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Bad idea to take the Tesla on a road trip before protecting the paint?

2krazykats

Member
Aug 20, 2015
289
26
CO
With luck, I will be picking up my Tesla on the 30th and have plans to travel on the 31st on a road trip that would be about 150 miles long. I won't have time to get it wrapped or paint protected beforehand. Is this a bad idea? I'm sure there will be gravel on the roads due to the climate we live in where they put gravel down for better road traction in the snow so that probably means paint chips. Should I leave the Tesla home and take an ICE or could the paint handle the trip?
 

Mark Z

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
1,842
1,301
North Orange County
The clear bra protection is important to protect the paint from chips. Where Tesla did not apply it on the upper hood, there is damage from the road trips.

The windshield is where most of my rock hits are, but one also occurred on the front window pillar.

If you take the Tesla and get a chip, you will be frustrated. If you are planning on getting wrap, then I would suggest driving the ICE vehicle.

I will NOT drive my new Model X through the desert before the protection is applied. The Model S will continue to be driven until the wrap is complete.
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,276
25,749
No question I would apply full protection prior to use, especially in your area. Post protection mine has been with no problems despite traveling in rough areas. The windshield is another matter; I know no solution for that one.
 

Chris TX

Active Member
Sep 30, 2013
1,531
186
Dallas, TX
Thick, blue painters tape will be fine for long trips like that. That's what most of the Cannonballers do.

EDIT: Hang on, this is only 150 miles? I wouldn't worry too much about it, unless there's tons of traffic and known gravel.
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,010
4,614
McKinney, TX
I picked up my new S and drove it directly to the clear wrap place, a trip of just 12 miles. Even though I went straight there, the wrap guy and I found a small rock chip on the hood.

i wouldn't wait.
 

eye.surgeon

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
1,368
2,014
California
Not everyone wraps their car. Keep that in mind. I never do. I don't live in a snowy climate though. This is just one opinion, but I'd rather enjoy the car than wrap it up so it's perfect for the next guy. There was a post a few days ago from a guy that spent something like $8,000 on paint protection and then sold his car after less than a year :crying:...
 

SW2Fiddler

We Are Cognitive Dissidents
Mar 19, 2014
2,362
3,247
Houston TX
I did that, but the trip was twice that. It was a great drive and the detailer who later applied the CQuartz supplied me with spray for the inevitable bug strikes.
Was fine, would do again. Your car wants to drive :)
Don't wash, let the wrap shop do it. Hard advice, I know.
 

SmartElectric

Active Member
Jul 9, 2014
2,473
2,106
Toronto,Canada
No wrap or paint protection on our car here in Ontario Canada. At three years and 60000 km on it, still looks great. We routinely drive 300 km in a weekend. Life is too short to worry, drive the S!
 

Mark Z

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
1,842
1,301
North Orange County
I learned the benefit of wrap on the rear bumper of Model S when accidentally backing into a cement planter. The wrap was torn, but the paint untouched. The lower charcoal plastic and chrome metal were replaced along with the wrap for under $1000. No repaint needed.

How different when a slight 1 mph touch of the side rear bumper that was unwrapped occurred. It still has the scrape and the missing paint. Would have been avoided with the wrap.

I look forward to the sensors on Model X that will help avoid such incidents. But, the savings with wrap can still occur when other vehicles or objects collide with the surface. It is money well spent for my enjoyment of the vehicle. Easier to clean and less worry about scratches.

The cost to benefit ratio will vary depending on the situation. Consider a partial wrap, especially for front, hood and rear bumper areas. Side mirrors and fender wheel well zones were also protected on the Model S Signature when Tesla Motors offered the wrap.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,401
10,994
California
I learned the benefit of wrap on the rear bumper of Model S when accidentally backing into a cement planter. The wrap was torn, but the paint untouched. The lower charcoal plastic and chrome metal were replaced along with the wrap for under $1000. No repaint needed.

How different when a slight 1 mph touch of the side rear bumper that was unwrapped occurred. It still has the scrape and the missing paint. Would have been avoided with the wrap.

I look forward to the sensors on Model X that will help avoid such incidents. But, the savings with wrap can still occur when other vehicles or objects collide with the surface. It is money well spent for my enjoyment of the vehicle. Easier to clean and less worry about scratches.

The cost to benefit ratio will vary depending on the situation. Consider a partial wrap, especially for front, hood and rear bumper areas. Side mirrors and fender wheel well zones were also protected on the Model S Signature when Tesla Motors offered the wrap.

So... You spent $1000 to replace the wrap, chrome and plastic on one ding but nothing to paint /touchup a scrape?
 

Mark Z

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
1,842
1,301
North Orange County
So... You spent $1000 to replace the wrap, chrome and plastic on one ding but nothing to paint /touchup a scrape?
The shredded wrap, broken chrome and plastic damage looked terrible, especially as the chrome hit low objects and was pulled away from the vehicle. The wrap, chrome and dark plastic had to be replaced and no painting kept the total cost under $1000, so no increase in insurance rates. (New DMV HOV stickers were obtained.)

The rear corner scrape area is only visible when the light is just right since the black plastic and Sig Red paint are dark. Reload Silica Spray Sealant removed the scuffed appearance and blended the colors. Fixing it permanently will be costly, as it affects several areas of paint near the rear tail light and the bumper. I decided it would be fixed later after Model X arrived and the vehicle can spend time at the auto body location for other touchups due to missing wrap on the hood and windshield pillar where rocks created nicks in the paint. I'd rather ignore the scrape of missing paint until the vehicle needs to be made right for a future buyer. Having Signature Red, the color match can take time. The wrap saves time if you don't need to repaint.

Here are photos of the wrap damage (yes, the paint survived), and the before and after photos of the scrape (with no protective wrap) that was polished with Reload Silica Spray Sealant. (These were two separate events on private property. No parking sensors - so no warning during the cement planter hit or 1 mph bumper abrasion.)

IMG_9311.jpg
IMG_3327.jpg
IMG_3390.jpg
 
Last edited:

BertL

Active Member
Aug 19, 2015
2,018
1,573
Carlsbad, CA
OP, one more set of opinions for your consideration:

  • IDK what color MS you have. Reality is, if you have a lighter color, e.g. white, any rock chip you do one day receive will be less noticeable, opposed to if you have a darker color like black, red, etc where any nick is going to be more conspicuous to eyes that look for the detail.
  • I also drive through the desert several times a year, but only on interstates -- not on unimproved roads as some do. Key for me is to avoid driving any vehicle if there is wind and blowing sand as glass would still be vulnerable even if one had flipped the big bills to do a full wrap of their ride (which isn't as common as a front-end and perhaps A-pillar + mirror, or some other partial variation). I did not encountered major issues "just driving 7 hours to Vegas" for example in my former Lexus and BMW that were dark grey and dark almost midnight blue multiple times.
  • I have had XPEL on two former rides. Explained my experience with that in another similar thread here on TMC. Net is, I do not have XPEL or some sort of similar wrap on my MS, and I don't plan to install any on my Pearl White MC MS. FWIW, my first chip was to my windshield, not to my paint. If I had a dark color MS or frequented areas with sand, gravel and debris on the roads, and I had a 2nd ride readily available as you do, I would put XPEL on my MS before it's first road trip.
Good luck with your decision.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,724
22,768
Texas
Full Suntek wrapping has saved my car numerous times so far. There have been several scrapes that just required cleaning off the foreign paint with tar and bug remover. Repainting a bumper or hood is not cheap and is never as long lasting as the factory paint.

And the car still looks nice enough to win the occasional trophy at car shows. So I'm not sure what the comments about "enjoyment" are.
 

2krazykats

Member
Aug 20, 2015
289
26
CO
The car color is the deep blue so yes it's in the darker side.

funny how you ask a yes/no question and inevitably it's about split even... It'll be mainly highway driving and I think the roads will be clear of snow but not necessarily gravel. I'm not sure how much gravel they put on the south side of I-25 this time of year and I would be pretty unhappy if I got a chip. However, chips can be repaired before a wrap is applied can't it? I have to weigh that against my deep desire to take it for a stretch!

@jcaspar, the autozone links didn't show a price when I tried to add it to the cart and I don't think I'd have time to do all that before the trip anyway with work in the way...
 

tinm

2020 Model S LR+ Owner
May 3, 2015
2,463
11,890
New Mexico, USA
38000mi on my S, dark blue, tons of long 1000+mi road trips, no XPEL or bras or anything else on car. A few hood chips, not very noticeable. So far so good.
 

jcaspar

Member
Aug 19, 2013
834
72
Sacramento
I have a wrap for most of my car and I think it is helpful but I am not totally convinced. Small rocks that would normally cause a chip that could easily be touched up now cause a visible defect that can only be fixed by rewrapping the panel. I think it is a great way to protect the car from chips for the next owner, after the wrap is removed, but not so sure about it otherwise. Paint shine is not quite a nice with the wrap (Xpel) than bare paint. Still, for 1400$ for wrap and window tint I am still glad I did it.
 

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