Do the automatic intermittent wiper function stink or am I doing something wrong?

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JohnnyCakes

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2023
Messages
21
I appreciate that this is supposed to be high-tech, but I'd take timed intermittent wipers over the automatic wiper any day. Even on FAST, the windshield often gets way too obstructed before the sensor kicks in.

Am I doing something wrong?

Is there a way of making the wipers intermittent on a timed bases, rather than its assessment of when the windshield needs wiping?
 
Is there a way of making the wipers intermittent on a timed bases, rather than its assessment of when the windshield needs wiping?
According to the Owner's Manual for my car, you enable rain sensing by pressing the button on the end of the wiper stalk - a green LED on the stalk illuminates to show rain sensing is operational. To switch off rain sensing, press the button again.

If rain sensing is turned off, the speed of intermittent wipe is controlled by the wheel in the middle of the stalk.
 
If rain sensing is turned off, the speed of intermittent wipe is controlled by the wheel in the middle of the stalk.
That "wheel" on the stalk is used to control the sensitivity of the auto wiper: up to wipe more often (after less drop accumulation), or down to make it chill out.
 
I feel your pain. I have never had a car with rain sensing wipers actually work "correctly". all the cars I had they either wipe to quick or not enough no matter the setting.

@mojo Can we actually turn off the auto and it be intermittent? I need to read my manual.
 
That "wheel" on the stalk is used to control the sensitivity of the auto wiper: up to wipe more often (after less drop accumulation), or down to make it chill out.
Agreed - and according to the manual (well the Driver's Manual app actually), when rain sensing is turned off, the "wheel" controls the frequency of the simple, timed intermittent wipe.
 
Can we actually turn off the auto and it be intermittent? I need to read my manual.
Yes, on my car - but I need to be careful because specs changed over the years (and by country) so what I see may not be what you see! By default, rain sensing is off on my car, but it may be different on other years and locations.
 
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I checked on my iDrive manual, found nothing for intermittent. I will check my hard physical copy of the manual to see if I find anything.

I would check the manual on the app but since the last updated I can't open it it crashes, hopefully the next update it will work.
 
There's no intermittent if the car has auto rain sensing.

I actually don't know if auto sensing was an option or standard. Both of my i3's had/had it.
 
That's strange - perhaps it's a translation problem with the manual.

Here's what my printed manual says:

Setting the interval time or sensitivity of the rain sensor

Turn The knurled wheel.
If the rain sensor is deactivated: set the interval time.
If the rain sensor is activated: set the sensitivity of the rain sensor.

So perhaps they mean "not fitted" instead of "deactivated"?
 
I was out in the car today and meant to test, but forgot, mainly because it's not raining today.

The theory - not yet tested - is that if you press the button on the end of the stalk once, it turns on rain sensing, and if you press it again, the LED on the stalk goes out and it's then intermittent only, not rain-sensing. It sounds possible, but the only way to find out is to actually remember to test it!
 
When I press the stalk button a second time it just deactivates my wipers. I'll try a long press the next time I think about it. Maybe it works like the ACC where a long press deactivates the distance following function.
 
Interesting discussion. I'd love to know it has a usable intermittent mode with the rain sensing.

It won't matter though. Wiper settings never seem to be right in any car for more than a few seconds no matter how they work. :p
 
My best advice for you is go get some Rain X or equivalent. I find that that the rain sensor wipes more than needed with the Rain X. I often turn off the wipers if I am going fast enough for the air to clear the windshield.
 
I tried a few different things while driving in the rain yesterday: deactivating auto, long press, super-long press, slow mode, fast mode, faster than fast mode, and from off. I can't find a hidden fixed intermittent mode other than with the rain sensor activated and doing its thing.
 
Same here - tried everything I could think of - no luck. So it seems to be just odd, slightly nonsensical wording in the Owner's Manual!
 
My best advice for you is go get some Rain X or equivalent.
Helps a lot with this. I just wish the i3 were a little better at actually clearing water aerodynamically. At 55MPH, it's not quite enough. I've had other cars where it was, but I can't imagine a fix for that.
 
Thank you all for testing this. Haven't had rain yet to do it myself. I was so hoping a long press would cancel it.
 
It's shocking to me that a quality manufacturer like BMW would think that the intermittent wiper function was good enough to begin manufacturing.

Yes, it's cool to have a high tech feature, but not if it basically doesn't work properly. I think everyone would rather have "dumb" intermittent wipers that can be counted on to function as designed rather than "smart" wipers that are basically useless..
 
Like I said earlier, I have no complaints – not from my 2021 nor my 2017. Looking for intermittent mode had never crossed my mind until this thread.

I also don't consider rain sensing to be a cool high tech feature any more – this has been standard equipment on my cars for 10+ years

So perhaps not "everyone?"
 
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