-air defrosting, helping the wipers break free from icy stuff and be more effective at wiping away vision obstruction once they do. (Lyndon Johnson photo)

This feature ought to be standard issue on every car made from here on out: Our Subaru WRX Special Edition tester has heated windshield wipers.

Maybe Subarus’ insistence of including all-wheel drive on pretty much everything they build (save the excellent rear-wheel drive BRZ– the Scionese twin of which we tested just a couple weeks ago) makes them so popular in areas where winters are long and harsh that the automaker decided to include wiper heating on all its cars. I know not the geographical breakdown of Subaru’s sales nor whether heated windshield wipers are a feature one might find on any given Subaru model produced for 2013.

I’ve heard the term “heated windshield wipers” in the past, but never envisioned it like this for some reason. In my mind, I had always pictured wiper arms with heating elements in them or something similarly gee-whizzy, but had never knowingly seen a car with the feature until now. Where our Subaru WRX Special Edition is concerned, the windshield wipers are heated via printed defroster tape, much like the kind you might have noticed on rear windows that have electric defrost. Turn on the defroster, and the orangish-brown striping at the base of the windshield, where the wipers rest is fed with electric current to melt away the stuff that sticks your wipers in place and often makes them ineffective even after they break free.

If I’m honest, my little patch of Tennessee usually has only a handful of days each winter when frost or snow is truly heavy enough to warrant use of such a feature. But therein lies the problem: We’re so unaccustomed to deep cold that it catches us off-guard almost every time. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve known there was ice coming in the overnight hours, but I’ve forgotten to pull my windshield wipers into the “V for Victory” pose before heading in for the night. See, even when I know about the approaching icy stuff, the full weight of the situation fails to descend upon me– until the next morning, that is, when the windshield wipers are stuck in a smooth sheet of frosty ice and I’m 15 minutes late for work.

It’s mornings like those, though few and far between they may be, that I’d be a huge fan of our Subaru WRX Special Edition’s heated wipers.

Disclosure: Subaru provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

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  • Brett Solomon

    Especially if it were a zombie Subie and it started itself to get the cabin warm as well!

  • Doug Foster

    I have those on my 08 outback sport, but they don’t work to well.

    • Lyndon Johnson

      Interesting. I didn’t have occasion to test them out during our week with the WRX. Temperatures were too warm to require defrosting. I noticed the wipers sit below the area of the glass that would otherwise be hit by the defroster vents inside the windshield, so perhaps it was a “have to” kind of thing. Maybe we’ll get another Scoob tester in the winter months so we can put the feature through its paces.