blog.asurroca.com my personal blog

May 29, 2005

Windshield Washer Nozzles

Filed under: business,humor,thoughts — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 2:30 pm

If you look closely at the hood of almost any car on the road, you will notice two small, black protuberances spaced a few inches away from the windshield.

These are spigots which spray a soapy water mixture to clean the grime off your windshield, and in conjunction with the windshield wipers, ensure maximum visibility during inclement weather, and its apparently an important safety feature which you must properly maintain. This system is also required to continue working after having wiped the equivalent surface area of 200 football fields.

Well, one tends to think about these things during long car trips, and what I noticed while sitting in the passenger seat of my father’s Passat on the back from Orlando was the lack of any black bumps on the hood. I then thought to my own Volkswagen, and realized that it, too, was free from these spigots. All modern VWs have these unsightly spigots hidden neatly away underneath the hood. The same goes for a few Fords and some older vehicles, but, the same can not be said for almost every other car on the road.

Perhaps the peak of existence for these black spigots was during the Fast and the Furious-era street-racing craze, when every ricer stuck LEDs on these bumps, though I can’t see why anyone would want to emphasize these blemishes on an otherwise clean hood. You’d think it’s more of an econobox thing, especially as these nozzles are made of cheap, unpainted plastic befitting of such a car, but you’d be wrong. Take a look at new BMW M3. Two little windshield wiper nozzles. Any Lexus. The same.

In my quest to find why only some car manufacturers employ the aesthetically superior method of hiding these spigots, I found a lot of trivial information about windshield washing systems, but never got a clear answer to my question. I did find out that apparently two people working for General Motors invented and patented this system as we now know it in 1979.

I found that apparently, the wipers in the Nissan Quest minivans suck, and that it took 1.5 years of customers’ bickering for Nissan to fix this problem.

I found that a division of a multi-billion dollar group called the Tata Group, Tata Autocomp Systems, Ltd., makes some kind of dual-pump water atomizing windshield-washer system, but what stood out was the group refers to itself as the TACO group. I’m sure that goes well in conversation:

“Yes, I work for a multi-billion dollar conglomerate which engineers automotive components for some of the largest companies in the world”

“What’s it called?”

{uncomfortable pause}

“TACO.”

“Taco?”

“TACO. It stands for Tata Autocomp Systems Limited.”

“Ta-ta?”

I discovered that the aircooled Beetle had an air compressor-driven windshield washer system which used air from the spare tire in the trunk. Which, according to the site I referenced, is a great idea “until you need the spare on a stormy night when you’ve had to use the windshield washer a lot.”

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