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

Gize

Member
Jul 9, 2019
170
227
Utah
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!

GC, I did check all the seals around the doors but didn't think to check the bottom portion, I'll try and compare the bottoms.

What do you all suggest I do as far as Tesla service?? I am afraid they are going ask me how they are supposed to replicate the issues I described when going through a touchless car wash.
 

NOLADriver

Member
Sep 16, 2019
368
466
New Orelans, LA
Touchless car washes (I ran them and built them for years) achieve the cleaning and the breaking of the dirt bond with high pH level chemicals. Thats how they do their job without a physical manipulation of the dirt. The chemicals are ridiculously harsh, over time, on your paint. That awesome wax job that you put on there, prob diminished a considerable degree with every pass thru a true touchless system. The touch ones are less needed with high pH and different solvents, but they have their own disadvantages. We call them "scratch and spray" units. But in the overall a touch unit, with a strong water flow over the cloth, wont be as bad as people portray. Always pro and con with these things. I could make the same example of a home user who doesnt properly use a two bucket system to wash their car. They are doing the same as the touch wash system.
 

Garlan Garner

Banned
Mar 31, 2016
11,351
7,528
Chicagoland
Touchless car washes (I ran them and built them for years) achieve the cleaning and the breaking of the dirt bond with high pH level chemicals. Thats how they do their job without a physical manipulation of the dirt. The chemicals are ridiculously harsh, over time, on your paint. That awesome wax job that you put on there, prob diminished a considerable degree with every pass thru a true touchless system. The touch ones are less needed with high pH and different solvents, but they have their own disadvantages. We call them "scratch and spray" units. But in the overall a touch unit, with a strong water flow over the cloth, wont be as bad as people portray. Always pro and con with these things. I could make the same example of a home user who doesnt properly use a two bucket system to wash their car. They are doing the same as the touch wash system.

I would rather have the chemicals and have my car waxed quarterly than to have the sand/road grit and small pebbles in the brushes from the previous car hit my paint every time I go through.
 
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Garlan Garner

Banned
Mar 31, 2016
11,351
7,528
Chicagoland
Also, when your window trim and plastics start to change color from black to a weird faded color towards the white spectrum...Remember I said this. The touchless carwash is the reason why. The heavy pH also damages the crap out of plastics.


Good point.

Well everyone....Seems like there is good and bad either way.


So... wash at home. lol
 
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NOLADriver

Member
Sep 16, 2019
368
466
New Orelans, LA
Yup, agreed, Was just trying to answer the guy's question about whats the reasons they are good/bad, from a technical point of view.

I personally visit a conveyor driven touch system. The angel hairs it leaves is not going to be life stopping to me, they buff out, and I am not putting my model 3 in a car show at any point. I can live with it for the time/convenience aspect.
 
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Garlan Garner

Banned
Mar 31, 2016
11,351
7,528
Chicagoland
Yup, agreed, Was just trying to answer the guy's question about whats the reasons they are good/bad, from a technical point of view.

I personally visit a conveyor driven touch system. The angel hairs it leaves is not going to be life stopping to me, they buff out, and I am not putting my model 3 in a car show at any point. I can live with it for the time/convenience aspect.


Good deal...I agree 100%

This is the result of the worst car wash ever. It certainly wasn't touchless. lol

Just kidding.


Just kidding;
 

john5520

Active Member
Mar 3, 2020
1,045
851
Florida
The manual does say for automatic car washes, use a touchless. But at the same time it, cautions against using high pressure water on the cameras and parking sensors. So my takeway? Stay away from automatic car washes! If you see someone else doing it in their Tesla, wish them luck.

However, Tesla can't give you grief about the touchless because it's right there in the manual. IMO, they should remove that, or strongly caution against it.

I've used automatic car washes (all kinds) years ago when I lived in a condo and had little choice. Never again. If you can't wash it yourself, go to one where they wash by hand.

For home dwellers? Come on, you own a relatively expensive car, put aside an hour a week to give it a nice bucket wash. And if you're not into waxing by hand, there are so many spray-on-wash-off products that make easy.
 

gcmak

Member
Jul 26, 2019
208
180
San Francisco
GC, I did check all the seals around the doors but didn't think to check the bottom portion, I'll try and compare the bottoms.

What do you all suggest I do as far as Tesla service?? I am afraid they are going ask me how they are supposed to replicate the issues I described when going through a touchless car wash.
Do you have access to a hose or a gallon container of water? Mine was easy to replicate by using a garden hose or pouring water down the passenger window and opening the door after a minute. If it drains properly then there shouldn't be any water retention.

If the seals are a bit wonky elsewhere, they just need to hose the area down and try the same thing.
It can be extremely subtle but this is what mine looked like underneath the passenger rear door.
xCvAettwp92QbYtBKFpMD6GW9mBFTtVcc-SWblLqWlnyMvOJ2wpTfhhDkkAfvlZdSB4e3JUZe4ZeO2t2U0bl09NUcKEiFb7DeFfwEH0-GqlxtmgJ2Ddy3c6W0qRnlpgAxN_Ali3udLdi_2yJcX-B7nSR8cneQwuB1NWpf0oAfRQ9IHbyhU4RXL8xgEX4wOz-eDn8pzfXpOeCHEm0dzFsEvzBN9MSjYevi4TCY-0rPtP5thPAbP2SqDCo7FXhVIYujtxnKNGzJG4OyM7dHhMFsrbY089z7zu0nBi_rpfrVXB_ZijQ_6xaaEUn862BbBKwL09pMGwmCqD7fHWuZTpJRWKWZWvtT1_UkA6bGYPx8TSqcBxg5vaO4W8zC-UCp7U0Hh2jhd5hTwpxYdQHgsHFWdV1Fk2C3RbFzW8PDLaLdVJ1MINU9wCkmwGA8PDJ0qGd5pC8PFky_kYmuImNBtSufO9Spd5j8bT0qs0minWJkEpTFelEpfnmcAXDlaCrxZhWJtWYxsJ8kaJaI0dVs28lWAPooYyKJKIFBfN4OYWb_HJTpBTuekM1w4cq26xIlJ4crLQ3nMXTbBVhkPH0m1aIppM8CHi2zFhs75WsFzD35E4FEzIstvVb8tU3GENoMTMomJNnFcMDpIb_d2_Joi74PxH2HUFndls3yOrRkFluLre6VwUIH4AWIi61GKFrLQ=w1250-h937-no
 

alstoralset

Man from another place
Nov 23, 2018
129
305
Pacific Northwest
I've had my Nov 2018 M3 through three different touchless car washes multiple times (none with rails), and have never had any sort of water ingress. That said, the car generally is not 100% clean after washing, so the pressure may be lower than the OP's.
 

AdamMacDon

Member
May 8, 2019
729
563
Victoria BC
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.
I've seen these kind of "conveyor style" assembly line car washes at some really old washes in NY and CT. Here in Canada I have never seen one and they are all the modern style where you just drive in and put it in park. I think it just depends on your area.
 

Gize

Member
Jul 9, 2019
170
227
Utah
Touchless car washes (I ran them and built them for years) achieve the cleaning and the breaking of the dirt bond with high pH level chemicals. Thats how they do their job without a physical manipulation of the dirt. The chemicals are ridiculously harsh, over time, on your paint. That awesome wax job that you put on there, prob diminished a considerable degree with every pass thru a true touchless system. The touch ones are less needed with high pH and different solvents, but they have their own disadvantages. We call them "scratch and spray" units. But in the overall a touch unit, with a strong water flow over the cloth, wont be as bad as people portray. Always pro and con with these things. I could make the same example of a home user who doesnt properly use a two bucket system to wash their car. They are doing the same as the touch wash system.

Thanks for the information, I have full wrap PPF and Ceramic coating on top of that, so I am not too concerned about a wax job coming off sooner. But you did make me think I should probably keep up with my 303 cleaner protectant sprary on the rubber window seals etc.. So thanks for that.

For some of you that suggested washing at home. I am lazy! When left to my own self-washing schedule I end up driving a dirty car for three months at a time. Try as I might, that is always ends up happening. (I have learned to know thyself. ) Plus I live in Utah, it's not likely I'll be out hand-washing the rock salt and dirt off my car in 10 degree weather every day four months a year, if am too lazy to do it in beautiful 80 degree weather even once a month. Automatic car washes were made for lazy people like me and people in my climate. Feel free to wash from home yourself, but please don't push your perfectly healthy and respectable self-wash agenda on me! :)

Now that I got that out of the way, let's circle back to my original question, I know the flooding and spray is not normal now thanks to you all's feedback. Should I schedule a Service call to have them go over all the door trim?
 
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Sep 18, 2020
12
3
Indiana
Years ago, I had just bought a Smart Car. The first time I took it to the car wash, it was a disaster. My front hood blew off in the car wash. As did my gas port lid. They had to shut the car wash down, so I could retrieve all of my parts. The car wash would take no responsibility. Neither did my insurance company. Something to think about.

So far, my Tesla model 3, has not had any problems with the car wash. The first time, I had trouble getting my Tesla into neutral. (Embarrassing). I always check my doors and windows, turn off internal air, fold in my mirrors, and turn off Auto windshield wipers. During the winter, I plan on using the carwash more often. My state uses a lot of salt on the roads.
 

Gasaraki

Active Member
Oct 21, 2019
2,190
1,518
Syracuse, NY
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. :)

The car is never in P, it's in N so the charge port doesn't open.
 

Gasaraki

Active Member
Oct 21, 2019
2,190
1,518
Syracuse, NY
But anyway, water should not be coming in to the car. I think your windows need to be adjusted. You could have the service centers do it or do it yourself.

Do you not get horrible wind noise with such loose windows?
 
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SanteeMike

Member
Aug 21, 2018
65
60
El Cajon, Ca
To answer your question - Yes, take it by a service center and ask the service writer about it. No appointment is needed. Just ask for his opinion. Make a decision then about checking it into the shop for a teardown. If I remember right, there's a straightforward way to calibrate the windows. The build-up of water is probably just a clogged drain hole.

In my two years of ownership, I've been through multiple automatic car washes. Never had water intrusion or a build-up in the door seals.
 

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