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Do you use touch-less automatic washes?

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
3,337
2,229
Richland, WA
Only had the Model 3 for a couple months and hand washed it three or four times. The weather is starting to turn though and I just want to get the dust off and any road crud from when it’s been wet out. Do you guys use touch-less automatic washes for those in between times when you don’t need to deep clean it but just want to get the surface clean?

I have Xpel PPF on the full front, but I’m pretty sure I read it was ok to use that with a touch-less wash after its had time to fully dry.... (it’s been weeks now)
 

afadeev

Active Member
Feb 28, 2019
1,156
1,339
NYC
Do you guys use touch-less automatic washes for those in between times when you don’t need to deep clean it but just want to get the surface clean?

Yup - I use touchless automatic - mainly in the winter - to rinse road salt and grime.
I prefer to hand wash, mush better outcome.

+1.
I prefer to hand-wash my cars, or pay someone to hand-wash them for me. But my TM3P is a daily driver, so in the winter, I am just running it through a car wash.
Yes, it picks up a few fine scratches that need to be polished out in the spring. And I'm OK with that.

have Xpel PPF on the full front, but I’m pretty sure I read it was ok to use that with a touch-less wash after its had time to fully dry.... (it’s been weeks now)

I've heard the opposite about PPF and the need to avoid car washes, or even a requirement to use only certain chemicals while hand-washing.

Good luck on figuring that part out.

a
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,305
1,264
Encino, CA
The only risk with the touchless washes is that, in order to clean effectively, they often use harsh chemicals and soaps that can strip sealants and waxes. So if you have a sealant or wax anywhere on the paint, including on top of the PPF, it may be partially or completely stripped by the chemicals they use.
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,305
1,264
Encino, CA
I've heard the opposite about PPF and the need to avoid car washes, or even a requirement to use only certain chemicals while hand-washing.

Actually, an Xpel rep once said that PPF covered paint is safe to go through a car wash because of the PPF's self healing properties. If the car wash induces scratches or swirls, they will be gone after the PPF has been in the sun's heat for 20 min. All car washes, including or even esecially touchless ones, use harsh soaps and chemicals that will strip your wax or sealant. So I would be more concerned about my sealant or wax, not as much about the PPF.

For PPF, you have to be careful about the type of sealants and waxes you use. But most regular car wash soaps won't harm PPF, at least that is what I have heard.
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
8,356
7,876
MA, NH
The thing that sucks about at least some touchless washes is the wheel track that you drive your car into scratches your rims, because either the Model 3’s rims stick out too far beyond the tire wall, or the OEM tire walls don’t stick out far enough past the rims, or both.

Some touch less have no tracks. The machine moves around the car.

I would not use a touch less because of strong jets at odd angles gets water where Tesla’s done expect.
 
Only had the Model 3 for a couple months and hand washed it three or four times. The weather is starting to turn though and I just want to get the dust off and any road crud from when it’s been wet out. Do you guys use touch-less automatic washes for those in between times when you don’t need to deep clean it but just want to get the surface clean?

I have Xpel PPF on the full front, but I’m pretty sure I read it was ok to use that with a touch-less wash after its had time to fully dry.... (it’s been weeks now)
i prefer to hand wash don't want to take any chances
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
3,337
2,229
Richland, WA
Well that didn’t help. I’m all over the board again. I don’t have any sealant or wax on the car (at least any stuff that is long term, I have a gloss enhancer that you just mist on and buff off) so I’m not worried about that.

I am worried about scratches and swirls and I thought a touch-less would avoid that, but it sounds like you still CAN get those from them?!

The wheel thing is great to point out, but I believe the ones around me don’t have rails and instead use optical sensors to get you to pull forward or back and I don’t remember (from a couple cars back) anything to center my old car other then fitting in the opening.

I should think that Tesla would do a decent job water proofing important bits of the car and obviously I would have the air off so as not to suck in a bunch of humid air...
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,305
1,264
Encino, CA
If the touchless wash is truly touchless, then the washing process probably won't induce any scratches or swirls. But because touchless washes do not make contact with the paint, they also do not clean nearly as well as contact washes. But it sounds like from your original post you were not too concerned about that.

My question would be, what is the drying process like at the touchless wash? If the drying part is also touchless, for example they use a big air blower, then it is probably ok. But if the drying process involces drying by making contact with a drying towel, then that is where a lot of scratches and swirls are induced. More scratches and swirls are induced by improper drying than by improper washing.

You just want to make sure that high pressure streams of water are not less than 1 foot away from your PPF seams, or else the PPF seam could start to come off.
 
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kbecks13

Active Member
Dec 27, 2017
1,975
2,430
SoCal
Yes i use one, they do a decent job but won't give you a super thorough clean. I typically do one of the cheapest options and avoid any of the "polish" or "wax" options they offer and use it every 1-2 weeks to remove surface dust from the car. Immediately after going through the wash, i will fully dry and clean the car with microfiber towels and some quick detailer spray for any spots that are still a little dirty.
 
Ya, I’m looking for very light washing. This is for when it rains for like 15 minutes and then gets windy and you now have dust clinging to the car.... and you just did a proper wash like four days before. I don’t expect glossy warm glow from these washes, and I probably won’t even go over it with a product for fear that there might still be abrasive material (sand, etc) on some surfaces.
 
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I have been through the car wash a few times, no scratches yet.
 
View attachment 463046 View attachment 463047

I have been through the car wash a few times, no scratches yet.

HOT DAMN! If the Tesla red always looked like that I would have got it in a second instead of the blue!! I saw too many videos and pictures of it just looking flat and not that deep impressive red... so I opted for blue instead (which far too often looks way to dark, but oh well).

edit: you had paint correction done with that, right? What products are you using on the surface? Gloss enhancer or ceramic coat?
 
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After the first week and a few hundred k's under her belt Sparky got a bath for the first time this morning using a touchless automatic wash. Results were better than I'd expected to be honest. Two bug guts still survived the process below the front bumper but no water made it into anywhere it shouldn't be that I can see at least.

It was one that moves around the stationary car, so no track to drive into. I was encouraged by the exotic and more expensive vehicles waiting their turn.
 
HOT DAMN! If the Tesla red always looked like that I would have got it in a second instead of the blue!! I saw too many videos and pictures of it just looking flat and not that deep impressive red... so I opted for blue instead (which far too often looks way to dark, but oh well).

edit: you had paint correction done with that, right? What products are you using on the surface? Gloss enhancer or ceramic coat?

Haha!! I haven’t put anything on it yet. They detailed the car before I picked it up. I had to refuse the first car because of paint defects. This one was spot on, plus I think they spent extra time making sure it was good hence the detail.

Funny, I was set on the blue until they offered the free upgrade then decided red. Blue is cool too, but get what your saying, it looks different under different lighting, still cool though!
 

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