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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess this is common knowledge among some VW owners but the RainX washer fluid creates problems with VW's and Audi's. I found that out the hard way. After buying Rain X 2 in 1 fluid and filling our Tiguan's reservoir up for a trip my wife took, she came back with the warning light on to refill the :banghead:washer tank. It wasn't empty but I topped it up and the light would still not go out. Asked my VW dealer to look at it today when they changed my tires. They informed me there was a problem with the RainX formula and it has a high salt content that clogs the sensors and can ruin them. Bottom line, it's an hour of labor for them to drain the tank, clean the sensor, and refill with proper fluid. I'm going to contact RainX to see if they will cover any of this cost but it's an expensive lesson.
 

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Thanks for the tip. I didn't know about the fluid, but the manual does say to not use rain-x on the windshield or it will cause problems with wiper functions. I tested it anyway, and found that it causes the wiper blade to skip, I guess due to the lack of friction between the glass and blade.
 

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So weird. I have been using Rain-X for years. In my 07 Rabbit, the warning only complained in extreme cold (-30C) for the first few years, and now works fine. In my Tiguan, I have never had an issue.
 

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I used rainX on my windows all the time.. Every time I wash our cars.. I also use the RainX additive on every fill up of the washer fluid and I have never had an issue like the one you're describing. Weird.
 

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So weird. I have been using Rain-X for years. In my 07 Rabbit, the warning only complained in extreme cold (-30C) for the first few years, and now works fine. In my Tiguan, I have never had an issue.
As have I.

I did some reading online based on this thread and found a bunch of others- apparently Rain-X was reformulated last year and the new, darker orange batch is what has been causing most of the problems with washer fluid level sensors on VW and other brands.

http://www.girardgibbs.com/rain-x-sensor-lights-investigation/
 

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From what I was told, Rain-X puts a coating on the sensors. I never used anything but OEM washer fluid.
 

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Have used Rain-X exclusively for 5 years on two VW's and longer on other vehicles without any of the issues described and what is "OEM" washer fluid?
The stuff they sell at the dealer.
 

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As have I.

I did some reading online based on this thread and found a bunch of others- apparently Rain-X was reformulated last year and the new, darker orange batch is what has been causing most of the problems with washer fluid level sensors on VW and other brands.

http://www.girardgibbs.com/rain-x-sensor-lights-investigation/


Well that explains it. I use the yellow in the winter and pink in the summer. I have never used the orange.
 

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Well that explains it. I use the yellow in the winter and pink in the summer. I have never used the orange.
I was getting the Canadian Rain-X in yellow but started picking up gallon jugs of the orange Rain-X south of the border for years (no issues + big discount) and noticed the last one I bought but haven't used yet was darker...I won't use that one as it sounds like it is the new, problematic formula.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As have I.

I did some reading online based on this thread and found a bunch of others- apparently Rain-X was reformulated last year and the new, darker orange batch is what has been causing most of the problems with washer fluid level sensors on VW and other brands.

http://www.girardgibbs.com/rain-x-sensor-lights-investigation/
Yeah, this is exactly what my service advisor told me. The stuff I put in was definitely a dark orange color.
 

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Asked my VW dealer to look at it today when they changed my tires. They informed me there was a problem with the RainX formula and it has a high salt content that clogs the sensors and can ruin them.
This is incorrect - the sensors aren't ruined - and the problem is not due to high salt content. All you need to do is wipe the orange coating off the sensors. It has nothing to do with salinity, just that the stuff that makes RainX work will accumulate on the sensors due to the charge on them. This creates an insulation that tricks the sensors into thinking that there's no fluid in the bottle because the circuit can't be completed.

I first saw this in my B5 Passat, and later in an S5. Filled it up and the light would not go off. So when the reservoir ran out, I poured water with a dilute cleaner (I think I used Simple Green) into the reservoir. Over the next couple of days I ran the reservoir dry while driving - and nothing changed. So I disconnected the wires from the sensor, and pulled the sensor out of the bottom of the reservoir. The probes were coated with a thick orange film. It wiped right off. Plugged everything back together, and the light was off. When it happened to the S5, I just pulled the sensor and cleaned it, letting the fluid in the reservoir dribble out while I cleaned the sensors. Done.

The hardest thing about it is that each car is different in how to access the sensors, and Bentley stopped making manuals for the newer cars. But they're all the same. You may have to get under the car or pull a wheel and the plastic liner, but unless you have no mechanical aptitude at all, don't pay a dealer for an hour's labor, let alone for parts that just need a simple cleaning.

:beer:
 

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This is incorrect - the sensors aren't ruined - and the problem is not due to high salt content. All you need to do is wipe the orange coating off the sensors. It has nothing to do with salinity, just that the stuff that makes RainX work will accumulate on the sensors due to the charge on them. This creates an insulation that tricks the sensors into thinking that there's no fluid in the bottle because the circuit can't be completed.

I first saw this in my B5 Passat, and later in an S5. Filled it up and the light would not go off. So when the reservoir ran out, I poured water with a dilute cleaner (I think I used Simple Green) into the reservoir. Over the next couple of days I ran the reservoir dry while driving - and nothing changed. So I disconnected the wires from the sensor, and pulled the sensor out of the bottom of the reservoir. The probes were coated with a thick orange film. It wiped right off. Plugged everything back together, and the light was off. When it happened to the S5, I just pulled the sensor and cleaned it, letting the fluid in the reservoir dribble out while I cleaned the sensors. Done.

The hardest thing about it is that each car is different in how to access the sensors, and Bentley stopped making manuals for the newer cars. But they're all the same. You may have to get under the car or pull a wheel and the plastic liner, but unless you have no mechanical aptitude at all, don't pay a dealer for an hour's labor, let alone for parts that just need a simple cleaning.

:beer:
Thanks.
 
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