Issue: Dec 2002


Bugs and Ice Away



Valeo Opti-Wash system heats wiper fluid for easier windshield cleaning.

by Andrea Wielgat

Valeo has found a relatively easy solution to both the ice and bug problem - heat the windshield wiper fluid.

Valeos Opti-Wash system automatically starts heating the fluid when the driver turns the ignition. Within 60 seconds of ignition the 60mL fluid is heated with 50 amps to 65 degrees Celsius. The driver then has two to three seconds of heated wash time or two to three washes.

It then takes 30 seconds to heat the next 60 mL batch of fluid, which is automatically refilled for the subsequent uses. If the driver does not wait 30 seconds non-heated water will be dispensed.The design of the system is simple with no extra pumps needed, says Eugene Porter, director of advanced development, wipers, for North America.
The only complexity is in the electronics, he says. The system is always operational no matter what weather condition and uses any normal windshield wiper fluid or water. While there is no ice in the summer, Valeo says the heated fluid removes bugs and tar easier then non-heated fluid.

You don't wash your dishes with cold water you wash them with hot water, Porter says. Valeo does not have a contract on the technology but expects that it will be installed on a vehicle in North America in 2005.

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