Thursday, January 10, 2008

That's Not Right #7 - Car Defoggers

I was forced to brave the cold a bit early this morning, since the overnight drop in temperature had managed to ice over the windows of my personal transportation. I duly started the vehicle, turned the heater in the defroster mode, and pushed the button for the rear window defroster, knowing that soon my windows would be clear. The rear window defroster, being of the electric variety, had the window clear of ice and fogging within a minute. The front defroster, running off of my car heater, caught up about 5 minutes later. 

My question here is why can't I have the wires in the windshield? At a time in the automotive industry that gives us electrically heated seats, GPS systems, USB ports to plug my I-pod into, and dual DVD players for the back seats of cars, why can't I have a better system to defrost my windshield? Why some high end vehicles already have electrically heated outside mirrors , in addition to the rear window unit, but no on seems to have come to the conclusion of using this proven technology in a windshield. 

I suppose it's possible that there is a safety issue involved here, but if there is one I am unaware of it, and can't imagine what it would be. Call me silly here people, but it strikes me that auto makers place the better system in the rear window to improve visibility than they do in the front, in spite of the fact that one would think that looking out of the front one would seem to be more important.


Hooda Thunkit said...


Funny you should mention this.

Once upon a time, if memory serves me, I saw pictures and read articles in one of the 4 predominant guy magazines of the time (Popular Science, Mechanics Illustrated, Science and Mechanics, or Popular Mechanics) which showed a clever scheme being tested by Ford (Mercury or Lincoln was the more likely) which equipped the high-end car with 2 alternators.

The normal alternator was pretty much what we use today, however the auxiliary alternator's output was un-rectified 3-phase A.C. and was used solely to power the windshields and windows via a metalized film sandwiched between the glass and provided a very minor tint to the glass as a visual clue that this was not your normal glass.

I don't remember when I saw this and I certainly don't remember the costs, but the concept was tried, yet failed to make it to market.

If it were available today, I'm sure that it would be a big hit here up north ;-)

Of course I'd also buy an electronically variable tint option if that were available too...

I know, that isn't saying much, I currently have a car with leather seats and dual "bacon crispers" (butt warmers) ;-)

Damn, my '68 Chrysler 300 didn't even have air conditioning :-(

We've certainly come a long way, haven't we?

Tim Higgins said...


I seem to remember something on this myself, though my memory is normally something that I trust for anything that happened in the last 15 minutes. However, we have a working technology installed currently in our cars, and people who build automobiles seem incapable of moving it from the back window to the front.

Isn't amazing what the automobile manufacturers think is important technology and what isn't?

Chad Quigley said...

Tim...interesting. My guess is for the same reasons we can put a robot on Mars and cannot make a windsheild wiper blade that works.