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Automatic Car Washes: What is the verdict?

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by Msolomi, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Msolomi

    Msolomi Member

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    I've always been a $5 car wash type of guy. I've had my car for 2 weeks and it is time to get it washed; I know there have been numerous discussions about this issue, but now that the ModelS has been around for a while and Teslive took place this past weekend, I would like to hear any comments as to whether its ok to run the ModelS through an automatic car wash. I've had cars comparable in price to the ModelS in the past, and always took them through automatic car washes, but I'm concerned about this one (not sure why), hence why I'm posting. Any thoughts would be certainly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Kaivball

    Kaivball Member

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    Hand wash or brushless is the best.

    Everything else WILL leave squirm marks. I'd reserve these automated car washes for low end cars where you don't care about the paint and finish.
     
  3. johnnydop

    johnnydop Member

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    Are your conerns regarding asthetics (swirls marks) or just that its an EV in a high pressure water environment?
     
  4. Msolomi

    Msolomi Member

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    That its an EV. And particularly a Tesla EV. Swirl marks would apply to all cars.
     
  5. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I wouldn't have any qualms about putting my car through a auto car wash. Width of the car being the only thing I would worry about. All my seals are nice and water tight.

    I generally just go the even better method of not washing.
     
  6. GlennAlanBerry

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    I think the touchless, automatic type is ok, but hand washing is better if you have the time and dedication, and the right supplies.
     
  7. Crispix

    Crispix Member

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    My take: if you're not the type to saran-wrap your car and fret over every tiny imperfection, go ahead and use the car wash. Deep down, it's just a CAR. It can go through the car wash. It'll be ok. You can still get your ride detailed from time to time. It'll look fine.

    Full disclosure: while I've taken my Benz to the car wash from time to time (and detailed it myself a few times a year), I probably won't put my MS through the auto wash and will hand wash it myself. I'm trying to decide if I want to become the guy who frets over every imperfection.
     
  8. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    To release the tension of dirt on the surface of the car some brush, mit, sponge, mop, etc. must be used, and those tools must be absolutely dirt free. This rules out all commercial car washes as they don't throughly clean these after every wash. The result? Dirt is embedded in the brushes, mitts, etc and they produce swirl marks that build up each time you get the car washed.

    So a careful hand wash, always with clean microfiber mitts or pads is highly recommend. In my area there's a guy with a portable operation who'll do this for me for the cost of the local "brushless" car wash, and he does a much better and more meticulous job. I like to do it myself, but when I can't the choice is a no brainer - my car will never see a commercial car wash.
     
  9. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    We've got some touchless car washes and they seem fine. I'd avoid one that guides your car on rails though, it'll rash your rims badly. The one I use is a drive in and a machine moves all around me while the car is stationary.
     
  10. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    I took my S to the local touchless car wash this morning, as I do periodically (and did before with my Roadster, holding up the soft top with my forearms when the blast dryer passed overhead :biggrin:). I guess I'm not an obsessive car finish guy, but I do like a clean car. I hand dried it with clean microfiber towels in the shade of a nearby tree afterward.

    As ckessel noted, avoid the automatic car washes that push your car through with rollers running between rails.
     
  11. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

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    I've heard that most car washes filter the dirty water and reuse it. Any concern that the filters aren't perfect, and a touchless car wash will blast grit at your car at high velocity?

    Or, I guess I should be asking, has anyone actually had a car damaged this way?
     
  12. GlennAlanBerry

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    #12 GlennAlanBerry, Jul 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
    Yeah, we have one at a nearby gas station that supposedly uses a laser to know where the car is, and it is touchless. It is $9.00 for the Premium wash selection, and it seems to work pretty well, especially in the Winter. Its kind of fun to drive to the gas station and drive right past the pumps!

    You won't find me using a bucket and microfibers to wash the car during the winter in Colorado. I will use some clean microfiber towels to get the extra drops that are left over after the "air drying" is done.
     
  13. Beavis

    Beavis Signature 991

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    Glenn, there is one in Parker? Where?
     
  14. Msolomi

    Msolomi Member

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    The type of car wash that I'm referring to is the one where you drive in yourself and the wheels move the car. My concern is LIMITED to the ModelS. I've taken plenty of cars through there and no problem at all, but I guess the concern is related to the battery pack.
     
  15. GlennAlanBerry

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    At the Loaf and Jug on Jordan, close to E470
     
  16. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    I wouldn't worry about the fact that the car is electric: short of full immersion, the battery pack, drivetrain and DC cabling are well protected from environmental insults. Model S undergoes a water test at the factory that makes a touchless car wash look like a walk through a garden sprinkler.
     
  17. Cheerose

    Cheerose Member

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    The other issue is that some of the washes-on-rails do this without someone sitting in the driver's seat. Don't think that's possible with the S; unless you put a weight in the seat to trick the sensors.
     
  18. Kaivball

    Kaivball Member

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    For me cosmetics.

    I have no worries about the water aspect
     
  19. AC1K

    AC1K Member

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    Best carwash is the one you do yourself

    Time 1hr
    3000PSI pressure washer
    2x chamois
    tire shine
    fresh coat of wax :)

    no need for soap, the first chamois will loosen the dirt, the 2nd rinse will wash it off, the second chamois is to dry without spots
     
  20. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    So just out of curiosity. With the swirls, is there something about the Tesla finish that makes it more susceptible to swirls?
     

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