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New Owners - Neutral is different for Car Washes!

Karl Boe....

New Member
Mar 29, 2018
3
7
Portland, Oregon
My wife and I independently took the new Model 3 to the Car Wash without knowing that the method for shifting into Neutral has changed from the Model S.

I pulled up and drove into the lanes, and then couldn't figure out how to get into Neutral. I completely clogged up the car wash lane and they had to move cars out of the way so I could back up.

As I left, I searched for how to switch into Neutral and found the answer on this forum. Like I said, the same thing happened to my wife, so I'm guessing it may happen to many new Model 3 owners.

On the S, you push all the way down (basically, 2 clicks) to get into drive, and then softly push it back up one click to go into Neutral. That does not work on the Model 3!

On the 3, you push down (1 full click) to get into drive, and then softly raise the stick WITHOUT clicking for a few seconds and it will shift into Neutral.

I hope this helps somebody. I felt very foolish not knowing how to shift my car into Neutral!

Actually, I've noticed that the up (with no click) on the 3 goes to neutral immediately. You need to hold for a second or so in order for it to stay there.
 

herbvdh

Member
Jan 31, 2010
207
2
I took my vehicle to a brushless carwash when it came out it stopped and they decided to drive it out to dry it. They heard no sound decided
to push it out and almost launched my car into a highway....
 
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daniel

Active Member
May 7, 2009
4,866
3,678
Kihei, HI
I took my vehicle to a brushless carwash when it came out it stopped and they decided to drive it out to dry it. They heard no sound decided
to push it out and almost launched my car into a highway....

It's because of stuff like that that nobody drives my car but me, or the Tesla ranger if he needs to drive it to check something out.
 

Roadster53

New Member
Sep 23, 2017
1
0
San Diego, CA
My wife and I independently took the new Model 3 to the Car Wash without knowing that the method for shifting into Neutral has changed from the Model S.

Thanks Ted I had the same problem (we wound up getting thru the car wash by leaving in D and keeping feet off the pedals) and your post will definitely help in the future.

The same car wash essentially tears the side mirrors off the Roadster, so that they dangle as you exit the car wash. Luckily found in just a few seconds that pulling the mirrors horizontally allows them to be re-seated.
 

Yedsla

Member
Oct 19, 2016
24
31
California
This happen to me yesterday....the new firmware changed the way Neutral was engaged and I don't remember reading about it on the upgrade notes (maybe was not there...bad Tesla). Luckily the car wash employee was aware of the issue with model 3s and after a few seconds (that must have felt like minutes to those behind me) trying to tell me how to do it and me wrongly insisting that "slightly holding the stick up for 2 seconds" is not the way to engage Neutral, I let him do and to my surprise the car did it!.
 
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cellogig

Model X..Model 3
Feb 14, 2018
310
298
Near the BP oil spill
Do those automatic car washes do a decent job without damaging the car? I'm lazy, but I use the coin-operated wash where I park the car in a stall, feed the machine some quarters, then use the spray wand and the brush.

I took the Roadster to a tow-through car wash once, but it's so low to the ground they would not accept it. Once I took it to a place where some kids were washing cars to raise money for something. They loved the car and did a very nice job. If there was a hand-washing place where someone who cares about your car washed it by hand I'd go there.

Yes, it seems only the kids really embrace the Tesla. My twins get many comments from their friends. Hey can you drive your dads Tesla over or Hey your fathers tesla is lit or hot
 

jackbowers

Jack Bowers
Aug 23, 2009
275
447
Yeah. Or allow users to create their own modes like programming a macro on a smart remote.

Car wash mode would be car in neutral, windows rolled up, door unlocked, stereo blasting “Tiny Bubbles”, etc.

Great idea! Don't forget automatic wipers off, walk away door locks off and screen in cleaning mode!

Could also include "Working at the Car Wash" for the playlist.
 
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Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,287
6,830
Canyon Lake,CA
Car washes soon adapt to new things. They began to put a piece of tape on cars with rear window wipers to keep them from being torn off etc.

The wash I go to simply has one of their guys sit in the seat while it goes through the tunnel. Simple solution.

White and silver cars seem to not show those micro scratches from washing. Black seems to be the worst to keep scratch free, even when hand washing.
 

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,403
3,355
Alameda, CA
I finally took my Model 3 thru a touchless tunnel and thought I knew what I was doing. Neutral, easy, I have done it many times. But the second the roller started pushing the car, the brake re-engaged. Not sure what the point of tow mode is if, when you open the door to get out to push the car, it locks itself up again. The assumption is that there will always be someone else to push you into the supercharger stall?

Finally did as I have only seen on this site once, it was in this thread (I re-read all the other car wash threads):

On my MS, I use a car wash where you stay in the car and ride through the car wash. I simply leave it in D and let the rollers push the car through. It's slow enough it is just like very slow coasting. At the end of the line when the green light comes on, I step on the accelerator and drive on out.

It does drive the parking sensors nuts, though. :cool:

No one else had mentioned it so I had missed it, but it's true: Turn off creep put the car in drive and let the wash pull you thru. You do have to stay inside as the doors will not open when in Drive. But I had tried sitting in it in neutral and the car flipped when the roller touched it.

-Randy
 

Nathanael

Member
May 10, 2018
55
81
Toronto
Not going to lie, all car washes scare me when washing my model 3. Even manual car wash locations.

I went to a manual power wash, and the hose always had extremely high pressure. When it hit things like the window cracks, (and they are everywhere on an M3) I got scared as the pressure was so high it pushed in the foam and could see water drip down into the windows. Also, was very worried about the side cameras as well.

As inconvenient as it is, I think ill just stick to the old sponge and bucket.
 

Snow Drift

[Off-Road Assist] Activated
Feb 10, 2016
1,969
1,497
Long Island
Car washes are a necessary evil, at least for me. I'm not cleaning my car in 20 degree weather :)
But I have had no problem with Tow mode,(other than the 1 time it refused to work) I just have to pull it up into the wash lane for them rather than letting the wash guys do it. Such problems:rolleyes:
Can you explain exactly how you got the car to stay free rolling after engaging Tow Mode? I was inside the car, turned it on “blue,” and after 20 seconds it deactivated.
 

Snow Drift

[Off-Road Assist] Activated
Feb 10, 2016
1,969
1,497
Long Island
I say again, just turn off creep and put it in drive. It won't go anywhere, but it will allow you to be towed thru the wash.

-Randy
I never use creep. I realize that works, but let's be honest, if you make a mistake and touch the accelerator...you're in trouble.

I have a back and forth with a rep at Tesla regarding this convo and considering we are all car-guys, or at least very interest in the car, and we have all these questions, that means the general public is doomed.

I don't know why Tesla made this so complicated. Owners are frustrated, car wash attendants are upset and I'm sure tow truck drivers are going to mess up the car since they won't know to enable a special mode.

How to fix this: Make the car like everything else...in Neutral, the car will free roll, and NOT apply the parking brake. Done. Fixed. Everyone is happy.
 

eoinb

New Member
May 27, 2019
4
1
Piedmont, CA
My wife and I independently took the new Model 3 to the Car Wash without knowing that the method for shifting into Neutral has changed from the Model S.

I pulled up and drove into the lanes, and then couldn't figure out how to get into Neutral. I completely clogged up the car wash lane and they had to move cars out of the way so I could back up.

As I left, I searched for how to switch into Neutral and found the answer on this forum. Like I said, the same thing happened to my wife, so I'm guessing it may happen to many new Model 3 owners.

On the S, you push all the way down (basically, 2 clicks) to get into drive, and then softly push it back up one click to go into Neutral. That does not work on the Model 3!

On the 3, you push down (1 full click) to get into drive, and then softly raise the stick WITHOUT clicking for a few seconds and it will shift into Neutral.

I hope this helps somebody. I felt very foolish not knowing how to shift my car into Neutral!

Thanks a lot. This stopped me looking totally foolish (after a bit of fumbling).
 

vickh

Active Member
Dec 16, 2018
3,107
485
az
I say again, just turn off creep and put it in drive. It won't go anywhere, but it will allow you to be towed thru the wash.

-Randy

so ignore the N direction, do we have to push brake?

OT but anyone know good brushless wash in N. PHX area?
 

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,403
3,355
Alameda, CA
It has been 100 new versions of the software since the last time I was at one, but assuming the car still behaves the same I had GREAT difficulty following the directions to get it into N.

Car washes that pull you thru are built on level ground so your car ONLY moves forward with the tug, no brakes required.
 

daniel

Active Member
May 7, 2009
4,866
3,678
Kihei, HI
I went to a car wash and had to pull up the owner's manual on the screen to figure out how to put it into neutral. Once I found it in the manual it was easy to do. But since then I've forgotten how.
 

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