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Car Wash

kuttakamina

Member
Aug 23, 2014
709
2
DC
Thinking through all aspects of ownership ..
Summers is not an issue, I can wash the car meticulously myself.

Winters - when the salt does all sorts of disservice to cars, what do you do to keep the car clean?
My current ICE - I car wash it. But with Tesla I am worried mainly because,

a) Its big and delicate, I wonder how kind most car washes and their spinning brushes will be to the Aluminium body, also I hear Tesla's paint is soft.
b) Its loaded with electricity, undercarriage which is the most important to get clean, the jets of water on loads of electricity, doesn't sound like a great idea!

What do you do to keep your car clean and corrosion free, especially in winters?
 

invisik

Member
Supporting Member
Mar 13, 2014
650
13
Minneapolis
I've found it to be sufficient... And they're using the liquid stuff here now too, ugh.

I remember reading somewhere about the suggestion against underbody sprays as the horizontal water stream might be able to seep in.

I just get the most basic touchless wash and I think it has been pretty clean, or at least the bulk of the dried on stuff is mostly washed off.

- - - Updated - - -

Oh can raise your suspension in the car wash as well to make a bigger opening to the wheel well area.
 

kptesl

Member
Feb 22, 2014
50
11
US
Yes, but the underbody is where all the salt is. And the shocks etc.

I would expect that it's safe to use undercarriage wash. The battery is supposed to be completely sealed given that it's so close to the ground. I've driven through puddles in the rain, and I'm sure others do as well. I also use automatic car washes, and I'm sure many owners do, and I've never heard of anybody getting water into the battery. I also suspect it would be covered under warranty. Can anybody confirm?
 

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,726
1,611
Huntington Beach, CA
Thinking through all aspects of ownership ..
Summers is not an issue, I can wash the car meticulously myself.

Winters - when the salt does all sorts of disservice to cars, what do you do to keep the car clean?
My current ICE - I car wash it. But with Tesla I am worried mainly because,

a) Its big and delicate, I wonder how kind most car washes and their spinning brushes will be to the Aluminium body, also I hear Tesla's paint is soft.
b) Its loaded with electricity, undercarriage which is the most important to get clean, the jets of water on loads of electricity, doesn't sound like a great idea!

What do you do to keep your car clean and corrosion free, especially in winters?

I just had a long discussion with a highly regarded "paint correction" shop. They polish out paint problems for local Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Cadillac dealers, among others, when in-house detailer can't fix the paint to customer's satisfaction and new paint job -(or worse, replacing the car) would be the next option. He washes his own car at a "mechanical" car wash, one that uses water jets and rotating brushes. He says commercial hand wash is often worse, because they use the same mitts on hundreds of cars, thereby scratching the finish with grit picked up during the day.
He also said that Tesla clear coat is softer than most other high-end cars

As to getting water into the battery, don't worry. Tesla battery packs have been designed and built to keep out water or anything else. I'm sure that other mfr.'s BEV batteries are water safe as well.
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Supporting Member
Jan 18, 2014
13,214
11,591
Connecticut
"He also said that Tesla clear coat is softer than most other high-end cars"............Has anyone ever done a hardness test on the Tesla paint......I doubt it, all the mfg's use common paint products. Why would Tesla choose to use a soft paint?

It's true. Strict laws in CA dictate that they must use water based paints. Other mfgs aren't in CA or even the US and can use much harder paints.
 

kuttakamina

Member
Aug 23, 2014
709
2
DC
I just had a long discussion with a highly regarded "paint correction" shop. They polish out paint problems for local Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi, Cadillac dealers, among others, when in-house detailer can't fix the paint to customer's satisfaction and new paint job -(or worse, replacing the car) would be the next option. He washes his own car at a "mechanical" car wash, one that uses water jets and rotating brushes. He says commercial hand wash is often worse, because they use the same mitts on hundreds of cars, thereby scratching the finish with grit picked up during the day.
He also said that Tesla clear coat is softer than most other high-end cars

As to getting water into the battery, don't worry. Tesla battery packs have been designed and built to keep out water or anything else. I'm sure that other mfr.'s BEV batteries are water safe as well.

Thanks Bruce!

I wish I could see some closeup pictures of a 2012 daily driver Tesla Model S that has been through car washes to see how well it holds up to abuse over time.
A full xpel on the car will cost around $3-7K. That is quite a bit of an expense that I don't have to worry about on a comparable Merc or BMW.

- - - Updated - - -

I don't know about paint hardness, but moving to California definitely solves this salt-in-the-winter issue. :)

I HATE WINTER! But I hate CA taxes more.
I should have moved to Arizona.

- - - Updated - - -

It's true. Strict laws in CA dictate that they must use water based paints. Other mfgs aren't in CA or even the US and can use much harder paints.

From here -
http://www.autonews.com/article/20140731/OEM05/140739960/teslas-q2-net-loss-widens-to-$62-million-as-r?d-expenses-soar=

"During the call, Musk said in the first quarter next year a new body assembly line will be installed in the plant. The company will also significantly upgrade the Fremont plant’s paint shop to become “the most advanced automotive paint shop in the world,” he said."

So, perhaps the new colors co-incided with the new paint shop? (Q1 next year is now). I can't find any other information on this.
 
I run mine through the car wash. Not a big deal. I usually try to use the touchless wash, which is the best option, but I've used the regular washes as well (and washed it by hand). It's just a car...

Many years ago, AutoWeek showed a picture of a Ferrari Testarossa coming out of an automatic car wash. They were flooded with letters about how they abused the car, etc... in the next issue, they pointed out that this car wash was at the Ferrari factory, and every new Ferrari was run through it!
 

kuttakamina

Member
Aug 23, 2014
709
2
DC
I don't really understand... what can go wrong at car washes? What's the concern? I have taken my BMW and Lexus through autobell countless times and never had a problem...

Well my original message states my concern. Teslas body is really weak and its paint is soft.
But after loads of research, my conclusion is, if swirls bother me that much, I should get the wrap.
I am just going to wax my car religiously before and after winter I guess and deal with touchless wash during winter.

Do do you have a model s? Do you take it through car washes?
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Supporting Member
Mar 8, 2012
20,208
25,873
Texas
I don't really understand... what can go wrong at car washes? What's the concern? I have taken my BMW and Lexus through autobell countless times and never had a problem...

The tires can be destroyed by the tracks. If a brush type the mirrors can be taken off and the paint scratched. The touchless type with no tracks are safe, but the car doesn't get all that clean either.
 

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