Do you know what this control on your wiper stalk does?

It’s a handy feature
by Leandre Grecia | Jul 1, 2019
PHOTO: Jason Tulio

Driving is an intuitive process, and you don’t really learn it by the book. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be changing gears and flipping switches without having to look at the controls.

That being said, many drivers learn the functions of the various switchgear without paying much attention to the corresponding icons. Herein lies the problem with that: When new controls are added, how will you differentiate the old features from the new without testing them out?

Let’s try this one in particular: the intermittent speed controls on your wiper stalk. Alright, it’s not that new, but it’s a feature you can’t find on all modern vehicles, let alone on older ones. If you have no idea what this is, don’t worry—you’re not alone.

Every driver knows—or at least they should—how windshield wipers work. You know how to turn them on, select speeds, and turn then off. Back then, you basically switch among three speed controls: intermittent, low, and high. Now, newer cars let you specify the intervals at which your wipers move when you select the intermittent setting.

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If you recently bought a new car that had this feature, but you’re not familiar with your icons, chances are you wouldn’t have even noticed the added function. If you did, then it’s either you fully read the manual or you just flipped the switch by accident.

It’s actually a handy feature because it addresses the ‘too slow’ or ‘too fast’ issue that most drivers have with their wipers. We’re just at the beginning of the rainy season, so now is a good time for you to try it out.

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When Top Gear PH assistant managing editor Jason Tulio asked about this, it hit me hard: I know cars have this wiper control feature, but I didn’t know what to call it or what its icon even looked like. I only knew about the actual knob, where it was, and how it worked.

That’s another problem in its own: I never would have been able to specify a control such as this one without showing a photo of it. Imagine if something minor broke down in the middle of a drive, but your mechanic (or car-addict friend) couldn’t help you out because you couldn’t tell him what was wrong? Well, it just goes to show that a bit more knowledge on the little things can go a long way.

Guilty? You might want to start reviewing that car manual of yours. We’ve already given you the head start.

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PHOTO: Jason Tulio
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