Someone explain to me the headlight washers? - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

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#1 Old 05-19-2012
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Someone explain to me the headlight washers?

Headlight washers, for my entire life, have been the laughing stock of people so rich they can't find something better to do but have headlight washers on their car... In fact, the negative connotation of someone having headlight washers was so bad, I turned down a 320 Sport in great shape with warranty and 70k miles because it had headlight washers and I couldnt let myself be "one of them".

I've met tons of people who laugh about them and look at it as useless excess, but then today I actually learned that some other countries have them mandatory.

I can't help but wonder what the heck they actually do... I mean, do they do anything? I've driven probably over 500,000 miles in my life, and I've never once thought "wow I wish I could wash my headlights right now". even driving down dirt roads and the such. When I test drove the Sport, I even tried them out and didn't notice them cleaning anything off of the headlights... and way back when I was in school I remember everyone making fun of a kid with a volvo because he actually had wipers on his headlights.

So educate me on these things and someone report to me if they actually have some value, and maybe I'll stop looking at them as an over-the-top flash of wealth for people so rich they can afford useless crap!
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#2 Old 05-19-2012
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they shoot fluid on your hood when they overshoot your headlights so you get water spots. a very desirable feature.


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#3 Old 05-19-2012
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I"m with Jeff on this one, but you are correct - some EU regulations require both self leveling and washing systems with Xenon, in theory to better manage the "dazzling" effect.

Heck, I still remember when all US cars were mandated to have DOT approved round headlights, and the "huge" evolution in '75 when you could all of a sudden have square bulbs.



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#4 Old 05-19-2012
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The headlight washers are meant to be used in cold weather & are heated to help remove slush/ice.
you can always add a right angle attachment to them & spray annoying drivers on either side of you

BTW
I'm sure the majority of people have no idea what those small squares on the front bumper are anyway.
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#5 Old 05-19-2012
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Driving in the winter where they use a combination of salt and brine on the roads when it gets cold, those nifty washers clear all the caked on road spray from the headlight lenses... and you can see a difference.
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#6 Old 05-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leapyfish View Post
The headlight washers are meant to be used in cold weather & are heated to help remove slush/ice.
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Originally Posted by rjb190e View Post
Driving in the winter where they use a combination of salt and brine on the roads when it gets cold, those nifty washers clear all the caked on road spray from the headlight lenses... and you can see a difference.
Correct me if I wrong. My understanding is that xenon bulbs produce less heat than halogens. The washers are in fact used more to remove slush & ice and not as much actual dirt as in washing. Most factory xenons include the washers. On my 2011 Lexus IS, the headlight washers are a option themselves in addition to the xenon lights. I agree with JB, they're wasted.
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#7 Old 05-19-2012
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Next time my lights are dirty from winter road grime, I'll shoot a video.
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#8 Old 05-20-2012
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Interesting. So they are legislated, but have limited benefit- maybe some in cold/wintery weather when no one should be driving an SLK anyway haha...

I guess I won't be so brash about them, but they still seem to have very limited benefit!

Thanks for the insight!
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#9 Old 05-21-2012
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Those washers have the bad habit to break easily but are extremely difficult to repair or adjust.

I also heard that in some countries it is mandatory for the cars with xenon lights to have such washers. Probably, because the radiated light from the xenon is more sensitive to dirt, I don't know. In my opinion, it is ridiculous to oblige someone to put these useless things on his car. Last winter, I had tried using them numerous times in sub zero temperature. I have to say that these weird things do not have a single chance against frozen headlights.
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#10 Old 05-21-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuraiSpirit View Post
Those washers have the bad habit to break easily but are extremely difficult to repair or adjust.

I also heard that in some countries it is mandatory for the cars with xenon lights to have such washers. Probably, because the radiated light from the xenon is more sensitive to dirt, I don't know. In my opinion, it is ridiculous to oblige someone to put these useless things on his car. Last winter, I had tried using them numerous times in sub zero temperature. I have to say that these weird things do not have a single chance against frozen headlights.
I used to be under the impression that the US had some of the toughest safety standards for vehicles, but it seems like the EU has substantial requirements for safety equipment (I was just reading an article the other day about the pedestrial safety requirements the EU is passing for new vehicles, and I was wondering what impact that was going to have on the new corvette since the goal of the new Corvette is to be designed for international sales)Certainly interesting to say the least!
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#11 Old 05-21-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arachnyd View Post
I used to be under the impression that the US had some of the toughest safety standards for vehicles, but it seems like the EU has substantial requirements for safety equipment (I was just reading an article the other day about the pedestrial safety requirements the EU is passing for new vehicles, and I was wondering what impact that was going to have on the new corvette since the goal of the new Corvette is to be designed for international sales)Certainly interesting to say the least!
It means that all cars' fronts will be flat and cut like walls. Open a car magazine or a website where different models are compared and suddenly, you will realize that all new cars look the same, just the emblem differs. It's pure communism, all must be the same...
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#12 Old 05-21-2012
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Although I've only been driving for 40 years in rural midwest winters, there has not been a single instance where my headlights were obscurred by mud/snow/assorted flying objects. To me the money spent on headlight washers could be better spent on other safety enhancements.

No doubt that the headlight washer equipment lobbyists are taking the DOT regulators on free trips Vegas.
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#13 Old 05-21-2012
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The washers are there to benefit oncoming drivers, not you. They reduce the dazzle that is created by dirt.

I do notice the difference on a slushy winters day when road spray has caked the xenon's.
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