Rear Defogger - Feature, Pros & Cons, Working Explained

In this Feature Explained article, we take a look at the rear defogger in cars and dive into the pros, cons, cost, and ultimately, help you decide: defogger or no defogger?

Rear Defogger

What Is A Rear Defogger?

A rear defogger is a system that removes fog and melts frost from a car's rear windshield. Invented by Heinz Kunert, a German engineer, the rear defogger has become a fairly common sight among mass market cars since the early 2000s. While this feature was initially limited to premium and high-end cars in India, it eventually found its way down to even budget hatchbacks like the Maruti Suzuki Swift and Hyundai Grand i10 Nios.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Rear Defogger In A Car?

The pros or advantages of a rear dogger are:

  • Crystal Clear View: Say goodbye to foggy mornings and frosty winters! A defogger keeps your rear window clear, ensuring safe driving in any weather.
  • Enhanced Safety: Foggy rearview = blind spot. A defogger eliminates this hazard, boosting safety and confidence on the road.
  • Fuel Efficiency Bonus: In some cars, defrosting uses waste heat from the engine, potentially improving fuel economy.

The shortcomings or cons of having a rear defogger in your car are:

  • Cost Factor: Repairs can be pricey, especially if the rear windshield cracks. Consider insurance or extended warranties for extra peace of mind.
  • Heated Lines, Subtle Haze: For some drivers, the heating elements might create a slight visual haze.
  • DIY Dilemma: Installation and repairs often require professional expertise, adding to the overall cost.

How Does A Rear Defogger Work?

Ever squinted through a foggy rear window? It's like driving blind! Here's the magic behind a rear defogger: think invisible wires on your back window, powered by electricity. These heat up, evaporating moisture like tiny invisible suns, giving you a crystal-clear view, whether winter chills or morning mist try to blur it. It's a simple but clever system that keeps your rearview clear and your driving safe, rain or shine. So next time you hit that defogger button, remember, a tiny electric orchestra is warming up your back window for a clear-view performance!

How To Activate Rear Defogger In My Car?

Here’s how you can activate the rear defogger feature in your car:

  • Find the Button: Look for the wavy lines or rectangle with lines symbol on your dashboard. That's your magic fog-busting switch!
  • Press to Defog: Give it a tap! The electric heat will start melting away the mist like a tiny sun.
  • Choose Your Weapon: If you have separate buttons, opt for the "rear" option – it's specially designed for your rear window.
  • Defog, then Done: Once your rearview is crystal clear, hit that button again to power down and save energy.

These quick tips will have you banishing foggy rear views and driving with confidence in no time! Remember, these apply to most cars, but always check your owner's manual for specific instructions on your model.

How Expensive Is It To Repair Or Replace A Rear Defogger?

Mid and top variants of most mass-market cars sold in India come with a rear defogger. Hence, if the rear defogger stops working, you will have to change the entire rear windshield. Moreover, you’ll also have to replace the entire rear windshield if it cracks or breaks. Fortunately, the cost difference between a rear windshield with the defogger and one without the rear defogger is quite marginal.

Let’s take a look at the cost of a rear windshield for the Maruti Arena WagonR as an example. The rear windshield without the defogger in the WagonR LXi costs Rs. 1,550 while the rear windshield with the rear defogger for the WagonR VXi costs Rs. 1,558. For more expensive mass market cars, it should typically cost around Rs. 3,000. The price difference between a heated and non-heated rear windshield ranges from Rs. 200 to Rs. 500.

Apart from the cost of the rear windshield with rear defogger elements, you will also have to pay labour charges. You may also have to pay for other parts such as wiring and the switch on the centre console if they are faulty.

What Is The Cost Of Aftermarket Rear Defogger?

Currently, there aren’t any aftermarket brands that sell rear defoggers for cars. The only way you can get a rear defogger once you’ve purchased a car is to buy a rear windshield with a defogger from a higher variant and get it fixed from an authorised service centre.

How Easy Or Complex Is It To Install A Rear Defogger?

Repairing or replacing the rear defogger isn’t something most car owners can do by themselves. It’s worth noting that there’s little to no scope for repairing a malfunctioning rear defogger. If the heating element breaks the circuit, then the entire windshield will need a replacement as the fine wires are difficult to put back together. Fixing the rear windshield is a labour-intensive process and best left to professionals. That said, replacing or repairing a rear defogger isn’t a time-consuming affair as it can be done by professionals at the service centre in an hour or two.

What Cars Get A Rear Defogger From The Factory?

Most carmakers offer a rear washer defogger on their hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs. A rear defogger can be found right from affordable cars such as the Maruti Celerio ZXi variant and Maruti WagonR VXi to expensive SUVs such as the Audi Q7 and BMW X7. However, in the mass market segment, you will need to spend a little extra and go for the mid or top variant to get a rear defogger as standard. Carmakers often reserve this feature for the higher variants. Nissan Magnite is one of the rare cars that offers a rear defogger right from the base variant. You can check the Magnite’s variants explained to find out which one you should buy based on your budget:

Nissan Magnite Petrol Variants Explained - Which One To Buy?

Verdict - Should I Get A Rear Wiper Fixed From The Service Centre?

If you are in the market for a budget hatchback and want this feature, then we recommend getting a higher variant with a rear defogger. Here’s why:

  • Skip aftermarket woes: Installing a defogger later is tricky and could potentially devoid your warranty if done by a non-authorised service centre. Also, finding compatible parts locally can be a hassle.
  • Cost-effective repair: Replacing a defogged windshield is surprisingly affordable compared to non-defogged options. Over time, it evens out the initial price difference.
  • Safety & visibility: Especially in areas with heavy rain or chilly winters, a defogger is a game-changer, boosting safety and keeping your journey clear.

Consider skipping rear defogger if:

  • Mild climate: If you rarely encounter fog or cold, the extra cost of a rear windshield with defogger might not be worth it.
  • Budget constraints: Prioritise other essential features if the variant with defogger stretches your budget too thin.

Ultimately, weigh the convenience and safety benefits against your climate and budget. For foggy or chilly regions, a defogged variant offers long-term value and peace of mind, making it a smart upgrade.

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Nikil Jonathan

Nikil's a huge fan of classic cars, especially Italian beauties such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint and the Iso Grifo. His love for cars and bikes originated when he first laid his eyes on a poster of the Ferrari F40 and the MV Agusta F4 when he was just a child. He also loves all things analogue, especially vintage cameras and turntables.


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