Skip to Content

Why Do SUVs Have Rear Wipers When Other Vehicles Don’t?

Why Do SUVs Have Rear Wipers When Other Vehicles Don’t?

Have you ever wondered why SUVs also seem to come with rear wipers, but a lot of other vehicles don’t? This is an odd thing, and most people don’t know the reasoning behind why this is. 

You might be able to think of a few reasons that seem to make sense as to why an SUV would have rear wipers, but what is the real reason? And, why don’t other vehicles have them in the same numbers? So, why do SUVs have rear wipers?

SUVs have rear wipers because their rear windows have a more vertical orientation that allows for dust and debris to accumulate faster. Rear wipers are used to keep the window clear and easy to see through for safety reasons. Sedans and smaller vehicles have a sloped window that prevents this build-up.

So, now that you know the basic reason why this is, let us go into detail about why the position of the window makes such a difference, and why a rear wiper is or isn’t used on another vehicle.

SUVs Upright Windows 

When you are looking at an SUV, you will see that the typical shape of the vehicle often makes the rear look a bit on the boxier side.

This creates more space for storage in the trunk of the car, which is often needed for larger families taking trips. 

If you have a family of seven in one vehicle, then you also need enough room for seven people’s things. If each person has their own bag, this can take up a good amount of space.

You need the rear of the vehicle to come out farther to allow all the bags to fit in the trunk space and typically just past the bottom of the window. 

This cannot be done in a sedan but is not needed because it holds fewer people. This is why the shape of the window is made as it is.

So, why does this upright position require a rear wiper? 

Well, the upright position of the window allows for a high amount of dust and debris to collect on the window. Unlike sedans that have a slope that allows dirt to fly off the window easier, the upright positioning causes the dirt to stay where it is. 

This makes SUVs windows able to get filled with dust and dirt much faster. That is why a rear wiper is needed to clean off the debris that has been collected on a long drive. 

Why Not Change The Position? 

Well, as I just mentioned, the upright window allows for larger trunk space in an SUV.

And, who are the most common types of people to purchase a large SUV?

Parents and families of course!

With multiple family members who need to fit in one vehicle with kids backpacks for school or suitcases and equipment needed for a beach or camping trip, that space is greatly needed. This is not always the case with owners of smaller sedans.

Therefore, the need for an upright window on a sedan is unnecessary. Also, this would change the entire shape of the vehicle’s rear, which many people might not like.  


Not an SUV, but it is aerodynamic!

It is a common piece of information that SUVs do not get the same gas mileage as a sedan does. This is partly due to the difference in weight of the vehicles since an SUV is often much larger so that it can accommodate more passengers. 

However, this is not the only reason that the shape of the sedan does not allow for an upright window. This is also due to the aerodynamics of the shape. 

A sedan and other small vehicles are made to get good gas mileage and having an aerodynamic shape that allows you to move with little wind resistance provides that. With SUVs, you don’t have the room to spare space like with a sedan, so you lose much of the aerodynamics with the boxy shape. 

However, this is necessary for a large vehicle that needs to hold more people and have a larger storage area. So, this trade-off is done to be able to have more space, and the owner knows that this type of vehicle will have less efficient gas mileage when they purchase it.

If you were to look at a sedan that had the same mile per hour gas usage as an SUV, you wouldn’t want to purchase it because you would be spending more money just to lose space for storage.

This is also why sports cars that are extremely aerodynamic have very little space in the trunk and often come without a backseat. 

The windows on these smaller cars are usually sloped as much as possible to allow for better aerodynamics that gives the car better gas mileage. This is also why a rear wiper is not needed since the sloped window doesn’t collect dirt as easily.

Also, adding a rear wiper would give you more drag against the wind, which would give you slightly less gas efficiency. 

The Confusing Part!

Although there is a particular reason for SUVs to have a rear wiper while other cars don’t, this can be quite confusing to hear considering that there are some cars that are smaller but do come with a rear wiper. 

Some smaller vehicles will actually come with a rear wiper blade even though the shape of the window is sloped. This can make it seem like there is no reason for not having them and that all cars should come with them. 

Well, that is understandable, but this is really up to the manufacturer. If a manufacturer chooses to add a rear wiper, they can do so for whatever reason. 

This can be done because a vehicle is a luxury option and the manufacturer want their customers to be able to clean every part of the car easier for the sleekest finish. Also, they know that their customers want to keep their cars clean at all times.  

Rear wipers do affect the gas mileage that the car gets because it affects the aerodynamics of the vehicle. This can be why mostly sportier cars with high gas usage due to the V8 engine and high horsepower get these rear wipers. 

Sports cars that are expensive and use more gas come with such high power and low gas mileage that adding a rear wiper would not make much difference to someone who can afford that type of car. 

However, this type of gas mileage loss in a regular sedan would likely make a difference to someone who is looking for a vehicle that is more efficient.

So, this can be one main reason why rear wipers make a bigger difference on some cars and why manufacturers would choose to add them to some vehicles and not others. 

More Reasons to Consider

Though we have covered a number of reasons so far, there is one more that hints as to why some cars do have rear wipers while others don’t. This one focuses on the space for the mechanism that moves the wiper. 

In order to make the rear wiper move there needs to be a motor that powers the movement of the blade. This takes up space in the vehicle that some cars can’t afford to lose. 

An SUV has a large amount of space where the motor can be hidden without making a significant difference in the storage of the trunk. However, this is not true for a sedan that needs the limited space provided for storage. 

There is much less space when it comes to a sedan, and putting in this motor and mechanism to make the blade move would lower the gas mileage and storage space.

More often than not, there is not even enough space for the motor, and the size of the vehicle would have to be enlarged to allow for it. 

For those wanting a smaller vehicle, this could be an issue that causes them to look at another vehicle altogether. So, to keep this from happening, manufacturers make the choice not to include a rear wiper. 


Whether you were wondering about why SUVs have rear wipers while others don’t because you are looking to purchase a new vehicle, then you now know the reasons why having one is essential on some cars but not others. 

Depending on what type of car you are looking for, you can choose to find a car that has a rear wiper, but you will likely be sacrificing space and gas mileage. So, choose what is the most important thing to you to help narrow down your choices. 

If you want a vehicle that has a rear wiper then you will probably need to start looking at SUVs so that you can get what you want without sacrificing space. Whatever works well for you is the best choice for you and your family, whatever that might be. 

With the information above, you can now know what the reasons are behind this decision to have a rear wiper on SUVs and not other cars. 

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!