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How Rain-sensing Wipers Work on 2020 Toyota RAV4 and How to Get Them

Learn how rain-sensing wipers work on the 2020 RAV4 and similar vehicles and how you can make sure they are on your next purchase.

One of the most practical features you can get on your next vehicle is rain-sensing windshield wipers. They come on automatically when, as you may have guessed, it starts to rain outside. This is not only useful, but also a tremendous safety feature that helps reduce distractions while you drive as well.

Many manufacturers offer this important feature, including Toyota. It is available on many popular models including Sienna, C-HR, Land Cruiser, Prius and the RAV4. They will also be available on the all-new 2020 Highlander.

Since I had a 2020 Toyota RAV4 available to test with, I used this as a demonstration vehicle.

How rain-sensing wipers work on 2020 RAV4

The idea of how rain-sensing windshield wipers work is an easy one. It starts to rain. The vehicle senses this. The wipers wipe. How it works, though, is a little more complex and quite brilliant.

The 2020 RAV4, when equipped with this automatic wiper mechanism, has a circuit board located just inside the windshield. When standing outside at the front of the car, you can spot this equipment by looking at the top of the glass just to the left of the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 camera. It looks like a black rectangle.

2020 Toyota RAV4 rain-sensing wipers circuit board sensor

An infrared light within the circuit board points from inside the 2020 RAV4 outward. On a clear day, this light bounces intact off the windshield and back to a circuit board sensor. No need for rain-sensing wipers in this scenario.

However, when it starts to mist or rain, this infrared light breaks apart and scatters. This triggers the wipers to turn on automatically.

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Your 2020 RAV4 also has wiper de-icer function

People who drive in colder climates will appreciate the windshield wiper de-icer feature that comes as a package deal with rain-sensing wipers on your 2020 RAV4 and other qualifying Toyota vehicles. Wavy heating coils at the bottom of your windshield warm up the area your dormant wipers sit when inactive. This should melt any snow or ice that collects on your wipers so you can use them properly when needed.

2020 Toyota RAV4 windshield wipers de-icer function gridlines heating coils

You will find this button on the left side of your dash just to the right of your steering wheel. The icon is a front windshield picture with a wiper working its magic. Simply push this button and it will light up. The system will immediately begin working.

2020 Toyota RAV4 windshield wipers de-icer buttonHow to use rain-sensing wipers on 2020 RAV4

Rain-sensing wipers are very easy to use. Activate them by moving your windshield wiper stalk to the “auto” position. You can change wiper sensitivity to precipitation by turning the middle dial on the stalk higher or lower.

How to equip 2020 RAV4 with rain-sensing wipers and de-icer

Rain-sensing wipers are not standard equipment on any trim level for the 2020 Toyota RAV4, but it is easy to get them on your next purchase.

An available Weather Package is optional on all 2020 RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 gasoline trim levels, starting with XLE and XLE Hybrid grades. This Weather Package includes at a minimum heated leather-trimmed steering wheel, heated front seats and rain-sensing windshield wipers with de-icer function.

YOU MAY FIND HELPFUL: See how rain-sensing wipers and de-icers work in my video review.

On higher trim levels the Weather Package could include driver memory seats, ventilated/cooled front seats and heated rear seats as well.

Time for your thoughts on 2020 RAV4

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling SUV in America. Do you own a RAV4 and how do you like it so far? How many miles are on it?

Will you be in the market for a new SUV in the near future and what criteria will be most important to you when looking?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story as I detail all trim levels features for the all-new 2020 Highlander Hybrid.

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Chris (not verified)    January 11, 2021 - 4:33AM

I still find it ridiculous that these are just binary sensors. My 15 year old VW has rain sensing wipers that will adjust the intensity of the wiper however I’m still fumbling to find the stalk to adjust the speed on my 2020 RAV4.

Noras (not verified)    April 9, 2021 - 7:15PM

In reply to by Chris (not verified)

R4P problem with sensitivity automatic headlights. When I come to tunnel before they come on is whey too long. I set the sensitivity to high, so that when it detects any low light the headlights would come on. The issue is on dark gloomy days, my headlights won’t go on when they should.

Eugene (not verified)    February 24, 2023 - 5:04PM

The autosensing fails completely in a snow, and there is now way to turn off 'auto' and go back to the old "Int" mode. Rotating the sensitivity wheel does exactly nothing. Have to use the "lo" speed, which is annoying or turn on the wipers manually.

The feature is clearly not ready.