GM crosstown rival Ford Motor Company is considering the launch of a new heated washer fluid tank, per a recent Ford patent filing. The system is intended to help reduce icing on a vehicle windshield and provide better visibility. GM implemented a similar system in the past, resulting in a massive recall.
Per a recent report from our sister publication, Ford Authority, the new Ford patent filing was published on May 2nd, 2023, and is tagged with patent number US 11,639,155 B2 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent was originally filed on August 27th, 2019, and lists several Michigan-based engineers as the inventors, including Stuart C. Salter, Paul Kenneth Dellock, David Brian Glickman, Phillip Marine, and John Budaj.
The Ford patent describes a heated washer fluid tank system that combines a fluid storage container with a thermal interface. The thermal interface transfers energy into the tank via an electrical heating element. The patent states that warmer windshield washer fluid can enhance its efficacy, in particular in colder ambient temperatures where ice may accumulate on the windshield, obstructing the view for the driver.
Although such a system certainly makes sense on paper, its implementation may be somewhat difficult – and potentially even hazardous. As GM Authority covered in the past, General Motors offered a similar system for several different models during the 2009 model year, but the system ended up posing a fire risk, resulting in a massive recall.
The GM heated windshield washer fluid system was offered as optional on Buick, Cadillac, Chevy, GMC, Hummer, and Saturn models. The recall affected some 1.53 million units, most of which were located in the U.S. The recall included disabling the system and a payment of $100 to owners as compensation for the disabled feature. The supplier of the system components, Micro-Heat, went bankrupt.
That all said, the essential idea is still sound – it’s really just a matter of implementation.