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Laziness is winning, about to go to touchless automatic wash

Anyone who has has this happen know what equipment the wash was using? I couldn’t get a clear look from the google photos of that Richland Elephant Wash. Most car washes get their chemicals from their equipment distributor. May be able to narrow it down. The most common touchless wash equipment are made by PDQ, second is WashWorld. I own a touchless with PDQ equipment that I am replacing with Petit (tangent I know, sorry) the previous owners had the PDQ distributor deliver their chemicals (Lustra chemicals which I am also changing).
 

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Anyone who has has this happen know what equipment the wash was using? I couldn’t get a clear look from the google photos of that Richland Elephant Wash. Most car washes get their chemicals from their equipment distributor. May be able to narrow it down. The most common touchless wash equipment are made by PDQ, second is WashWorld. I own a touchless with PDQ equipment that I am replacing with Petit (tangent I know, sorry) the previous owners had the PDQ distributor deliver their chemicals (Lustra chemicals which I am also changing).
I’ve found that the touchless wash near me uses Lustra chemicals. I tried contacting them to confirm specifically which ones but they haven’t responded.
 

thesmokingman

Active Member
Jun 21, 2021
2,036
4,155
Socal
I had the rainbow effect even after hand washing. WD40 made it look new again. Now if I could just find a good product to get the bugs and tar off. Someone recommended the Pink Stuff but I think that's abrasive and I'm a little concerned about scratches using it.
Try Chemical Guys Mr. Pink soap it's ph balanced and made to be gentle on paint and not damage trim, etc. I used it to prep my car before paint correction and then ceramic coating. It did not react with the trim. I ceramic coated the trim too btw.
 
Anyone who has has this happen know what equipment the wash was using? I couldn’t get a clear look from the google photos of that Richland Elephant Wash. Most car washes get their chemicals from their equipment distributor. May be able to narrow it down. The most common touchless wash equipment are made by PDQ, second is WashWorld. I own a touchless with PDQ equipment that I am replacing with Petit (tangent I know, sorry) the previous owners had the PDQ distributor deliver their chemicals (Lustra chemicals which I am also changing).
I don’t happen to know. I thought about trying to contact the owner and chat with them about it… polity see if they would cover the cost of repair and also get them to post a warning since the only warning I saw was for no liability for cars over 7 years old or something…

There are a decent number of Tesla’s in my area and it could save the owner a lot of hassle with a simple warning for Tesla owners… but it looked really hard to figure out who owned it and the most I could come up with was he wasn’t at all local so I just gave up.

I highly suggest you post a warning just to cover your butt. Then if you want to be super awesome maybe speak to suppliers and see if you can source pH neutral chemicals… at least close to neutral when at the intended dilution ratio. Looking at those chemicals they all seem pretty extremely harsh. Do you typically use the same chemicals in the self wash bays as the automatic and at the same dilutions? If so, I might return and bottle a sample of the different solutions and test what the “working pH” is (the actual pH of the solution hitting the car, not the concentrated chemical which is what the SDS lists.)

Then I’ll ask my mobile tech if I can keep the damaged trim and see if I can identify which product seems to damage it… I suspect it’s the presoak or a wash solution though…

If you could put together a “gentle” wash program without incurring much cost but with a warning that it’s extra gentle on metal trims, ceramic coating, etc but may not clean heavily soiled vehicles… you might always get all your local Tesla crowd! Honestly when I hit the wash I just needed to get rid of some light dust and day to day dirt that built up over about three weeks from the previous hand wash. I often just want that weekly quick 5 minute “touch up” to get dust/light dirt from the wind off the vehicle and whatever gloss enhances and crap you guys use… assuming those don’t damage the trim.
 
I don’t happen to know. I thought about trying to contact the owner and chat with them about it… polity see if they would cover the cost of repair and also get them to post a warning since the only warning I saw was for no liability for cars over 7 years old or something…

There are a decent number of Tesla’s in my area and it could save the owner a lot of hassle with a simple warning for Tesla owners… but it looked really hard to figure out who owned it and the most I could come up with was he wasn’t at all local so I just gave up.

I highly suggest you post a warning just to cover your butt. Then if you want to be super awesome maybe speak to suppliers and see if you can source pH neutral chemicals… at least close to neutral when at the intended dilution ratio. Looking at those chemicals they all seem pretty extremely harsh. Do you typically use the same chemicals in the self wash bays as the automatic and at the same dilutions? If so, I might return and bottle a sample of the different solutions and test what the “working pH” is (the actual pH of the solution hitting the car, not the concentrated chemical which is what the SDS lists.)

Then I’ll ask my mobile tech if I can keep the damaged trim and see if I can identify which product seems to damage it… I suspect it’s the presoak or a wash solution though…

If you could put together a “gentle” wash program without incurring much cost but with a warning that it’s extra gentle on metal trims, ceramic coating, etc but may not clean heavily soiled vehicles… you might always get all your local Tesla crowd! Honestly when I hit the wash I just needed to get rid of some light dust and day to day dirt that built up over about three weeks from the previous hand wash. I often just want that weekly quick 5 minute “touch up” to get dust/light dirt from the wind off the vehicle and whatever gloss enhances and crap you guys use… assuming those don’t damage the trim.
For a touchless car wash, the solutions need to be acidic/basic to essentially dissolve road grease and bugs since there isn’t a mechanical washing factor like a sponge or brush. I do not believe there is any chemical that is pH neutral that will have this desired effect In the short amount of time you are in a touchless wash.

Also, the manual warns you about what might happen at an automatic touchless car wash and you want the car wash owner to fix your car and warn other people? The hot coffee is hot.
 
Yep, touchless… pictures were literally 30 seconds after pulling out. “Elephant Car Wash” in Richland, WA. I’ll probably email them and see if they’ll cover this if Tesla won’t… or at least get the SDS for the chemicals they use…
Good to know - Thank you! I used to take my Volvo XC 90 through their wash. Had a good deal, $19 for unlimited washes per month. Glad I didn't migrate that plan over to my new Model Y. I heard of others having issues with the trim. I saw one up front in the parking lot with this and was wondering why it had discolored. I hear that the inside seats can discolor if you drop hand sanitizer on them and don't wipe them clean. I keep baby wipes inside just for this reason.

As for car washing, I have a foam cannon and a low powered electric pressure washer. I am going to foam, and spray and use fresh micro towels as a wash cloth where needed. My car is white so it shouldn't show any scratches.
 
My car is dirty, it’s crazy hot out right now, I don’t want to deal with washing it today and didn’t last week it… laziness is winning and I’m thinking of hitting an automatic touchless wash. In addition I have no winter solution that I like (I’m not a fan of “waterless” in the garage when it’s still ~30 degrees in the garage). I think I have my black trim ceramic coated… I kinda feel like when I got PPF and ceramic I had my detailer cover all the black trim in ceramic and it’s been about 10 months since then. In addition I think I’ve also personally used a retail ceramic to go over it during a hand washing in the last couple months… but I could be misremembering.

In the case the auto wash does screw up my trim and I now have rainbow stained black trim, is it a part that mobile service can replace and does anyone know the cost of the trim parts and a non-warranty mobile visit?

My closest Tesla store is ~2 hours away, if my laziness costs me a repair it’s so much easier if I can do it via mobile service…

Also, had anyone seen reports of lower door/window trim being affected and door handles, or is it just that top window long trim piece?

Wish me luck…
My discoloration was on the top and bottom
 

jcanoe

Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2020
5,302
5,765
Maryland
I'm curious about these "touchless" carwash places. I've observed a few in action, and they're not really "touchless". There are still 3 huge rotating brushes that contact the car, one on top and two for the sides. I'm not sure what the "brushes" are made of, but from afar they look like strips of soft plastics.
There is one near me, advertised as touch-less but in fact uses strips of cloth that contact the vehicle.

Here is one review: *NOT* a touchless car wash. Although their Google Maps entry says "Touchless Car Wash," you'll see that their sign actually says, "Touch-Less Car Wash." ...I guess that's their way of saying their car wash touches your car less than most. But come on. Spinning towels definitely touch the car. This is way more contact than the typical touchless car wash, which only sprays your car with soap, water, and air.

Here is the owner's reply: We have state of the art equipment that uses soft cloth that doesn't cause damage to your finish. We have staff on premise that could have addressed your concerns about our equipment prior to your car being washed. In the end, I hope your car was clean & shiny.

A true touchless car wash will use only cleaning agents and high pressure jets of water to clean the outside of the vehicle. It is these highly alkaine (pH above 13) cleaning agents that can permanently damage the black out finish on the window trim of the Tesla Model Y vehicle.

Tesla has updated the Tesla Model Y Owner's Manual re washing the Model Y; see page 173: https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/model_y_owners_manual_north_america_en.pdf

If washing in an automatic car wash, use touchless car washes only. These car washes have no parts (brushes, etc.) that touch the surfaces of
Model Y. Some touchless car washes use caustic solutions that, over time, can cause discoloration of decorative exterior trim. Avoid exposure to soaps and chemicals above pH 13. If unsure, check the product label or ask the staff at the car wash. Damage caused by improper washing is not covered by the warranty.

Also, Tesla advises that you do not use hot water, detergents, or highly alkaline or caustic cleaning products, especially those containing hydroxide.
 
I'm curious about these "touchless" carwash places. I've observed a few in action, and they're not really "touchless". There are still 3 huge rotating brushes that contact the car, one on top and two for the sides. I'm not sure what the "brushes" are made of, but from afar they look like strips of soft plastics.
Around me there are a lot that are 100% touchless, just water/chemicals and the high pressure spray.

However, almost every car wash like that will use chemicals with pH outside the range (basically water) that Tesla says is ok to use... most washes use some type of hydroxide and I think that's what absolutely kills the trim.
 
Also to update, trim finally came in and mobile service cam to visit me. The mobile service guy pushed pretty hard first to just try to clean it up to save me the $800 on the trim replacement. He had been told by higher ups at Tesla to use a magic eraser. This appeared to be working and I told him I would finish it some other time and didn't want him to spend an hour doing that on all the trim (he was staying after hours for me and it was already getting dark) so I told him just to focus on the frunk hood latch recall issue which he said would take about 45 minutes.

Sadly when I got back under good light I saw that the magic eraser didn't really do anything. I'll text him and set something up to have the trim replaced. I really think he was honestly just trying to save me money since he said the trim isn't that hard to replace. He also mentioned it takes a long time to get because about the only time Tesla sends it out is when a body shop needs it or when there are delivery issues and it needs replaced.

He also (free of charge) quickly removed the trim around the 3 autopilot cameras on the windshield to let me clean all the cloudily residue off that my tint guys caused! Now the glass in front of those cameras looks crystal clear and it would just be in my head, but the lines on my screen look bolder like the AP computer can see the lanes faster/clearer, lol
 

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