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Model 3 surface care for the layman

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by ChooseGreen, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    I have read a LOT in various parts of this forum on exterior wraps, paint correction, proper washing methods, etc. I'm looking for some perspective on how to reasonably care for a base Model 3 (stock paint, likely cloth seats).

    What do I mean by reasonably? I currently drive a 16 year old car and have two kids which means that I never wash the exterior of my car (the rain does that for me) and I only clean the interior of my car when the children's snack spillage reaches a critical level. I really don't care if my car appears dirty all of the time, I just want to make sure that if I ever decide to sell the car, I can get it professionally detailed and I won't lose a lot of money on the vehicle sale due to the way the surfaces were maintained. I also want to make sure that if I decide to drive it for 20 years, I am not regretting missing minor maintenance in the early years. I have also heard musings that due to California regulations, the Tesla paint isn't as tough as other manufacturers, though I'm not sure if this is true or not.

    I live in an icy/salty area of Canada and have historically heard that vehicles that went through car washes early in their life rust faster later in their life. I have also heard that it is a thing of the past. Any thoughts on this within the context of the Model 3 which may have both steel and aluminum components exposed to the elements? Any types/styles/brands of car washes to seek out or avoid? Any annual/bi-annual/every n-years rust proofing recommended?

    I currently use the fuzzy factory car floor mats. Is spending the extra money on the rubber floor and trunk/frunk mats really worth it when the factory ones can be hosed and vacuumed anyway?

    I also read I believe in the Model S user's manual something about not using products like Rain-X or Rain-X washer fluid. I use it on our current vehicle and quite like it, but don't want to continue doing it if it is going to slowly eat away at something (protective coatings, seals, etc.).

    Again, keep in mind that the appearance of the car is not what I'm getting at here, I'm talking about longevity and not significantly affecting resale value.

    Thanks for your perspective!
     
    • Like x 2
  2. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    Keeping any car clean will help prolong the life of the paint and clear coat. This is especially true in areas with tough winters and lots of salt. If you don't want to wash it yourself, having it professionally washed and wax once a year (or more often depending on whether you park outside, etc.) would be a good idea. The idea is that you want enough protection to keep the bad stuff away from the actual paint. If you run it through a car wash going to a touchless one will help avoid accidental scratches. If you do get a scratch, filling it will help avoid rust. These are just basic car care practices that will help with any car.

    I lived in a climate like yours I would absolutely invest in some Weathertech or similar rubber mats. Grimy gray snow slush is gross.

    Don't see anything in my manual about Rain-X. But might have missed it.

    I know it's tough with kids (I only have one and cannot imagine how crazy I would be with two), but I find that washing my car offers a nice cathartic break. If you use Optimum No Rinse you can do the whole thing in 30 minutes. The car looks great and the process is rather satisfying (to me, at least).
     
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  3. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Active Member

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    I live in Chicago. Salt City in the winter.

    I participated in a deal with a local car wash that I can have unlimited washes in a month for $25. I've participated in this deal for the past 3 years. My wrap hasn't peeled, shifted, chipped or anything. Any my paint beneath is still factory perfect.

    I set my budget to get my MS wrapped in the same color that I purchased it with (white). That makes the wrap cheaper for some reason. My car does not looked wrapped at all. When the M3 gets delivered I'm selling/trading in my MS and I will have the wrap taken off. The paint and finish will be perfect.

    Then I will immediately wrap my M3.
     
  4. Tes LA

    Tes LA

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    More than likely I'll buy a stock white 3 and wrap it in silver or gunmetal carbon fiber. My current car has been having clear coat peeling off for about 2 years now just due to the California sun. Every time I wash it, it gets worse so at this point I stopped washing my car. I don't really care though because all that car needs to do is last for a couple more years. I had a tree fall on it about 4 years ago too. I hope that doesn't happen to my Tesla..
     
  5. Fresh Start Detail

    Fresh Start Detail Local Vendor - Northwest

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    #5 Fresh Start Detail, Jun 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
    I love it when clients are honest about their expectations and future behavior! ChooseGreen you know your lifestyle, your commitments, and your goals, and you're not kidding yourself that with this next new car "Things are going to be totally different; no eating in the cars kids, and Dad is going to lovingly wash my new car every week rain or shine!" Yeah right, that never happens. Kudos to you!

    Full disclosure, we are an authorized Opti-Coat Pro installer because we love the results and longevity of that product compared to everything else we've ever tested. We have also been doing some in-shop research on whether to also install cQuartz Finest but currently we do not install CQF. Neither do we install any kind of Paint Protection Film (PPF).

    Now to your questions... yes I would strongly suggest buying plastic/rubber floor mats like Weathertech, period. That's really a no-brainer.
    Second, get your interior fabric seats and carpets professionally treated with a stain protector like Opti-Guard Fabric or something with a similar reputation. This won't keep your seats/carpets from getting dirty but it is a level of protection that helps the stains come out when you decide to have your car interior steam-extraction cleaned.

    Lastly, you are a prime candidate for either a full vehicle wrap of PPF (think Xpel) and/or a ceramic coating (like Opti-Coat Pro PLUS or CQuartz Finest) on your exterior surfaces.

    PPF will protect your paint against rock chips and scratches, but at the cost of slightly reduced shine and a slight "orange peel" look. Now most owners of PPF film would argue that with the highest quality PPF it will shine as good as the factory finish, to this I say "well if you think so".
    The key is to not cheap out, go with the best you can get in your area. I'm sure there is an Xpel installer near you in Ontario. Whatever you do, DO NOT go with a PPF that does not wrap the edges!!! I cannot stress this enough; you are seriously wasting your money if you do this. There is NO point in protecting some of your vehicle's exterior. Don't fall for the argument that you just need to protect the most vulnerable areas (front bumper, half the hood, mirrors, etc). We see it almost every single day and it's always a forehead slapper.

    A ceramic coating like OCP+ or CQF can be applied directly to your paint, (OCP+ is approved to go on top of your Xpel film too just for another layer of protection, I'm not sure about CQF). Ceramic coatings do an outstanding job of protecting against corrosive elements like road salt, bird bombs, hard water deposits, the sun's UV rays, and tree sap. In the long run, it are these things that do the most damage to any paint. Then again, PPF protects against all these things too.
    The advantage of a ceramic coating over PPF film is a much lower price tag, and you retain the factory gloss (or even better if you have your installer perform paint correction prior to installation). The drawback is that ceramic coatings do not protect against scratches or rock chips. These coatings are warranted for 2-5 years but you must do an annual decontamination to maintain this warranty. Ultimately the warranty isn't where the product value lies though so don't make your decision based on a warranty alone. Realistically you can expect OCP+ to last at least 5 years with the appearance regimen you've described, ie none, but you could easily push that to several more years with the annual decontamination.

    Another option is to just take the reduction in resale value from the exterior damage, this costs nothing up front and takes no time whatsoever.

    Yet another option is just driving the sh!t outta your car then have the damaged panels repainted when you sell it. Depending on miles driven and whether they sand the roads in winter where you live and if you have to park under trees this is certainly a viable alternative, especially if you're keeping it 20 years like you mention.

    But alas you've stated that you don't care what the car looks like while you own it and even driving through a car wash once a month is beyond what you're willing to do so my final vote is for either PPF or repaint. PPF will cost a bit more (you'll have to pay to uninstall it too don't forget, and that aint cheap) but I think that is the best course of action for you.
    You will get quite a bit of ROI from monthly drives through a car wash and an annual detailing though, that really doesn't take hardly any time (7 minutes every month and one day a year).
     
    • Informative x 1
  6. Jason Bourne

    Jason Bourne Member

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    What type of wrap do you have on your Model S? I presume you intend to get the same type on your Model ≡? From the same installer also?
     
  7. Borgholio

    Borgholio Member

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    Your clearcoat problem is an issue with the paint, not the environment. Properly maintained, clearcoat should last a lot longer than 2 years.
     
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  8. Tes LA

    Tes LA

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    I'm not sure if you're being acerbic. I never said the car was two years old. It's actually 10 years old. The repainted areas from the tree impact are not the areas flaking. The valley sun is a factor in combination with my particular car (scion). I've heard it from people at bodyshops around here. There are plenty of people in my area of California with the same problem. Of course that is an issue with clear coat, in combination with other elements.
    Thanks for your input though.
     
  9. Borgholio

    Borgholio Member

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    Whoops...my apologies. I misread your post. 8 years before it starts to flake is a bit more reasonable than just 2 years. If it was only 2 years, I'd be quite upset by it.
     
  10. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Active Member

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    Yes, I plan on getting my M3 wrapped the same day of delivery. I had ChicagoExoticWraps (Chicago Exotic Wraps 630 854 2852) wrap my current MS, however there are now dozens of companies that wrap in the Chicagoland area now. I will probably use a reputable company closer to my house this time. These folks are 57 miles away from me.
     
  11. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Active Member

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    I can't figure out why anyone would do anything but wrap their car. It lasts forever if you get someone that knows what they are doing.
     
  12. Tiberius

    Tiberius Member

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    Why have the wrap taken off? Isn't that more expensive than getting it done in the first place?
     
  13. garsh

    garsh Re Member

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    Then you're dealing with stone chips in your wrap instead of chips in the paint. And it costs money. Given the prices for wrapping, I'd rather just get the car repainted if I actually end up holding onto it for that long - the price will be in the same ballpark.
     
  14. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Active Member

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    No way. My wrap was only $1700. Its all white carbon fiber. I don't have chips in my wrap. There is no way in the world you can get a professional OEM ( non orange peel ) paint job for $1700 on an S.

    When I take my warp off....I will have a perfect factory paint job. No chips, No runs, No errors.
     
  15. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Active Member

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    I'm going to take the wrap off myself. I've been told by tesla that they would like the original paint job on a trade in.
     
  16. ChooseGreen

    ChooseGreen Member

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    Your mentioning that got me curious. I just looked it up again and found this on Page 125 of the Model S manual: "Do not use formulated washer fluids that contain water repellent or bug wash. These fluids can cause streaking, smearing, and squeaking or other noises." Perhaps it has nothing to do with finish and more a recommendation for a cleaner windshield.

    @Fresh Start Detail, thanks for your detailed response. One question I had was regarding the above. Is the reason for this for comfort (less salt on pants), easier cleaning or that the interior gets to the point where a professional detailer can't make it sufficiently nice again?

    It sounds as though the best strategy for me would be to not treat it up front (already financially stretching for the initial outlay) and touch up here and there should something happen (large rocks, door dings, etc.) or should I decide to sell it. Interesting about an annual detailing and monthly car wash. So long as the car wash isn't going to lead to early rusting. I'd imagine my kids would love the car wash experience anyway :)
     
  17. Tiberius

    Tiberius Member

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    Oh.... Why trade it in as opposed to reselling it? Typically you get more money that way.
     
  18. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    #18 mspohr, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
    It's just a reasonably priced car, not a museum piece. Just treat it like your current car and it will be fine. Longevity has nothing to do with surface care. If you want to resell in just a few years, it will cost you dearly like any car regardless of the surface care (and you'll never recoup the cost of a wrap). After 15 years you can get it repainted if you want.
     
  19. Garlan Garner

    Garlan Garner Active Member

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    Well Ladies and Gentlemen. I say......

    Do whatever you want, however for me....wrapping is great and the cheapest solution....expeicially if you want to do things like changing the color of your vehicle from time to time.....and/or getting a logo for a business.

    re-painting ( professional looking ) is so expensive.
     
  20. S3XY

    S3XY Member

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    For my BMW they say not to use rainex because it gums up the level sensor. I can tell you that it's true because when I first leased the car the sensor wasn't working because the previous lessee used it.
     

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