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Getting a car wash

Jeffruby

Member
Mar 10, 2014
112
7
Guys,

Any differences getting a car wash with model s?

Do you have to stay in the car?

Does the water spraying the battery do anything. Likely dumb question. Lol as driving in the rain is worse I'm sure.
 

gg_got_a_tesla

Model S: VIN 65513, Model 3: VIN 1913
Jan 29, 2010
6,533
769
Redwood Shores, CA
No worries except that Tesla recommends not going through automatic washes with those nasty brushes. The paint is softish and can scratch easily that way.

Given the width of the car, you'd have to watch your wheels too in some of those washes that have tracks. There's a trick to putting the car in neutral and getting out (if you need to).

Other than that, no issues with a wash; noone's getting electrocuted and nothing's shorted ;)

Personally, I prefer a complete hand wash and that too a water-free one for environmental reasons (I'm a regular with these guys near where I live).
 

TexasEV

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2013
7,642
8,471
Austin, TX
Guys,

Any differences getting a car wash with model s?

Do you have to stay in the car?

Does the water spraying the battery do anything. Likely dumb question. Lol as driving in the rain is worse I'm sure.
Yes you have to stay in the car, otherwise the car will turn off.
Really best to avoid car washes-- the high pressure spray isn't good for the paint even if it the wash is brushless, and it's been known to leak into the car at the small triangle windows. Tesla manual recommends hand washing the car.
 

JPP

Active Member
Feb 4, 2013
3,056
1,284
SF Bay Area, CA
You might search these forums and also use volkerize.com to search the TM forums. Way too much info on paint protection, car washing techniques, etc, etc.
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,010
4,613
McKinney, TX
Ditto on avoiding the car wash with paint that's as soft as the Tesla's. But, if you do, also remember to turn the moisture sensing wipers off. You don't want them coming on in the car wash and having a wiper arm torn off.
 

Alysashley79

Active Member
Oct 4, 2013
1,198
512
Seattle(ish) WA
I use touch less or my detailer (metropolitan detail) but I have my car fully covered by xpel ultimate (by metro) so I suppose I could go through any car wash and not worry a out it. But I still worry. And thus treat her with kid gloves. I had just part (full frontal and bumper) done with xpel for a bit and saw how soft the paint truly was and went back and had the rest of the car done (but that's a different thread all together)
 

patn

Member
Sep 18, 2013
77
2
Midwest
1) You do not have to stay in the car - you can simply put the car into "tow mode" so that it stays in neutral. Though you will probably have to show the attendant how to do this if you aren't allowed to do it yourself... Might also be a good time to put the console into screen cleaning mode as they will probably wipe it down.

2) I take my car to Waterway Gas & Wash and they do a decent job. You can watch the car run through so you can see what it's exposed to... Seems fine.

3) I recommend you do not let them put Armor All on the tires... it gets flung off onto the plastic on the side of the car and leaves it stained... very hard to remove, although it seems to fade / disappear over time.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,631
22,278
Texas
3) I recommend you do not let them put Armor All on the tires... it gets flung off onto the plastic on the side of the car and leaves it stained... very hard to remove, although it seems to fade / disappear over time.

It's not wonderful for the tires either.
 

Elshout

Member
Feb 3, 2013
123
1
Novato
Yes you have to stay in the car, otherwise the car will turn off.
Really best to avoid car washes-- the high pressure spray isn't good for the paint even if it the wash is brushless, and it's been known to leak into the car at the small triangle windows. Tesla manual recommends hand washing the car.

NO, you do not need to stay in the car, simply leave the key fob in the car. You might consider raising the vehicle assuming you have air suspension as my car scraped on something once. I've had my local car wash (Matt & Jeff's in Novato, CA) wash the car almost every week for well over a year without a single problem.
 

simonog

Member
Jan 9, 2014
433
61
United Kingdom
No worries except that Tesla recommends not going through automatic washes with those nasty brushes. The paint is softish and can scratch easily that way.
In the UK I am used to car paint being a water based 2 pack formulation. After it has been applied, the car is baked in an "oven" (maintained temperature - too low to cook food).

the result is hard paint.

How come Tesla's paint is soft? Anyone able to explain?
 

Jason S

Model S Sig Perf (P85)
Apr 20, 2012
1,590
208
Rocklin, CA
In the UK I am used to car paint being a water based 2 pack formulation. After it has been applied, the car is baked in an "oven" (maintained temperature - too low to cook food).

the result is hard paint.

How come Tesla's paint is soft? Anyone able to explain?
Something about water base rather than oil base is all I remember. Lower environmental impact or toxicity or something. By UK standards it might not be particularly soft, since the method sounds the same.
 

PeterK

Model X & 3 Owner
Jan 17, 2013
1,713
657
Cambridge, MA
If you have a pano roof, suggest putting a small patch of masking tape on each of the roof rack flip-up covers before going through a touch less wash. I had one break off once, now I keep a roll of the 3M blue painting tape in the car.
 

UMD86

Member
Oct 20, 2012
269
1
USA
Guys,

Any differences getting a car wash with model s?

Do you have to stay in the car?

Does the water spraying the battery do anything. Likely dumb question. Lol as driving in the rain is worse I'm sure.

It's fine to go through a car wash. The ONLY ISSUE is if you have the PANA ROOF you will have to put tape over the 4 tabs on top so that the brush do not break them. Before you get out of the car tell the service guy put the car in TOW MODE. That will keep the car in Neutral and you can leave the key in the car.

The paint is fine and can handle the car wash.
 

RAUDIKAL

Member
Jul 16, 2014
6
0
United States
I called my local Tesla service center to find out how to keep car in neutral through car wash and Tesla service advisor told me to only hand wash the car and no under carriage high pressure wash. He said that a pull-in manual wash is fine but advised against using mechanical car washes to prevent swirls in the paint, scuffs on the wheels, and water from entering the under carriage by battery. Has anyone else been told this? In the past with my Model S and other cars, I have used soft cloth car washes which use fresh water or filtered recycled water. I cannot hand wash the car in the Winter months and having it detailed every week would be expensive and time consuming.
I see posts referring to hand washing at car washes and don't know of any in Toledo, Ohio or Ann Arbor, Michigan area. Any recommendations from Tesla owners in this area?
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,631
22,278
Texas
I called my local Tesla service center to find out how to keep car in neutral through car wash and Tesla service advisor told me to only hand wash the car and no under carriage high pressure wash. He said that a pull-in manual wash is fine but advised against using mechanical car washes to prevent swirls in the paint, scuffs on the wheels, and water from entering the under carriage by battery. Has anyone else been told this? In the past with my Model S and other cars, I have used soft cloth car washes which use fresh water or filtered recycled water. I cannot hand wash the car in the Winter months and having it detailed every week would be expensive and time consuming. ?

Always in the past Tesla has said that touchless carwashes are okay. Best protection is to get your car wrapped (Xpel or Suntek). I wouldn't use a brush type carwash on any car.
 

Electric700

Active Member
May 21, 2013
1,697
361
Florida, United States
What about some of the newer automatic car washes that have thick rubber strips attached to the spinners? I think these are less likely to mark the car.

Always in the past Tesla has said that touchless carwashes are okay. Best protection is to get your car wrapped (Xpel or Suntek). I wouldn't use a brush type carwash on any car.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,631
22,278
Texas
What about some of the newer automatic car washes that have thick rubber strips attached to the spinners? I think these are less likely to mark the car.

My opinion is that any brush will mark the paint. I don't use the brush at the quarter carwash either.
 

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