Rain-X washer fluid sensor lawsuit claims product damages fluid level sensors at a $100 to $200 cost

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Rain-X washer fluid sensor lawsuit claims product damages fluid level sensors at a $100 to $200 cost

— A Rain-X windshield washer fluid sensor lawsuit has been filed after complaints about failed sensors causing an expense of $100 to $200.

Filed against Illinois Tool Works, Inc. and South/Win Ltd, the proposed class-action Rain-X sensor lawsuit alleges the product might do a good job on the windshield, but it does a lousy job with the washer fluid sensor inside the washer fluid reservoir tank.

Rain-X is marketed and sold as a water repellent that can "outsmart the elements" when used in numerous makes and models of vehicles. Rain-X is also marketed as a superior windshield washer fluid and can cost twice as much as similar products sold by competitors.

However, the lawsuit alleges Rain-X is not compatible with the windshield washer fluid sensor known as a “continuity prong washer sensor.” This sensor is commonly used in vehicles manufactured by Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, MINI Cooper and Volkswagen.

Plaintiff David Tawil said he bought Rain-X in 2014 to use in his Volkswagen GTI. In February 2015, Tawil noticed the low washer fluid light was on, but after checking the reservoir, Tawil saw the fluid was not low. The plaintiff took the vehicle to a VW dealer and was told that Rain-X was the problem because it created a build-up on the washer fluid sensor.

The sensor is used to detect the presence of washer fluid by passing an electrical charge between two metal prongs. The lawsuit alleges the sensor couldn't read the fluid level accurately which caused the warning light to illuminate. To repair the problem, Tawil had to pay the dealer about $130 to fix the sensor.

Mr. Tawil said he wouldn't have purchased Rain-X if he would have known it would damage the windshield washer fluid sensor.

The lawsuit alleges automakers know the dangers of using Rain-X because the problem has been highlighted in technical service bulletins sent to dealers. Those bulletins warn that Rain-X can damage the washer fluid sensors.

The plaintiff further claims the makers of Rain-X know the damage it can cause but they continue to conceal that knowledge from consumers. The lawsuit mentions a complaint on Facebook made in 2014 where the defendants said they knew of the problem and would "soon" do something about it. However, the makers of Rain-X allegedly never took action on the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges Rain-X chemical compounds likely are made of silicon-based polymers such as polysiloxane and hydroxyl-terminated polydimethylsiloxane. In other words, the same chemicals used to coat the windshield are the same chemicals coating the washer fluid sensor.

The Rain-X sensor lawsuit seeks to require the defendants to inform consumers about the product being incompatible with certain vehicles and to reimburse anyone who has paid to have the sensors repaired or replaced.

The Rain-X washer fluid sensor lawsuit was originally filed in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division - David Tawil v. Illinois Tool Works, Inc. and South/Win Ltd. The case was recently transferred from Illinois to a New Jersey federal court.

The plaintiff is represented by the Gibbs Law Group, Wexler Wallace, Greg Coleman Law PC, and Berger & Montague P.C.

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