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Giving Model 3 the “All Clear” for Silicone Wiper Blades

June 08, 2020 11:45 AM | Stephen Pallotta (Administrator)

During the Finger Lakes Region group drive last month, TOCNYS President Patrick Ho took note of my car’s newly installed wiper blades and asked if I would write a blog entry on them. (There was no back and forth; he didn’t have to twist my arm, either.)

Why do you suppose he asked? Ahhh, because windshield wipers were invented in my home town of Buffalo?

No, though that would have been an epic comeback had the muse struck!

It’s because the ones I installed were just that snazzy.

Let’s dig into this.

The stock Model 3 wiper blades, at least from my early 2018 VIN, appear to be Bosch OEM ‘frameless’ a/k/a ‘beam’ blades. To the best of my knowledge, they are a traditional rubber composition, probably with a graphite coating.

Mine worked like a champ for a little over a year. Then they started streaking modestly (which should be an oxymoron!). I did clean them and applied Gummi Pflege a few times but soon enough went the lazy route and chose a cheapie Amazon blade set for a replacement.

The brand was XTechnor, and even with glowing reviews, those “OEM” blades were a letdown more or less from the start. Performance was so-so and they were noisier than the OEMs. I decided to ask for a refund, expecting nothing, yet their overseas customer service rep “Christina” complied and refunded my credit card without fuss (Tesla shock and awe at work? Who knows!). Anyway, the price was in the neighborhood of $29 for the pair, at the time, but has since dropped an entire buck.

Fast forward a few more months and I’m a rainy season away from two years of ownership. Now what?!

The replacement blades, also rubber, inspired me to buckle down and do some heavy-duty wiper blade research. Would I end up a.) coughing up for a pair from Tesla proper, b.) ordering a set from RockAuto this time (they did have very inexpensive name-brand variants that a fellow TOCNYS member assured me were the way to roll: cheap but often), or c.) going over all the options for a certain variety implanted in my head: silicone.

Yes indeed, not long ago, silicone blades supposedly went from esoteric and sky-high expensive down to commodity items at your local Wal-Mart (I’m joking . . . or maybe not!). The main plus of this toney formulation is longer life, they say, thanks to the wide thermal range and environmental abuse that silicone can hack. Come on, I use it in my own kitchen for an oven/freezer mitt, and it hasn’t let me down, yet. Right?

Imagine my surprise, then, after checking every Tesla forum under the sun, when the leading Model 3-compatible silicone blade turned out to be for sale only at—drum roll, please—Wal-Mart.

I bypassed Bosch (tough to find in silicone), passed by PIAA (tough to order) and ran away from Rain-X (tough to shell out a premium for), ending up with the same brand as my OEM tires: Michelin.



Note that for the driver’s side it’s the “Michelin Endurance XT Advanced Silicone Wiper Blade 26",Last 2X Longer,” and for the passenger‘s, “Michelin Endurance XT Advanced Silicone Wiper Blade 19",Last 2X Longer” (2X sounds good to me!). You are looking at $18.42 and $17.47, respectively, down from the $20.47 and $19.47 I paid in March. Not bad for a compatible set of silicone blades.

Wait, not so fast.

Compatibility may be promised, but, IRL (as all the kids like to say), expect frustration during the install.

First, the attached “EZ-LOK” mounting adapter that you’ll need to replace with one of the enclosed parts is a heinous beast to remove. You would guess you’re prying apart a disgruntled Tesla owner from their new E-tron (oh no he didn’t just say that!), or maybe worse. With persistence, though, you’ll fling that bad boy off the beam soon enough and lose it forever in the tundra of your garage.

Second, the so-called “Narrow PTB” connector that you need to install (which stands for “Push Tab Button” but might as well be “Pretty Tough B****” since it’s not much better than the first part) calls for a quick modification. Simply twist off and chuck the two plastic tabs that make the part a Regular PTB adapter. But it never ends that easily. Next is the apex test of your patience: even the Narrow PTB, once introduced to the beam, will not play nicely with Tesla wiper arm washer nozzle cowls. No matter where you position the wipers in service mode, you will have to assume the strangest postures to flex each nozzle cover just far enough toward the windshield until you finally slide up the Narrow PTB adapter to the limit on each arm.

Who knows; maybe it will be easier for you. Either way, your reward is a wide, smooth wiper pattern, near silence, and that snazzy appearance to last a while.

The best news of all: a YouTuber by the name of Because Tesla posted a video in November, 2019, that covers almost every one of these nuances. Watch it.

BONUS: You will never not think of that video, every time you use the washer fluid. . . .

One last thing you should know is that these Wal-Mart blades carry a one-year warranty and you can request a replacement pair by the end of that coverage. Not too shabby!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Weiksnar went from wishy-washy to washer/wiper wisdom.

Comments

  • June 08, 2020 4:55 PM | Eric Milligan
    I'll have to look into those for my next replacement. I went the PIAA route last September and, aside from the price I paid ($60 for the pair), they've been stellar.

    Driver: P/N 97065A
    Pass: P/N 97048A

    Shortarm adapter B
    Wiper adapter M
    Link  •  Reply
    • June 08, 2020 7:54 PM | John P. Weiksnar (Administrator)
      Cool, thanks for the helpful info, Eric. I would have gone with those had the Michelins been out of stock.
      Link  •  Reply
  • June 09, 2020 7:53 PM | Rick Cognata (Administrator)
    Still going strong with my original ones, but at least I know where I’m going next!
    Link  •  Reply
  • September 12, 2021 7:03 PM | Richard Settembre
    After 2yrs and 9 months, and not really needing to, I did a preventative maintenance (PM) replacement of wiper blades for my Dec 2018 Model 3.
    Originals are fine but PM fairy said to replace them before inclement Fall weather and cold, finger biting temperatures.
    Ordered on Amazon:
    Bosch AeroTwin pn: BSH 3397014116 Wiper blades set A 102S
    Total $42.50 free shipping no tax.
    Bosch Wiper Blade Aerotwin A102S, Length: 650mm/475mm – set of front wiper blades
    BOSCH Store
    4.8 out of 5 stars
    Price: $42.00


    Link: https://www.amazon.com/BOSCH-Aerotwin-Front-Windshield-Wiper/dp/B013VDWXTI
    Link  •  Reply

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