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What's wrong with a car wash?

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by daniel, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    My owner's manual says to avoid automatic car washes as well as those coin-operated ones where you get a minute or two of high-powered spray for a few quarters. It says to hand-wash only.

    I bought my Roadster to drive it, not to let it sit in the garage all winter, so it gets dirty and in the winter it's too cold for me to hand wash the car. My hands freeze from the cold water.

    So my question is: What's wrong with automatic or coin-operated car washes? I've always used them for my Prius (well, the coin-operated ones, anyway) and never noticed any problem. Is Tesla/Lotus paint more delicate than Toyota paint? I understand that the cloth top is not as tight as a non-convertible car, but if it can take a rainstorm without permanent damage then it ought to be able to take a couple of minutes in a car wash. No?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    Daniel
    Roadster #1117, 2.5 non-Sport, Very Orange.
     
  2. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    You go first, then let us know what happens. Personally, I don't like the idea of putting those very expensive CF body panels through a car wash. Then there's the whole "electric + water" thing that just puts me off.

    BTW, like your avatar....http://www.sarasotadolphin.org/ :biggrin:
     
  3. Sparrow

    Sparrow S105/ Roadster 189

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    Had a friend years ago that ran out of time to wash their EV by hand before I parade we were driving in. The high powered water spray reached the motor causing it to short and taking out the controller for good measure too. Of course that was a conversion not a Tesla, but it is an expensive lesson to learn.
     
  4. treehugger350

    treehugger350 Member

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    Uhoh. Sounds like this could be the next anti-EV argument.

    Why buy an EV? They cost thousands more to purchase, and you can't even take them through a car wash! Hope you like manual labor!
     
  5. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    You just have to be careful with a high-pressure water hose - the car isn't that well sealed against water (ie trunk leaks, etc.) I've cleaned my car countless times (white car!) with a pressure hose and no problems as I was careful over the hood/trunk/cabin areas. The ones in the
    coin-operated car washes are not high-pressured enough to damage paint but you can just make sure you don't get the hose too close to the car.
     
  6. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

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    I can see this now:

    "EV's waste more water, pollute the ocean, and cause algae blooms. If you wash it by hand, all that soap and water goes to the sewer and pollutes, car washes are responsible in their disposal of soap and recycling water"

    Just another random shot trying to take down EVs
     
  7. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    I'm sure it's been done before. I think I read a post here somewhere... can't find it now. Someone used a touchless automatic car wash. I believe he had no problems. He was inside the car with a towel to catch a few minor droplets that showed up near the top of one of the windows.
     
  8. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

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    And since nobody's mentioned it yet, with the Roadster's CF shell, well, CF is a little more flexible, so the paint has to be a little bit softer to not crack. And I certainly wouldn't put it through something which whacked it with fabric that's probably impregnated with dirt from the 4x4 that just went through.
     
  9. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    Very soft paint indeed -- one trip through a machine car wash will put swirls over the complete surface of the car. Even washing by hand can be pretty devistating to the Roadster's finish if you don't know what you are doing. Detailing a car with a soft finish such as the Roadster is a form of art and takes time and effort. When I take my car to Tesla for servicing, I tell them specifically NOT to wash the car as there is just know way they are going to put the time and effort to do it correctly. Either have a detailing shop wash it for you, or do it yourself if you want the car to retain its beautiful fnish. Fortunately if you have a white, orange, or perhaps yellow car, minor problems in the finish don't stand out too much, but the darker colors are much less forgiving.
     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    I've occasionally used a coin spray wash in winter, because it is otherwise impossible to do hand wash without getting soapsicles hanging off the car. Just keep well back so you don't peel the paint off the CF and you'll be fine.
     
  11. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    Coin spay washes are fine as Doug says, just don't get the nozzle too close to the car, especially when you first start washing and/or there is a lot of dirt or mud on the car. Blasting contaminants over the surface of the paint can also damange the finish.
     
  12. EVNow

    EVNow Active Member

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    Same here. I take Leaf once in a while (as in twice over the last year) to an automated car wash.

    Once we get back to 60+, I'll handwash using biodegradable soap ...
     
  13. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    No, this a Roadster thread. I have far less problems with taking a Model S through the car wash.
     
  14. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I will confess I have done it several times. You can get minor leaks around the top and they seem to be fair at best but they are much better than a dirty car.
     
  15. dadaleus

    dadaleus 4GETOIL P85#S70,FdrX,S85D

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    I think this is more of an anti-expensive car arguement than an anti-EV arguement. Personally, thanks to the Roadster I discovered the joy of mobile detail and will never go back to the drive thru wash, no matter what car I drive.

    I doubt the S or X will have the same restriction. I think it all has to do with CF and soft paint.
     
  16. strider

    strider Active Member

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    As others have said - the coin-op wand ones are fine, just be careful around the soft top as it will leak.
     
  17. Bruno Suárez

    Bruno Suárez Member

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    Adams Polishes are a safe bet for hand washes. :)

    All of their products are 100% American made.
     
  18. LST

    LST Senior Member

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    What's wrong with automatic or coin-operated car washes?

    I tried once: Automatic: You get wet.. thats all, no electric issues. BTW whats wrong with caressing the Roadster from time to time, giving it a shine ? ; ))
     
  19. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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  20. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    Thanks, everyone! I certainly never wanted this to be an anti-EV thing. I just wanted to know why the restrictions regarding washing.

    Based on the replies, I will avoid the places that use brushes, and when I go to the coin-operated places I'll be very careful about the pressure. Also about the top. And in a month or two I'll be able to wash by hand again.

    But after I posted my question, I checked on line and found a place that washes cars by hand. It's kind of far from me, about a half-hour's drive, but, hey, that's zero gasoline! I plan on checking it out today if it doesn't rain.
     

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