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Things to get for your new Tesla

D.E.

Uncorked
Oct 12, 2016
764
985
Ann Arbor, MI
I’ve had my Tesla S for 4 years now. Here are recommendations for what I’d now do if starting over with a new one.

Front end and hood wrap. This will prevent rock chips. I got my first rock chip on the 2 hour drive home from picking up my Tesla. I had the front wrapped with self healing wrap as soon as I could. Bugs wash off easily but there’s no worry about scrubbing if needed. The wraps is nearly but not completely invisible. Wrapping the leading surfaces is far cheaper than a full car wrap. That first rock chip is the only chip I’ve had in the 4 years I’ve had the car.

Buy an electric pressure washer, a foam cannon, and an electric leaf blower. The electric pressure washer doesn’t develop as much pressure as the gas model but it’s quicker and easier to setup and use. With this setup you’ll be able to clean the car quickly and without rubbing the paint with a sponge or cloth. I use the pressure washer, do a top to bottom rinse paying attention to the seams, the lower panels, wheels, and wheel wells. It’s mainly to pre wet anything that’s on the paint and to remove sand and grit. We live on a dirt road now so sand/mud/grit is quick to accumulate. After a rain, the road is mud. So the first rinse is to get off the obvious stuff and also to rinse out the body seams that tend to gather grit. Next the foam canon makes a thick layer of foam that lifts the dirt from the paint. I was skeptical. But it works. I foam from top to bottom including the wheels. Next I rinse with the pressure washer, then use the blower to sweep off the extra water. Now the car is clean except for stubborn bits. If anything needs more I use a new microfiber towel and remove the spot. I use a large clean waffle weave microfiber towel to remove any tiny drops that the blower leaves. I do pressure wash the wrapped areas but avoid very high pressure on the cut edges. After this the car is clean and spotless. It’s quick, there’s no sponge or wash cloth used on the body panels so no damage from a bit of grit on a cloth. This is as close to a touchless wash as I can do. The car is clean and there’s no paint damage from years of washing. An inexpensive foam cannon is only $15-$20 on Amazon.

Buy a hand sprayer, some waterless car wash spray, and bale of microfiber cloths. The waterless spray will lift dirt and grit. I fold the clot into fourths. Learn to wipe the paint while rolling the microfiber cloth so the clean cloth contacts the paint then is rolled up so dirt isn‘t dragged along the paint. You’ll go through a lot of microfiber cloths. They wash, just don’t use fabric softener. I use this system when not home to remove surface dust and dirt. I carry all this concealed in the rear well. I also carry a bucket and inserts for the bottom of the bucket. Those I cut from plastic light diffusers from Lowes. The diffusers are the white ones with the waffle shaped holes, they’re about 1/2” thick. I cut them so a round piece fits the bottom of the bucket. I actually use 2, one on top of the other. That lets any grit settle to the bottom of the bucket and keeps any wash cloth from picking up grit from the bottom of the bucket. I also carry conventional car wash.

I also carry a spray can of Invisible Glass glass cleaner. It’s good for windows/windshields inside and out as well as all mirrors inside and out.

Buy the plastic fitted floor mats, the kind with the upturned edges and laser fit to the car. They aren’t cheap but they protect the floor especially when getting in the car with wet or muddy shoes. My factory mats are unused, perhaps a waste but my interior is black so those mats would show wear quickly. The mats rinse clean and the upturned edges keep dust and dirt from accumulating at the edges and under the mats.

Of all these suggestions I’d rank the leading surface paint wrap the highest. It protects against paint chips and stubborn hard to remove bug hits. The self heal lets me scrub the bugs as aggressively as I like without worry about damaging the paint on the bumper.

Next is the foam cannon system. You can get an inexpensive foam cannon on Amazon. I had a gasoline powered pressure washer. The electric is much quicker, quieter, and easier to use. It’s plenty to keep a car clean. The yard blower is a tip I picked up watching those car restoration shows. It was in interview with the fellow that cleans those fancy restored cars. He said it was nuts to rub the paint with anything to dry it. He’s right.

The waterless cleaner I use is sold for aircraft use. The windshields of helicopters are made of polycarbonate which is very tough but very easy to scratch. Realclean post flight detailer is well reviewed and works well. It leaves a glossy clean surface.

My floor mats carry the Tesla logo but there are several available. They aren’t quite as fancy as the factory floor mats but they certainly look better now than the factory car mats would. No one has ever looked at the plastic mats under their feet and commented. I’ve had a lot of cars and until this one used the factory supplied carpet mats. No longer. I’ve driven long distance through snow storms, slush, and wet mud on dirt roads. I’ve had frozen road slush an inch thick frozen to the front, thick enough to knock out the car’s radar. The plastic mats are still perfect. And with the bucket system I can get the car showroom clean with just a hose.

So this is what I’d do if I had a new one ordered. Mine remains perfect.
 

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