So I took my Tiguan in for routine maintenance for the first time since buying it used 6 months ago. I've noticed that the rear defroster doesn't work so I mentioned that to the mechanic when I dropped it off. According to him, there is some wiring that was broken or cut connecting to the defrost grid and they would need to replace the entire rear window to fix the issue at a cost of almost $900. Luckily, I live in North Carolina where the defroster is only necessary occasionally in the winter so I opted to pass on that repair.

However, as a very amateur car mechanic (I've done a few spark plugs, oxygen sensor, and other small things), it seems to me that if wiring is the only issue, there must be a cheaper way to reconnect broken/cut wiring to get this fixed for a lot cheaper than $900.

I haven't gotten the car back yet so if pictures are necessary, I can provide those later. But my question is -- does anyone have any experience with this sort of repair that could provide a cheaper alternative to replacing the entire rear window? Or should I just live without it and use a scraper when necessary?

  • 1
    If the wires embedded into the glass are broken, I don't think you can fix it. I've tried unsuccessfully. You should use a volt meter to test that voltage is being supplied to the leads attached to the glass, and if they have voltage then the wires in the glass are broken. The problem is that to fix them you'd probably have to solder on them, and the heat would shatter the glass. There are aftermarket stick-on defrosters which you could potentially use to augment your broken defroster, but they aren't nice like the original. frostfighter.com/clear-view-defrosters-legacy.htm Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 19:35
  • @the_storyteller That aftermarket defroster is very interesting... I'll definitely consider that -- even if it isn't that nice. I got the impression that the defroster grid isn't the problem, but you may be right about the wiring being in the glass itself. Though, I have no idea how that would get cut/broken if it is embedded...
    – Steve-o169
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 19:44
  • If the grid isn't broken, then you shouldn't have to replace the window. The grid is just a big resistor, and when you run power through it, it heats up. You can test the resistance of the grid with an ohm meter to make sure it has continuity, and check that it's being supplied voltage. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


If it is the thin “wires” on the glass then I have had success in the past with silver conductive paint.

You have to find the breaks and clean them back to metal - I used a razor or scapel but be careful they are very very thin. Then mask each side and coat over the break. Follow the instructions for the paint.. remove the masking and test only when dry.

Tough to make look neat, especially if the window is tinted with a film...

  • From what I could tell from the description, it isn't the grid that is damaged, but the actually wiring connecting the grid to the battery, I suppose? Additionally, the car does have aftermarket tint on all of the windows so I would have to remove that to do anything to the grid and would prefer to avoid that hassle.
    – Steve-o169
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 19:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .