Attorneys filed a class action lawsuit against Rain-X manufacturers in August 2015. The defendants denied any wrongdoing and the suit was eventually dismissed with prejudice in May 2017. The plaintiff behind the case ended up paying $130 to repair his Volkswagen’s sensor.
If you’ve had a problem with this product and are concerned about your rights, we urge you to contact a local attorney, who can inform you on what options you have moving forward. You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to voice your concerns and warn others about the products’ alleged problems.
Check out our list of ongoing lawsuits and investigations, here.
The information below is for reference only, as this investigation is now closed.
At A Glance
This Alert Affects
Anyone who experienced problems with their windshield washer fluid sensors after using a Rain-X product.
What's Going On?
The maker of Rain-X windshield washer fluid was sued after the company allegedly led consumers to believe its products were suitable for use in all vehicles when they weren't.
What Problems Are People Reporting?
Consumers have reported that their washer fluid warning lights wouldn't turn off and that the sensors were damaged and/or corroded.
Type of Lawsuit
The maker of Rain-X has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging it deceived consumers by indicating its windshield washer fluid was suitable for use in all mass-produced vehicles. Consumers have complained that their low-fluid indicator lights wouldn’t shut off after filling their cars with Rain-X – and the lawsuit says this problem stems from the fact that the product isn’t compatible with certain vehicles. According to the suit, Rain-X shouldn’t be used in cars made by:
In some cases, consumers have complained that the Rain-X products actually corroded or otherwise damaged their washer fluid sensors – a problem that cost them hundreds of dollars to fix. Unfortunately, the makers of Rain-X are reportedly refusing to cover these costs.
According to the lawsuit, the manufacturer knew Rain-X could cause sensor problems in some vehicles, but failed to provide warnings on its website and products’ packaging and even hid this information from consumers. The suit claims that damage from the wiper fluid has been so rampant that some car makers have taken it upon themselves to send technical service bulletins to dealerships about the problem.
What’s Causing the Rain-X Washer Fluid Problems?
The lawsuit claims that Rain-X doesn’t work with the type of washer fluid level sensors used in the European- and American-brand models listed above. These sensors detect whether there’s washer fluid in the reservoir by passing an electrical charge between two metal prongs. According to the suit, however, the Rain-X windshield washer fluid inhibits this electrical charge even when the reservoir is full.
As a result, the sensors can’t detect whether there’s liquid in the washer fluid reservoir, the suit claims. This allegedly triggers the washer fluid warning light, which will stay on regardless of whether there’s washer fluid in the vehicle.
Rain-X Problems: Fluid Light Always Stays On, Sensors Get Damaged
The lawsuit claims that consumers have been reporting problems with the Rain-X windshield washer fluids since at least 2009. The following are some of the complaints featured in the lawsuit.
Complaints Sent Directly to the Manufacturer
“I used your windshield washer fluid…and the windshield washer fluid censer [sic] is now showing low fluid all the time even though it is full. I called my Jeep dealer and they said it was because I used your product. They went on to say that your windshield washer fluid damaged the censor [sic].” 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Owner
“After 3 days of using your 2-in-1 orange windshield washer fluid…I now have a ruined washer fluid sensor that has to be replaced… So who should I send the $190.90 repair bill to?” Owner of a 2013 Volkswagen Golf R
Complaints from Online Forums
“It seems ever since I've been using the Rain-X de-icer windshield washer fluid I frequently get a ‘washer fluid low’ warning no matter how much fluid is in the reservoir. Anybody have a similar issue?”Owner of a 2010 Mercedes E550, MBWorld.org
“I decided to use Rain-X (the yellow) stuff. Works fine. Cleans nice. No warnings for a few days. Then one cold morning, the warning light flashes on my dashboard. I checked the container, but there's still a good amount of fluid. There is no possible way that I could use up a tank of fluid in the few days unless I was constantly spraying that stuff.” 2009 Volkswagen GTI owner, GolfMKV.com
What Could Consumers Get from the Rain-X Class Action?
The lawsuit wants the makers of Rain-X, Illinois Tool Works Inc. and South/Win Ltd., to:
Reimburse consumers who already paid to repair or replace their windshield washer fluid sensors
Reimburse consumers for the cost of the Rain-X products they purchased
Repair windshield washer fluid sensors that have already been damaged at no cost
Immediately disclose to all existing and potential customers that Rain-X isn’t suitable for use in certain cars
What Rain-X Products Are Affected by the Lawsuit?
The suit specifically names the following Rain-X products: