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Carwash - safe or not

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by TrevTremaine, May 15, 2016.

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  1. TrevTremaine

    TrevTremaine Member

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    Hi, I've got a car approaching delivery soon and am wondering about carwashes. I've not seen much in terms of pros/cons of washing it through a gas station carwash.

    I see that a touchless/drive-in, drive-out carwash is recommended in the manual as opposed to the "push-through" method, but has anyone put one through the more typical carwash? Has it been a problem in terms of clearing the rail?

    Otherwise, what do people do if washing by hand? What products are you using (pressure washers, soaps, waxes, etc)?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. chillaban

    chillaban Member

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    Some drive-through carwashes are touchless and just pressure-wash your car. It's ideal to find those.

    Most people don't like the touch-based carwashes because they risk swirling your paint, but I think that depends on how much you care about that versus the convenience of getting your car washed for 5 minutes and 10 bucks versus paying someone $100 (at least out here in California) with a bucket and sponge to clean and detail the car...

    Personally this will be my 3rd car with a Model S range price tag, and I send every one of them through touch and touchless gas station car washes, and it worked out fine.
     
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  3. Beryl

    Beryl Member

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    I've been having problems with the sensors after using touchless carwashes. I think it is related to the tracks that move the car though.
     
  4. shonline

    shonline Member

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    I use "laserwash" type carwashes only.

    LaserWash G5 S-Series » Car Wash Systems » PDQ Manufacturing, Inc. Car Wash Equipment & Systems

    These are the ones that move around you, pressure washing. The car never moves an inch. Nothing touches the car, no wheel guiding track to scuff your rims.

    When I picked up my MS in late March, I asked about car washing at the service department and this is what they suggested. Apparently, the wheel guiding ones can scuff the rims and the brushes and hanging cloth strips that touch the car are notorious for scratching. The guys called those "sandpaper" machines.

    Fortunately, I have one a mile from home. 9 bucks a wash...
     
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  5. DMC-Orangeville

    DMC-Orangeville 85D and John Deere 5100E

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    ....I also live in the Toronto area, and can't hand wash from November to April....
    Drive in, drive out, touch-less are the best
    There are issues with the the "wheel drag" washes
    You may have rim damage - especially if you have 21" rims
    There is an issue with getting OUT of neutral - you need to put the brakes on before shifting to drive.....may cause a drag for a bit
    I prefer going to a glide style (Petro-Canada) if I must be pulled through
    I opticoated my paint to help stop the inevitable paint swirls
     
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  6. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Search and you will find many threads on this. I wouldn't trust a car wash no matter what type it is. I only hand wash using Optimum No Rinse (you'll see commonly abbreviated as ONR) with microfiber towels and two bucket method.
     
  7. Gwampa

    Gwampa Member

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    my 0.02 cents worth.....

    I am concerned that the "T" thingamajig on the sides of the car has some space and it COULD be ripped off if something got underneath and pulled.

    However, I live in CT. (ok, you guys up NORTH, can tell me I am closer to the equator and its warmer here than in Canada) but there is NO way I can wash it by hand for 6 months of the year without getting frostbite on my delicate fingers. And, I really wanna get the salt and crap off of the car, so I have NO problems going thorough the car wash. Yea, it might put some swirls on the car, but the car is NOT a piece of art, but a functional object that is way too much fun to drive.

    BTW, talking to a dude that repairs car washes, I learned a tad.

    The brushes that "drag" over the top of the car, are soft, cloth thingys, which COULD get some sand, dirt embedded, the spinning blue thingys that rub against the side are solid fiber thingys that are dense and do NOT absorb dirt or sand. So while I figured they were the worse, its the slow thingys on the top that are worse.

    p.s. Car is < 2 months old and still looking FINE!

    Bruce
     
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  8. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    #8 supratachophobia, May 19, 2016
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
    The touch car washers put wicked swirls in the paint on the 1st Tesla. 0/10, would not bang again.

    Edit: The car was black so that didn't help at all.
     
  9. Electricfan

    Electricfan Member

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    Keep a good coat of wax on it, or have it Opti-coated by a professional (not a guy working in his garage). I'm not too particular, and use a normal car wash regularly.
     
  10. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    I would not, and have not, washed my MS in a car wash. It's easy for me to say that, though, since i live in a moderate climate. I may think differently if it was too cold for months at a time for me to wash my car and it was encrusted with winter road nastiness.

    IF you do use the car wash, be sure to turn off the rain sensing wipers so that they're not ripped off by the apparatus.
     
  11. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    My 14 month old P85D with 21K miles on has never been through a car wash. It is still swirl free today. If it were to go through car wash it would be ruined and she'd never forgive me.
     
  12. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    I use the touchless washes with no problems so far
     
  13. Pj42

    Pj42 Member

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    Thnx for the tip.what is opticoat?
     
  14. DMC-Orangeville

    DMC-Orangeville 85D and John Deere 5100E

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    Opticoat is a polymer compound applied over the paint to help protect it and keep it shiny. Opti-Coat Pro Coatings | Opti-Coat LLC
    cQuartz is similar, and there are a few others out there. It costs about $1000 CDN to do the whole car. I got mine done at GTA in Detail, in Mississauga, but there are a number of other shops around Toronto.

    I also had a protective film installed on the front of the car PRIOR to the opticoat. I went with XPEL. It prevents rocks and road hazards form damaging the paint....and you may need it, living in King City (I used to live at Keele and 16th in King).
     
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  15. Pj42

    Pj42 Member

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    They paved 16th side road last year and now it looks brand new ;)
    We would have been neighbors:)
    Thanks for all the tips.
     
  16. JeffC

    JeffC Member

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    Hand wash is definitely better than machine. The problem with (brushed) machines is that they trap dirt on the brushes, which then scratches the paint.

    In principle pressure wash can also scratch paint, by sliding the existing dirt on the paint.
     
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  17. Geoff

    Geoff Member

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    I am also a fan of hand washing the car. I completely get the convenience of using a machine...but for me, I'd rather leave the car dirty until I can wash it by hand.
     
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  18. ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️

    ⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️ Liked, but not well liked.

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    My thoughts exactly. The dirty black looks like the midnight silver metallic, so no need to rush things. Look me up if you ever need a charge down in Portland. No homo.:)
     
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  19. Gig103

    Gig103 Member

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    I enjoy hand washing, but don't always take the time. For me, I only use the no-brush versions that spray around the car while I sit stationary. In the past it was purely to prevent swirls in the paint, but now it's because I don't want to risk damage to the 21" rims either.
     
  20. grichard

    grichard Member De-Luxe

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    I run it through whatever sort of reputable-looking car wash is convenient. About the only thing I *won't* do is use the sandpaper brushes at the u-squirt-em's.

    Just chiming in to add a "don't sweat it" vote to the thread. Kudos to the folks who do nothing but hand-wash, though.
     

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