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Why don’t they design wipers to come on with headlights?

Why can’t the wizards at the car plants follow the engineers at Peterbilt and have it so the headlights come on when the wipers are turned on. I drove a truck for 45+ years and I can tell you headlights would make a difference on a rainy day>

Because it is not that hard to turn on headlights at the same time you activate the wipers. That said our 2018 Ford Fiesta does turn on the headlights when the wipers are turned on.

Good idea for future car engineers to provide. Automotive design is still pretty science & engineering intensive & continually improving. Not all the improvements each year are major, many are minor and subtle A friend of mine recently upgraded from a 2004 Corolla to a 2018 Corolla. The subtle improvements I noticed are things like the glove box handle is no longer on-center, and instead biased toward the driver’s side, making it easier for the driver to open the glove box. Another is the car now comes with rubber floor mats included, designed to exactly fit the floor shape. Keeps water from the passenger’s shoes from dampening the carpets, causing mold, or even rusting the metal floors underneath. And b/c the fit is exact, the mats stay put. Neither are a big deal, but still a noticeable improvement .

That feature has been around for at least 15 years but it is not up to the wizards at the plant, they assemble the vehicle.

Your profile shows F150, that truck has had that feature for a while;

"Windshield Wiper Activated Headlamps

When you switch the autolamps on, the headlamps turn on within 10 seconds of switching the wipers on. They turn off approximately 60 seconds after you switch the windshield wipers off.

Well, I might not want or need the headlights on just because the wipers are on. It might be the middle of the day with plenty of light.

Also, 2 of my daily drivers have automatic headlights. If the ambient light conditions warrant headlights, the car turns them on or off for me.

But many late model cars are programmed to turn on headlights when the wipers are active.

Now if they could just figure out how to get the automatic wipers to work properly.

I just leave the headlights on all the time. Don’t need or want automatic lights, don’t need or want daytime running lights.

The headlights turn off when I remove the key.

edit, and don’t need the link with the wipers.

In Virginia its the law, if you are using your wipers the headlights will be on no matter the time of day or ambient light. A law that I have noticed is ignored by many, many people.


The wizards have been alive and well at GM for the last few decades. Most GM cars (I own 4) have had automatic headlights/DRLs for literally… spanning decades now.

Years ago GM petitioned the Federal Government to require these lights on all vehicles sold, but were turned down.

They kept on installing them as standard equipment on most all their vehicles and estimates vary as to how many thousands of lives have been saved with them.

When I need wipers my car already has all lights on without requiring any input.

That feature would annoy me. If I’m just washing my windshield, I don’t want my headlights coming on for 30 seconds and shortening the life of the HID’s.


My GM cars have a “wash feature” that can be used without actually turning on the wipers.

I’m relatively certain cars could be wired to use that feature alone without activating lights, but with automatic headlights… Voila!.. problem solved.

Doesn’t your vehicle automatically illuminate some bright LEDs or something while it’s being driven without running you overly expensive, cost prohibitive HIDs?

In poor lighting conditions, like rain during daylight hours when wipers are needed, lights are helpful to be seen, rather for seeing.

No, it has some low-watt halogen DRLs. Personally, I’m opposed to the entire concept of DRL. All it does is make people think their headlights are on at night because they can dimly see the road in front of them, so they forget to turn them on and then the guy behind them almost plows into them.

Really, my objection to DRLs is that you can’t turn them off without snipping a wire. Until such time as my vehicle drives me around while I read and sip bourbon, I like to be in full control of what it does when.

As for the overly expensive, cost prohibitive, etcetc, yes, they are, and they were also the only headlight available on Acuras in 2007, and their light output is vastly superior to halogen and they last… Well, I’m not sure how much longer they last because at 11 years and 130,000 miles I’m still on the original bulbs, which I’m guessing makes them cheaper than halogen in total cost of ownership. :wink:

Were I buying a new car today, I’d be totally happy with LEDs.

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I find myself wishing the headlights would turn on when the wipers are activated, too. Both our Cobalt and Accord have automatic headlights, but they only turn on if it is dark enough, even when raining. This is really only an issue where state law says the headlights must be on if the wipers are active. If this was the law in all states, I imagine that the wipers would control the headlights.

Because the commercial trucking industry is more standardized and regulated than the car and small truck industry

The reason you need headlights with wipers,is that it makes you more visible, not just for you to see better. And you know how long it takes to get an idea implemented when it is just a good idea not a law.

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just leave your headlights on all the time, simpler and safer.

Lights on with headlights helps with being more visible in precipitation, but does not help with being more visile in low light conditions (dusk ,dawn) or when fog/smog is present, where lights are not needed for driver visibility.

Automatic lights cover all of that AND they are on when wipers are in use, too, a better idea.

I disagree completely. Headlights and taillights (on other cars) improve your ability to see those other cars (headlights for when they are moving towards you, taillights the opposite)


Oops! I totally agree with you, Bill. My keyboard wrote in the wrong word.

I wanted it to write:

It must be the lighting conditions here or brain fog.

CSA , you want to try again ? Having the vehicle lights on ( headlights and tail lights ) in a low light or fog situation does help your chance of avoiding an accident. Many trucking firms require the lights on at all times . Many state require headlight and taillights on 30 minutes before sunset and after sunrise.

Nope. I have automatic lights on our cars. I am an advocate for them. I feel GM has not been given enough credit for being an early leader in this.

I believe they certainly make one’s car more visible in almost any situation, day, night, rain, you name. I pointed out earlier that estimates vary for exactly how many lives have been saved by GM by standardizing them.