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mrentropy's avatar

What are the advantages of having more than one windshield wiper?

Asked by mrentropy (17188points) February 23rd, 2011

I’ve always thought having one windshield wiper would be neat. It would cost less to replace one wiper blade and you wouldn’t get “splash” from another wiper blade. The downside, I think, would be wear and tear on the motor as it moved a huge blade across the entire windshield.

Two wipers are considered the standard, although I like the ones that start in the center and work outwards. Again, less chance of having water splashed onto the drivers side as the second blade finishes its arc.

I was looking at a Toyota FJ and noticed that it has three windshield wipers, set up in the “normal” left-hand drive way. Are there any real advantages to this set up? I suppose it would be less stressful on the motors with the job split three ways instead of two. Is there any other reason to have three?

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4 Answers

Odysseus's avatar

Mono wipers have to move a lot faster and can be distracting. (they actually make me feel seasick)
Mono wipers are also more expensive to manufacture and are less reliable than the two arm ones

thorninmud's avatar

The problem is that most windshields are about twice as wide as they are high. Since the length of the wiper blade is limited by the height of the windshield, that means that there will be large areas to the upper right and left that the wiper can’t clear. I notice that the Toyota FJ has a particularly low and wide windshield, which would explain why it needs 3 shorter blade to cover the area effectively.

Mercedes has come up with a single wiper on some of its models that gets around this problem by elongating the wiper arm as it swings to the sides and shortening it at the middle of the arc (video). So the wiper doesn’t describes a simple arc.

XOIIO's avatar

@thorninmud thos are both really neat!

Seelix's avatar

My dad had a Mercedes a few years back (I don’t remember the model or year, but it wasn’t a Kompressor) with a single wiper. From inside the car it was actually more complex than it seems in the video that @thorninmud posted. It looked as though the hinge part actually dipped down toward the hood as it hit the centre of the windshield… It’s hard to describe, but it was definitely cool!

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