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Have you ever noticed that SUVs tend to have rear wipers while sedans and trucks don’t? No? Well, we are going to get into this anyway. We took a bit to dig in and see why that is.

The quick answer? SUVs have rear wipers because the upright back end of these vehicles tends to build up snow, dirt, and more on the rear window due to the vehicle’s aerodynamics, which needs to be wiped away. 

The aerodynamics of sedans, for example, allow these things to dissipate while driving (as the air is quickly moving over the rear window), while SUVs don’t have enough airflow to stop the build-up. On the other hand, pickup trucks have a bed, which changes the airflow, leaving the rear windows cleaner.

Why does debris build up on the rear window?

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If you are anything like me and drive a crossover with a flat rear window, you tend to notice snow, water, and dust build-up on that window.

This is because airflow goes straight off the back of the vehicle due to their spoilers, combined with the flat nature of the rear window instead of going down the rear. This lack of airflow is an easy way for all of this debris to build up.

In fact, the airflow of an SUV or crossover causes an upward draft in the rear and can bring dust-up from under the vehicle after it passes underneath.

How do you help prevent debris from building up on your back window?

While there isn’t any permanent way to stop this build-up, there are ways to make it at least contain a little bit. I like to use windshield washer fluid by Rain-X, which has an additive (Paid Link) that helps water bead up on it. This also makes other stuff run off better!

Another great way to help with the build-up is by utilizing a ceramic coating. Much like the Rain-X above, ceramic coatings make the glass (and paint) considerably slicker and can leave windows cleaner as the dust and other debris quickly fall off the back.

Cleaning the surfaces thoroughly when washing your car will also help prevent stuff from building up.

Need a quick recap?

So there you have it; you now know why SUVs have rear wipers while other vehicles don’t! If you want to keep your back window clean while driving, that rear wiper is necessary due to the aerodynamics of a crossover.