GM’s New HotShot

By on September 30, 2005

General Motors will equip the 2006 Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne with a new gadget called HotShot. HotShot will heat the windshield washer fluid in the vehicle to 170 degrees before spraying it on your ice- or snow-covered windshield, nicely melting the cold stuff pretty quickly.

HotShot has actually been around for a while as an aftermarket add-on, from Microheat, making it attainable for those of us who can’t afford a new Caddy or Buick!

I know it’s been around for a while, and some are saying that in 10 years all new cars will be equipped with one, but I still don’t know if it’s such a great idea. I remember one day when I was a kid, my sister was thirsty for some iced tea. She took the glass pitcher of tea from the fridge, poured the last few ounces from it to her glass, then took the pitcher to the sink to rinse it out. Mom had just done the dishes, so the water that came out of the tap was plenty hot. The result wasn’t pretty.

She was left holding the handle of the pitcher, the rest was in pieces at the bottom of the sink. Hot fluids just don’t mix well with cold glass. Not to say that that’s what’ll happen with a HotShot under the hood, but who knows; if it’s cold enough, just maybe.

Reading the article about HotShot reminded me of another gadget I heard about years ago, but haven’t seen much about recently; a gasoline-fired heater for liquid-cooled cars.

At the time, I drove an air-cooled 1981 Volkswagen Vanagon, equipped with a gas-fired heater (and a HUGE sunroof!) The heater’s blower motor was shot, and the only source I was able to find for repair parts was a gentleman in New Jersey by the name of Ark Mirvis.

Ark is the guru of all things gas heater-ish. During one of my phone conversations with him, he told me of a $500 gas heater he sold that installed in the coolant lines of a regular car, and could fire itself up at a preset time to warm the engine of the car, turn on the heater fan inside the car & defrost the windows before you even walk out the door of your house.

There have been lots of cold, cold South Dakota mornings where I wished I’d sprung for that heater. I bet you could even rig it up to heat your windshield washer fluid.



  1. This post, due to the Cadillac (I drive an Escalade) reference made me think of OnStar. Though I am not sure I endorse the full concierge package, it is a great service for door unlock. This past week I picked up my dog from a haircut aka grooming. I threw, almost literally (she likes to fly in the air), her in the car and went back in to pay. Came back out and was locked out of the car, she hit the auto lock with her paws…here I was…20 miles out of town at the kennel, car running, keys and dog inside…but I thought of OnStar.

    Gave it a ring at 1-888-4onstar, went through the dial pads, got a rep, waited about 10 minutes on the phone with the rep (they only send unlock frequencies every 10 minutes I guess so it depends on where you are in the cycle) and like magic, they unlocked.

    Long ways to get to the point…OnStar door unlock is very cool. Even the 10 minute wait was fine compared to the alternative. And, I think it is free to use if you have it.

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