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Discussion Starter #1
My neighbor has a 2004 Prius, and her rear window wipers stopped working when she uses the washer. The dealer told her that's the way its supposed to work, but I thought that was bull, so I checked my new 2005 model. Strangely, there are two settings for the rear washer, the top and bottom settings on the knob. Both settings turned on my rear wipers while spraying the water.

So, I then checked my neighbor's car, and the top setting turned on the wipers, but the bottom setting left them off while spraying the water. (Or vice versa, I don't remember which was which, for sure.)

She took it back to the dealer, and they again told her it was working as designed. Here's the official response:

CUSTOMER REPORTS THE REAR WIPER WILL NOT WIPE THE
REAR GLASS WHEN THE WASHER IS TURNED ON. IF ONLY
WETS THE WINDOW. NOT WHEN IT'S TURNED ON
CHECK AND ADVISE
TECH#323 10/27/05 COMPARED THE CUSTOMERS VECHICLE
TO SEVERAL OTHER 2004 PRIUS.ALL OF THE PRIUS REAR
WIPERS FUNCTION THE SAME IN ALL MODES.CALLED TAS FOR
ASSISTANCE.TAS STATED THE FISRT WIPER SPRAYER POSITION
IS CALLED THE SOAK MODE.ONLY THE WIPERS NOZZLES SPRAY
WATER.THE WIPER WILL NOT WIPE IN THIS MODE.THIS IS FOR
COLD CLIMATE USE.THIS FEATURE WAS DESIGNED FOR CANADA
USE.THIS FEATURE WAS CHANGED IN 2005.THE 2005 MODEL
PRIUS HAS THE WIPERS ON WHEN THE SWITCH IS TURNED ON TO THE
SOAK MODE.THE 2005 MODEL WIPER SWITCH IS NOT
INTERCHANGABLE WITH THE 2004 MODEL.THE ELECTRICAL WIRING
IS DIFFERENT BETWEEN THE TWO DIFFERENT YEARS.
THE CUSTOMERS REAR WIPER IS WORKING AS DESIGNED.NO PROBLEM
FOUND AT THIS TIME.

I have two other friends with 2004 models, and they say their cars don't act this way (though I'm not 100% sure they really tested both positions). I haven't been able to find anything else about soak mode. My neighbor is sure the wipers used to come on, then stopped recently, though after talking to the dealer, she wonders if she's going crazy.

Is this a bunch of BS from the dealer, or is this really the way its supposed to work? Thanks.
 

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If I turn the switch all the way one way, all I get is wiper fluid. The other way, it wipes while pumping fluid...
 

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Hey.... never knew. I just thought they had it at both ends so you don't have to turn off the wiper to spray. Mine's a 2005 though so it'll wipe when I spray the fluid (in OFF mode, i.e. the lower one). Didn't know the 04s were different. Doesn't make sense to me. What's the point of a soak mode. Maybe that's why the rear washer is so weak. It sorta floods (not very well might I add) the rear window. It doesn't actually jet it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the response. Another friend of mine also confirmed that's the way it works for her 04. Strange, but at least my neighbor can now know that she IS going crazy. :lol:
 

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I have a August 2004 Prius, and the rear wiper works that way for me too. It always gets me. Of course the bottom one will work as one would expect, the wipers are already moving!
 

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Only reason I can think of for 'soak mode' is when you want to scrape the rear window and would like to get some de-icer on it first. If the blade is stuck in the ice, trying to move it would be bad.

Of course, everyone will remember to turn the control in the proper direction to only soak... :roll:
 

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The rear window attracts a lot of salt spray and road grime in the winter. I have used it in soak mode to wet the window before turning on the wiper. Since I have never had another car with a rear wiper I thought this was normal. It seemed like a well thought out feature to have a soak mode.
 

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The overall shape of the rear window, somewhat oblong, prevents it from having a wiper long enough to clear more than 50 % of the window. As such I do use my wiper, however it opens up a spot of visibility wish is a lot less than ideal in size. The spray nozzle tends to put spray not just where the wiper is, but all over the window, so you are spraying the window and only about 50% of it or less is getting wiped off.

I wouldn't call this the best rear wiper system I have ever seen, but it is workable.

As for the changes in the wiper modes, makes you wonder why changes are made or what prompts engineers to add "undocumented" feature changes.
 
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