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Car Wash For Tesla


Dec 30, 2015
New York City
Hey guys,

I'm a relatively new member here and also anxiously waiting my MS delivery in March. Sorry in advanced if this is a ridiculous or obvious question. :tongue:

Can Tesla's use the normal machine car washes that require you to put your car in neutral? I'm concerned because this car is fully electric and if there are water guns spraying water everywhere, I'm worried about the battery pack/drive train unit.

Or should I just hand wash it?
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Jul 11, 2013
United States
No need to worry about the battery or drive train....if this was a problem then there would be issues driving in the rain.
I personally don't take my car through the car wash. Most people don't have a problem but I know some people have had issues with car washes that push your car along. Maybe other members can chime in about that.


Active Member
Oct 20, 2014
There is nothing "normal" about car washes that move your car while rotating giant brushes or scrub off your clearcoat using sand removed from other cars as the abrasive. Stay away from these.

Make sure the water is not recycled, if it is you will have your clearcoat sandblasted off.

Also watch out for the car washes advertised as touch-free but with wheel brushes, they often have errors sometimes resulting in the rotary brush rubbing your door or fender.

Lastly observe the activity around the business, if it is left unattended chances are half the time you will just get plain water washes after it runs out of detergents and fluids.

And if you love your Tessie get a dual pail bucket (scrub-rinse), clay bar, then a synthetic sealing wax topped off at the end with carnauba for that concours look, all under an Easy-tent with the 2000 lumen LED surface scan of course. Don't forget the leather and anti-UV interior treatments too. Think on the positive side, your wife will have you off her back for a whole day, oh wait where is my Porter-Cable, etc. etc.;)


Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
No problem running the Tesla through a car wash as long as its the type that you stay inside with. If its the type that you get out of and the car goes thorugh by itself, you have to put it into tow mode for, which is a pain in the arse.


Aug 3, 2015
Reno & Las Vegas, NV
I'm somewhere between Kandiru and jaguar36. I hand wash my car using a no-rinse two-bucket method, but I haven't yet used a clay bar or wax, not to mention professional detailing equipment.

My car is coated with Opti-Coat Pro. For washing I use Optimum No-Rinse Wash & Shine.


Active Member
Jul 18, 2014
Calgary, Canada
Not sure if this was mentioned... but given the low clearance of the car and that track you need to drive over, I would raise the air suspension (if equipped) to high before entering. Also the raised suspension aids in getting the water to clean inside your wheel wells...

Mark Z

Active Member
Mar 12, 2013
North Orange County
The gas station touchless one that I have visited worked nicely for the paint.

The wheels are another story. The challenge of driving through the guide rails without having the wheels get scraped can be a challenge. The 19" wheels will help. One tip is to exit the vehicle where the wash code is entered and double check your positioning on each side before driving up to the guide rails.

The best solution was to take a class on washing the Tesla at home. Glistening Perfection helped train many of our OC Tesla owner's group to clean the Tesla Model S without the damage that can occur if not careful.

When I need a quick clean on road trips, using the high pressure rinse and the deionized spotless final rinse at a manual wash location has helped remove the majority of dirt and stay touchless.

Mike Tuccelli

Nov 9, 2015
Elkton, FL
I attended a Tesla owners meeting and one guy told me the Tesla badge behind the front wheel was ripped off by a car wash brush and it wasn't a warranty item. I could feel a gap between the emblem and the car body so you can be sure it isn't brush car wash friendly.


Sep 17, 2015
I attended a Tesla owners meeting and one guy told me the Tesla badge behind the front wheel was ripped off by a car wash brush and it wasn't a warranty item. I could feel a gap between the emblem and the car body so you can be sure it isn't brush car wash friendly.
I only use "touchless" car washes I never would subject the soft paint on the car to those hard brushes.


Jul 12, 2014
East Texas
But you're subjecting the car to the harsh chemicals needed to remove the dirt without touching the car. It's just as bad.
Hand wash only using proper technique as mentioned above.

I agree hand wash is the way to wash the car.

Have I taken it to touchless car washes...yes especially during winters when it is too cold to wash the car outside...:eek:


Jan 16, 2014
Los Angeles
+1 to recommendations here. First of all, I had CQuartz Finest (similar to OptiCoat Pro) put on the car for an extra (minor) clear coat layer with high gloss. If I don't have time to wash myself, I'll take the car through a touchless car wash - then take it home and detail with no-rinse cleaner/detailer.

If I'm washing it myself I use the two-bucket method. Look up "Junkman" on youtube for detailed info on washing methods. Make sure you buy a lot of good microfiber towels and keep them clean. Keep the tire/wheel cleaning towels and brush completely separate (and wash separately).
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