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How do you keep your Model 3 exterior clean?

Discussion in 'Model 3: Interior & Exterior' started by alcfeoh, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. alcfeoh

    alcfeoh Member

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    I just got back from a road trip with my M3 and spent hours cleaning it up. Sure, it's been through dust storms, icy roads covered in salt, and much more during the trip, yet I find Model 3 very hard to clean.
    Any tips, magical products or videos that would show me how to keep the car clean? Any advice is welcome.
     
  2. Watts_Up

    Watts_Up Active Member

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  3. alcfeoh

    alcfeoh Member

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    I said "clean", not "ugly" :)
     
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  4. tiggerlu

    tiggerlu Member

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    I haven't received my car yet, so to be honest - I've been pretty OCD watching videos, reading up on car detailing etc. I'll share with you what i've learned so far.

    Most expensive option: Get your entire car wrapped in protective film, something like XPEL - they say it lasts up to 10 years and is literally a tough urethane membrane wrapped around your car. It can range between 5-6K USD, and will protect your car from rock chips, UV, acid etc. Makes your car easy to clean because basically dust, iron, impurities cannot penetrate it.

    Next most expensive: Ceramic coating won't do what a film does, but it provides a somewhat resilient polymer that resists scratches, protects against UV, acid (bird droppings), makes your car very shiny and easy to clean with minimal effort due to its hydrophobic properties (beads water). Ceramic coatings range from 1-3k I'd say...depending on detailer / product. Supposed to last 2-5 years depending on type.

    Sealants: Sealants are synthetic products, some new products combine ceramic coating technology as well. The best ones out there are P&S Beadmaker, McGuiar's Ceramic Spray Wax, HydroSilex (a ceramic spray), Opti-Seal, . There are obviously many others, but these are the ones I've picked up. Supposed to last up to a 1 year.

    Waxes: Most waxes are carnauba and therefore an organic product, they provide great shine but limited protection. So you have to clean your car often and re-apply waxes once a month.

    Basically all the stuff above do more or less the same thing to different degrees, they "seal", and protect your paint and clear coat. If what's underneath is dirty, contaminated or contains swirl scratches then it'll seal that in it too.

    So what I've learned is keeping your car super clean, and easy to clean after - depends on getting it washed properly, de-contaminated, and then sealed properly the first time - then the upkeep is easy, because you're essentially just washing dust, dirt whatever from the protection film.

    I recently invested in a bunch of things for my own car:

    • Power washer + MTTC Foam Cannon + Mr.Pink Chemical Guys shampoo
    • Clay bar (Mother's - plan to do it every 6 months )
    • High quality wash mitt ( Rag Company)
    • Good quality microfibers (Rag Company) for wiping / drying
    • Sealant (P+S Beadmaker) as a durable long-lasting sealant
    • Optimum No Rinse ( For weekly maintenance)
    Anyway, you might or might not know all or some of this. So I will leave you with this info.

    For Youtube clips checkout videos by Obsessed Garage or Pan the Organizer - they have good videos on all the basics, products etc...
     
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  5. Watts_Up

    Watts_Up Active Member

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  6. FlyinDelorean

    FlyinDelorean Member

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    I took delivery in August and I take good care of the car for the most part. However, car washes have not been my friend when it comes to doing a thorough job. For whatever reason, I can't bring myself to wrap the car. I feel like that is something I might do years from now. I'm also super paranoid that a sealant or ceramic coating from a detail shop will mess up the paint even worse when it wears out. That is probably an unwarranted concern, though. One huge but obvious recommendation would be to keep the car garaged or car covered, when not in use as much as possible. That is pretty much standard advice for keeping any car in good condition. Yes, it will accumulate dust and dirt, but not rust or corrosion which is far more important. Its hard for me to justify whether I should wrap the car now or just repaint it at some point in the future. I bought the solid black variant and I kinda regret it, because really, the damn thing, any dust at all, does show. But I love the car nonetheless. Tesla states that a touchless car wash should be fine, but let's just say I live on the edge and a normal car wash didn't damage the car.

    Not to mention, I'm kind of paranoid either way about what cleaning products are used on the paint 3rd party. I suppose if it was multicoat I'd be in more danger. It seems a car wash once or twice a month won't kill you, but really, now, I will only do touchless just in case. The possibility of the swirly/scratch/crappy looking not-wet-paint-anymore effect with older car washes is a real concern.

    When in doubt, a good detailer can probably make the car look brand new in a few hours, but it will cost more and not last very long. I'm in a situation where I don't have access to a garden hose, so I'm stuck using the car wash unless I drive the car up to a relative's house. HOWEVER, I can not tell you how much better it is simply to wash your own car than to have a car wash do it. Its just for whatever reason.. better. Half of it is probably psychological, but its also your car and you know how you want it to look. Also, people working on the exterior at a car wash tend to miss a lot just to get you out of there. And they will rarely dry your car, which actually is, a BIG DEAL. However, I recently had the car detailed by a professional body shop and it came out immaculate. They did not use any sealant or ceramics on it, though, as far as I can tell. Some rain and its back to square one.

    One of your biggest concerns, and the one you'll notice right away, is picking up scratches on the road, or someone dinging your car when you are parked. Unfortunately, without the ceramics or a paint protection film that were mentioned above I think some minor scratches are going to be inevitable. The latter is best avoided by just parking as far away as humanly possible from every other car in a parking lot, since I've started to gain "enhanced awareness" that people generally drive horribly and whether or not they are even paying attention to what they are doing is somewhat questionable.

    I may look into some paint protection film/coating for myself since this is something I have not been familiar with in the past. Above post was very informative regarding that.
     
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  7. alcfeoh

    alcfeoh Member

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    Thanks for your answers. Very helpful!
     
  8. Dre78

    Dre78 Supporting Member

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    From reading various opinions on the matter on this board, watching various videos, not willing to break the bank, and finally just not giving that much of a fart over the micro scratches and everything, I've resigned to the weekly routine below.

    Items
    • $3.25 Home Depot 5 Gallon Bucket
    • $9.35 48-Ounce Hand Sprayer
    • $10.95 Nitrile Gloves
    • $12.99 Turtle Wax 50834 1-Step Wax & Dry (2 ct)
    • $14.50 Microfiber Chenille Wash Mitts (2 ct... I only use one)
    • $17.99 Kirkland Microfiber Towels (36 ct... I use 12 max, but it's Costco)
    • $40.97 Optimum (NR2010G) No Rinse Wash & Shine (1 Gallon)
    Steps
    1. Mix ONR with 2 gallons water
    2. Fill Hand Sprayer with ONR mixture
    3. Spray car with ONR mixture
    4. Let sit for 5 minutes
    5. Cross-hatch with wash mitt
    6. Spray with Turtle Wax
    7. Dry with microfiber towels
    Steps 5-7 I do in this order: roof and glass, driver side, trunk, passenger side, hood, inside doors, tires and rims.

    First time took over an hour. I'm down to about 45 minutes from mixing in the tub to returning to apartment; actual wash time is only 30 minutes.

    Here's one of the most recent videos I used to help with this method.
     
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  9. Watts_Up

    Watts_Up Active Member

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    Don't you forget something.... (Window Squeegee, Vacuum cleaner,...)and Karsher for the engine bay!

    Window Squeegee .jpg

    VacumCleaner .jpg
    karcherWashers.jpg
     
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  10. EVMeister

    EVMeister Lover of Tesla, driver of I-PACE

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    Engine bay?
     
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  11. Watts_Up

    Watts_Up Active Member

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    From video at 3:12: This is a rinse wash from optimum polymer technologies. It's called optimum no rinse wash and shine

    so the polymers that are in here encapsulate the dirt and lift them off the surface they put them on an ionic cloud.
     
  12. AutoElegance

    AutoElegance Former Vendor

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    CLEAR BRA CLEAR BRA CLEAR BRA. XPEL Paint Protection Film can do even better for you without this look. Search your area for a local Paint Protection Film Installer and they will be able to wrap the front end of your car to protect it from and sand or rock chips as well as UV damage to your paint. This film can be installed on almost any part of your car so you can pick what you want covered!

    For cleaning and also easier maintenance when self washing the car going forward, We'd suggest a ceramic coating. Many times the same shop can do both of these things. At least we can!
     
  13. sroh

    sroh Member

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    I'll add my $0.02.

    1. One bucket with multiple (I use 4) dense microfiber towels and ONR wash solution (1 ounce to 2 gallons water).
    2. I don't do this, but I like @Dre78's hand sprayer idea.
    3. Wash panels with MF towels folded into 1/4ths, turning to new unused sides with each panel.
    4. After washing two panels, spray on quick detailer/drying aid and dry with thick MF drying towel.
    5. Once you've used all available sides, that MF towel is done for the session. Do not rinse in between (don't introduce dirt into the wash solution).

    Suggestions:
    Load up on good microfiber towels. Rag Company makes good thick towels. I also bought some cheap ones from Costco which are great for door jambs and wheels.
    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting a Griot's Garage PFM drying towel. No need to wipe. Just lightly drag the towel across the panel and it will dry.

    Ceramic coating versus sealant and/or wax is a personal decision. If you want to minimize maintenance, ceramic is the way to go. Either have it applied professionally, or DIY. There are lots of good products out there now. Many prefer synthetic sealants and/or carnauba wax. I apply sealant twice per year and carnauba wax on top every three months.
     
  14. Glamisduner

    Glamisduner Active Member

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    Just wash it, clear bra on the front to protect from rock chips and bugs, self ceramic coat the car for under $100 and a day of your time.
    I like foam cannon attached to my pressure washer with a PH neutral soap.

    I got some ONR, but I think I'm going to delegate it to touch up, and bird bombs. I would not hesitate to use it if I could not wash outside though.

    Griot's Garage PFM drying towel is amazing, I'm thinking about purchasing a second one so I don't have to wash it so often and could then wash the two together. The costco microfibers are good for door jambs and windows, interior. Maybe I should buy some rag company ones. I bought their glass specific towels, but I'm not that impressed, the costco towels seem to work just as well for me, I used the 2-3 towel method, keep a wet one for cleaning and a second and even a 3rd to mop it up.

    Just did my dash wand door panels with 303 UV protectant, looks great so far, but will need time to evaluate.
     
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  15. Randy Spencer

    Randy Spencer Active Member

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    My fave is the silicon gel water blade for drying. It takes the water off all the horizontal surfaces, almost completely. I got one in a Costco car care kit, but I cannot find it now on their site. I recently started trying and like the leaf blower to get the water off the sides. I then take those Costo (sense a theme?) microfibers and a bottle of Turtle Wax Spray and Dry and go around the car. Then I open the hood and trunk and wipe them down with the now wet cloth which I wring out, and then open the doors and get the painted surfaces behind them.

    In the Winter I don't use the cloth on the bottom third of the car so I don't have to worry about contaminating the cloth with road dirt. In the Spring I use a cleaning spray like the No Rinse above to get the winter crud off.

    90% of my cleaning is at the $6 no-touch at my grocery store at the end of every road trip. I have the paint treated with ceramic Opti-Coat and Glassparency on all glass surfaces.

    -Randy
     
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  16. Glamisduner

    Glamisduner Active Member

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    Is there a glass ceramic coat that will help with window pits. I was cleaning my glass over the weekend and found there is probably not a square inch of my windshield not pitted (luckily they are not visible from driving position), but it would be nice if there was something that could fill/ help protect a little.
     
  17. gcbryan

    gcbryan New Member

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    I suggest you check out "zainostore.com". I have been using Zaino products since 2003 for my Infiniti G35, Porsche 911 Cabriolet, and now my Tesla M3 Performance car. I was introduced to the products by a neighbor, who used them to prep his Ferrari for car shows.
     
  18. hmerrill3

    hmerrill3 Texas Rail Jail Survivor

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    Watching... Ceramic coated and still pitted.
     
  19. Randy Spencer

    Randy Spencer Active Member

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    I have Glassparency on my windshield and was looking into that issue. They say there is a maintenance step that must be applied to remain in warranty. I called the installer and he said he was about to call me because it's time to do the annual maintenance, so he is sending me a packet of the stuff. Not sure what it is, but perhaps it fills the pits and makes the glass smooth as, well.... a baby's bottom?

    -Randy
     
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  20. dfwatt

    dfwatt Active Member

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    I feel your pain - same here! I suspect there is a kinetic energy/mass threshold beyond which the ceramic coating is penetrated (by smaller rocks, etc) and the coating in a sense fails - although you can't say this is a failure per se. I'd guess that it's just that its modest layer of protection, Mohs hardness value aside (and that's another whole passel of issues where one might see a gap between advertising and fact), can't be expected to deal with impacts beyond a certain kinetic value. I suspect that it may limit and prevent micro-abrasion from sand particles, but even very small rocks at highway speeds may simply overwhelm that less than one micron layer of material. PPF may be required to protect from those smaller rocks - of course you can't put that on windshields!
     

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