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Car washing options?

How do you clean your M3?

  • By my own hand only

    Votes: 55 84.6%
  • Human (paid) car wash

    Votes: 9 13.8%
  • Machine (paid) car wash

    Votes: 1 1.5%

  • Total voters
    65

Roy W.

Battery running low...
Jun 3, 2019
2,334
2,401
Derby, UK
The Model 3 is the first car I’ve owned that has never been through a commercial car wash of some sort. With my other vehicles I’ve tended to use a combination of hand washing and the IMO style of assisted wash, where they do a bit of jet washing before you are dragged through an automated bit.

In all the years I’ve used them I’ve never noticed any paintwork damage, as long as the car is well polished.

As the Model 3 is the most expensive car I’ve ever had, I decided to just wash it by hand. The downside is that it doesn’t get washed as often through the winter, as I hate washing the car in the freezing cold!
 

Roy W.

Battery running low...
Jun 3, 2019
2,334
2,401
Derby, UK
Thanks - my query is more so “is there any risk to the electrics / water ingress etc?”.

I appreciate there’s more care when washing by your own hand, but realistically is there a significantly increased risk by taking it to the car park guys?
I don’t think there’s any greater risk with water ingress than when driving along in heavy rain.
 
You are more likely to get water ingress through build issues, which may occur when washing it, regardless of who is washing it.

I washed mine earlier today and found water on the inside of the passenger side front window. Although I use a jet wash, it has an attachment on the end for cars so it’s more of a wide spray for rinsing than a really high powered jet.

I think I may have found the source of the excess wind noise that the SC did nothing to fix on my last visit. Looking at it earlier the top right hand side of the window just doesn’t sit against the door seals like the other side, which looks like it may have been allowing water in. I’ve not driven it much in winter so haven’t really noticed water coming in whilst driving.
 
Last edited:

NewbieT

Active Member
Aug 16, 2019
1,433
1,023
North West
My M3 went through the car wash today for the first time. Queued, realised I don’t know how to put it in Neutral. Exit Q. Read manual. Failed to work it out. Google. Quick Guide for Carwash with Model 3! Worked! Rejoined Q. £10. Did a bad job. You expect wheels to be half done but it missed the cills, 1/2 back corner, rear Tesla logo. Rubbish.

Now I just found 2 small chips on the windscreen and a polish mark on the frunk (car with 2000 miles on it). Doh.
 
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If you have an aversion to 'swirl' marks (actually a mass of linear fine cuts to clear-coat that bounce direct light and ruin paint colour beauty) then avoid all types of car wash apart from your own full-on means per the guidance above to help minimise them. Either that or get whole/top body PPF, which will self-repair the scratches with heat for a good 10 years, or use quality post-wash wax to mask them. All washing eventually damages the paintwork requiring machine polishing to restore. If not bothered by appearance then never wash until before sale, preferably by a quality detailer (not valet).
 

DJP31

Active Member
Aug 30, 2015
1,739
1,156
UK
which will self-repair the scratches with heat for a good 10 years,

What's the technique for this? I have supposedly self healing ceramic coating and have noted a couple or very minor scratches. I'm slightly nervous of getting the wife's hair dryer on it, I have plenty of history thinking 'this will make things better' only to achieve the complete opposite :rolleyes:.
 

But aha, I'm not obsessed, in fact I hate cleaning cars and until now have just used automatic car washes, so not sure that applies to me :p. I'm looking for the easiest way to keep the car clean without risking damage.

I'm thinking a pressure washer with the foam bath every few weeks and then get a local detailer to clean it every quarter or something
 
What's the technique for this? I have supposedly self healing ceramic coating and have noted a couple or very minor scratches. I'm slightly nervous of getting the wife's hair dryer on it, I have plenty of history thinking 'this will make things better' only to achieve the complete opposite :rolleyes:.

I've not heard of self healing ceramic coat, at least one that requires active repair, but the comment about heating up with hot air source relates to PPF of which some will have self healing properties when subject to certain heating.
 

Blokie

2021 M3LR
Nov 7, 2020
214
111
UK
But aha, I'm not obsessed, in fact I hate cleaning cars and until now have just used automatic car washes, so not sure that applies to me :p. I'm looking for the easiest way to keep the car clean without risking damage.

I'm thinking a pressure washer with the foam bath every few weeks and then get a local detailer to clean it every quarter or something

I decided to treat my new M3 with a professional ceramic coating (IGL Kenzo), with the massive added bonus that it makes washing so much quicker and easier, so may be worth spending some cash top a) make it the best it can be as a starting point and b) make ongoing cleaning much easier....
 

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