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Touchless carwash is safe right? Flooding! (sorry it's wordy)

Gize

Member
Jul 9, 2019
170
227
Utah
Just got my Model 3 a month ago. Had a touchless car wash waiting in the wings as my leased Infiniti was already going there without issue. I am posting this not to complain and whine that Tesla is horrible and I am a victim that needs retribution. I am posting this to see if this is normal for a Model 3 and if not, hopefully get some helpful advice on what to do.

Before I share my experience I'll say that this is a completely touchless carwash. I bought the monthly pass a month before my Infiniti lease expired to test it before I got my beloved P3D. Tested and all went well, no problems with the Q50s. Even saw another Model 3 going through the wash while I was purchasing my monthly membership which made me feel good and more comfortable with my decision.

Fast forward to taking in the P3D through. I had done my due diligence so I very nervously and awkwardly placed it in neutral in a not so timely manner while not hitting the guide bars, but at last success. I then remembered to turn off auto wipers just before the car wash guy finished manually applying the bug remover spray.

Sweet! Ready to go!

The tracks then take me in. Halfway through no issues; good times! But then thoughts of the charging port opening from the spray are dominating my mind, even though I did so much reading to know better. I had not found one factual proven person that had this happen. So I keep tracking forward, now I am three quarters of the way through and the sprayers go from spraying front to back, to spraying back behind me toward the front.

I start getting small drops of spray shooting in through the driver side door, even on my arm, and some even hitting the steering wheel; the most landing on the front driver side door, front side door panel on top. I am talking, maybe a half ounce total, but spray in several places of small scattered droplets. Front of door panel was enough to smear all over when running my hand over it to clear it.

I then track my way to the dryer blowers that are super strong. My hood starts moving up and down but very minutely (PLEASE DON'T OPEN!!) And then, my rear passenger side door starts throwing a tune like a trombone from the air blowing into it. This almost jolts me out of my chair it was so loud and unexpected. This continues for about four seconds until I move out of the rear blowers range. And then before anything else dramatic can happen, the car jolts forward on the rails, guy dries up the remaining water and I drive off without further issue.

I get home to check out how well the wash did. I walk around the car, it looks pretty darned clean, well done. I then decide to open the rear passenger door to see if I can tell where this humming wind noise might have came from and as I open the door a huge amount of water pours out the bottom of the door. I am talking, it splashed off the ground when hitting it and left a large puddle close to two feet round. Not water on the seats or anywhere else I could tell, appears to have come out the bottom door drain holes.

So my question is; for all of you who have owned much longer than I have. Is this normal? Should I list each issue and ask Tesla to fix it while it's under bumper to bumper warranty? Will they say, the manual clearly states to manually wash ( cop-out). Is there a quick fix I can do? I love my car very much, and did enough research to not be surprised to have something like this happen. But at the same time, it is quite a disappointment to spend this much money and be having issues a Hyundai doesn't have.

Please give me any advice or feedback, I am also open to wise cracks, so have at it :)
 

Wennfred

Active Member
Supporting Member
Apr 4, 2019
3,052
2,125
San Diego
I don’t do car washes because the rail will damage the wheels also it’s pretty bad for the paint job. The last guy that posted had damaged his sensors and caused all types of errors. Just do a search here under Car Wash. I use a pressure washer about 1100 psi and hit it good, rinse and foam canon and rinse again. No leaks yet.


Fred
 

Garlan Garner

Banned
Mar 31, 2016
11,351
7,528
Chicagoland
There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with touchless car washes.

I prefer them over something scratching my paint. The last non-touchless wash I got had a very small rock embedded in the brush fingers and destroyed the paint on my Camry.
The car wash wouldn't take any responsibility.


Rain on the expressway could yield similar results. Pressure washers don't open the charge port.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
13,673
23,267
NC
I'm still trying to figure out these weird ass car washes you guys have with rails and tracks and needing to put the car in neutral and stuff.

The touchless ones here you manually drive into a bay as far forward as to trigger a sensor pad then stop, the wash scans the car to figure out dimensions, then arms with sprayers move around the car washing it... then you manually drive it back out past the dryers blowing on you.

Been using those for like 20 years with 0 issues.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
13,673
23,267
NC
Learn proper wash technique and wash the car yourself.


Some folks time is worth something to em :)

Don't get me wrong, I used to do the long-ass hand wash, polish with multiple coats of Zaino, etc back in the day on my Impala... ain't nobody got time for that anymore and with PPF and ceramic a 5 minute touchless wash gets you 99% of the results of an hour of hand washing
 
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NuttyM3

Member
Jul 26, 2019
188
83
Papillion, NE
I'm still trying to figure out these weird ass car washes you guys have with rails and tracks and needing to put the car in neutral and stuff.

The touchless ones here you manually drive into a bay as far forward as to trigger a sensor pad then stop, the wash scans the car to figure out dimensions, then arms with sprayers move around the car washing it... then you manually drive it back out past the dryers blowing on you.

Been using those for like 20 years with 0 issues.
Same here. I take my 2019 LR AWD Model 3 through a Touchless Car Wash here locally and you just pull up to the center of a concrete pad and the car wash sensors let you know when to stop. The ones with any type of rails that pulls you along would not be advised for Tesal cars. Like Knightshade posted, I just drive into the bay and the Touchless process proceeds around me and does it's thing from washing, rinsing, drying, etc.
 

JBT66

Member
Oct 26, 2018
675
407
Florida
I use those drive through bay places with a pressure washer and foam spray. Works decently well.
Never gotten water into the vehicle. This includes spraying right in the door jam to make sure no soap is left in there.
 
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Ludalicious

Active Member
Feb 22, 2018
1,105
1,433
Vancouver
My hood also lifts on touch less. It's common because they are fairly light hoods. Sounds like you will need the doors adjusted., Also common I had to get my window/door adjusted too. Not a model 3 but same crap different pile. Been using touch less for over 3 years now. Hit it with a clay bar after a few years and it will look like new again, but ya you do get a few swirl marks over the years. Only surface though. Also keep that butt on the seat otherwise you will have major issues.
 

gcmak

Member
Jul 26, 2019
208
180
San Francisco
Regarding the splash of water from your rear passenger door. Can you look at the underside of the door and check the seal and compare with your other rear passenger door? I had the same issue after rain or a home wash. It turned out the seal was not properly installed - it's adhesive in that part of the door - and it'll retain water instead of letting it flow out as it is supposed to. Tesla service confirmed the water retention and seal installation failure, and replaced the seal. It's been golden ever since. Good luck!
 
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Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,299
7,606
Canyon Lake,CA
There are hundreds of different automatic car wash systems, and Tesla is unable to test every one and guarantee against damage, so they just issue a blanket warning to not use them.If you choose to use one, and have problems, it is between you and the wash owner (and insurance company).

If something on your Tesla is not built to spec, then they will be obligated to fix that.

Lots of items on Tesla make some automatic washing systems problematic. Machines moving your car along the rails can do damage, high pressure sprays can get into sensors, automatic windshield washers can be triggered, lifting off your seat can put car into park, lights can see water infiltration etc.

In any car, I rarely relax when being pulled through all those moving parts, with lots of unknown chemicals being sprayed into every nook and cranny of my car. Always feel relief when I get to the other side and not have my rear window wiper ripped off,side mirrors torn off, or hub caps (remember those) pried off.

I have switched to DIY washing. Use a microfiber mitt on a long poll and can soap and scrubb the entire car (except wheels which have their own brush) in about 5 minutes. Then rince with hose and dry. Takes me less time than going to the always busy local car wash, where few can converse with me in English.
 

dmurphy

Active Member
Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
3,924
5,545
New Jersey - Morris County
There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with touchless car washes.

I agree, they are usable, but couple of things ...

#1 - it IS possible to have the charging port open because you are in park. Would be great to have a Car Wash Mode on the car that would keep the charging door locked shut.
#2 - My bigger issue is that the closest touchless wash is about 20 miles away. We have lots of hand washes and such nearby, so I prefer to use that. My favorite is a hand wash, but has a rail drive system to move the car through the tunnel. They are very well experienced with Teslae and do a great job putting the car in Tow Mode and managing it through. Zero issues. Here's a photo from the exit - mine is the white one. :)
 

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