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Who uses automatic car washes?

seniorcitizen

Member
Oct 9, 2020
212
119
Maple Grove
I am preparing to take my car for a car wash. We are in MN so it is too cold to wash the car in garage. I plan to take to a place where they hand dry it.

I use my phone as a key. I understand that I have to fold mirrors, put wipers in service mode and put the car in neutral. The car wash person has to drive the car into the car wash. Do I leave my Tesla card key in the car or leave the phone in the car? What will happen if I take my phone out and leave the key card in?

Any other suggestions for a first time car wash?
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,269
3,243
Maryland
I am preparing to take my car for a car wash. We are in MN so it is too cold to wash the car in garage. I plan to take to a place where they hand dry it.

I use my phone as a key. I understand that I have to fold mirrors, put wipers in service mode and put the car in neutral. The car wash person has to drive the car into the car wash. Do I leave my Tesla card key in the car or leave the phone in the car? What will happen if I take my phone out and leave the key card in?

Any other suggestions for a first time car wash?
You should fold the side view mirrors. Personally I would not place the wipers in service mode as depending on the type of car wash the wiper blades can get caught by the rotating brush that moves over the vehicle.

You can't keep the Model Y in neutral. As soon as you lift your butt off the driver's seat or open the driver's door the Model Y will shift into Park. Your best option is to stay seated in the Model Y as it goes through the car wash. (If you change the driving setting from Hold or Creep to Roll, the same issue remains. As soon as you open the driver's door the Model Y will shift into Park.) If you remain in the vehicle you may be able to use the Roll driving setting instead of shifting into Neutral. (Practice shifting into Neutral, it is not hard to do but requires pulling the shifter lever either up or down half way for about 1 second.)

You can place the Model Y in transport mode as this will enable the Model Y to remain in neutral when you exit the vehicle. The car wash attendant won't be able to drive the vehicle out of the car wash until you disable transport mode (see Owner's Manual.)

In sub freezing temperatures using a car wash will soak the door window seals where the window descends into the door. The seal is a synthetic felt like material that stays wet for days. After driving in rain or after using a car wash be sure to lower the windows in the Model Y so that you will be able to open the doors once the seal freezes. (When frozen, you can use de-icing spray containing isopropyl alcohol along the edge of the seal. (Be sure you don't have the Model Y set to close the windows automatically when the vehicle is locked or you will find the windows closed and frozen.) If the window freezes to any of the seals you won't be able to open or close the door without damaging the door seal.
 
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jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,269
3,243
Maryland
If salt is applied to the roads be aware that the corrosive damage caused by salt on the vehicle is most aggressive when the temperature climbs above freezing. At colder temperatures the salt can remain on the vehicle for longer periods without concern.
 
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seniorcitizen

Member
Oct 9, 2020
212
119
Maple Grove
I got my first automated car wash. I had many fears including but not limited to damage to the paint, rainbow colors in car trim and water getting into the car.

I asked questions here. I watched a few youtube videos.
I planned to this when I got to the car wash.
1. fold mirrors
2. turn off wipers
3. turn off AC
4. put into Neutral

I had never put the car in neutral before. I practiced at few times at home.
I read car wash reviews. I called one of them and asked them if I could stay in my car during wash and if folks with Tesla's were using them.
I did not ask them if they were touch less car wash. I did not ask because in the review a few people mentioned they were touch less car wash.

I took my car through the car wash. It started well. There are 2 guys manually spaying my car. My car was in neutral.
My car was moving on its own and was in neutral. Suddenly I saw the big brushes touching both sides of my car.
There wasn't much I could do about it. Once car wash finished there were 2 guys who tried to wipe up any excess moisture.

When I got home I examined my car. There were no rainbow color trim.
I did see a small scratch in the paint in the drivers side. Rest of the car looked good to me.

I should have done a better job in making sure that car wash was touch less.

Sharing this so others can learn from my mistake.
 
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Dandesy

Member
Nov 29, 2020
89
135
Minneapolis, MN
I got my first automated car wash. I had many fears including but not limited to damage to the paint, rainbow colors in car trim and water getting into the car.

I asked questions here. I watched a few youtube videos.
I planned to this when I got to the car wash.
1. fold mirrors
2. turn off wipers
3. turn off AC
4. put into Neutral

I had never put the car in neutral before. I practiced at few times at home.
I read car wash reviews. I called one of them and asked them if I could stay in my car during wash and if folks with Tesla's were using them.
I did not ask them if they were touch less car wash. I did not ask because in the review a few people mentioned they were touch less car wash.

I took my car through the car wash. It started well. There are 2 guys manually spaying my car. My car was in neutral.
My car was moving on its own and was in neutral. Suddenly I saw the big brushes touching both sides of my car.
There wasn't much I could do about it. Once car wash finished there were 2 guys who tried to wipe up any excess moisture.

When I got home I examined my car. There were no rainbow color trim.
I did see a small scratch in the paint in the drivers side. Rest of the car looked good to me.

I should have done a better job in making sure that car wash was touch less.

Sharing this so others can learn from my mistake.
Where was that?
 

outdoors

Always roaming
Supporting Member
Aug 10, 2014
1,681
2,879
in the moment
If salt is applied to the roads be aware that the corrosive damage caused by salt on the vehicle is most aggressive when the temperature climbs above freezing. At colder temperatures the salt can remain on the vehicle for longer periods without concern.

I had a friend that went on and on about his heated garage in northern MI. His truck shortly rusted out. Would drive daily and come home to have his truck literally cook in his garage. The problem was his truck was coated in slushy salt. The heated garage baked the salt onto the truck.

On the topic of car wash. We do high end automatic on both. Pressure before cloth or fibers. Like I said high end. Talk to the car wash owner if you can. Ask about the products used. How the pre wash is done on cars prior to fiber. Do they use urethane bumpers on the tracks? If no answers, move on. My favorite has a passion about a good car wash. Family run....Not cheap, but I have an unlimited program.

Both cars are full PPF and have had hundreds of washes on each. I do also Optimum No RInse, but have little time in the winter for such.
 

djgarrett21

Member
Jul 22, 2018
220
281
Utah
Take my Y through the car wash at least once a week in the winter, don't worry about the brushes or scratches since I fully wrapped mine in PPF.

On my 3 I had a lot of swirl marks from the same car wash. It has been said many times but Tesla paint is very soft. Without PPF I'd stick with hand washing but even then debris from the road tears up the front end pretty quick.
 
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RNHurt

Member
Jul 29, 2020
72
70
Louisville, KY
Question: why does Tesla recommend putting the wipers in "service" mode? Is it to make sure that they don't activate in the middle of a wash? Can you turn them off instead?
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,269
3,243
Maryland
Question: why does Tesla recommend putting the wipers in "service" mode? Is it to make sure that they don't activate in the middle of a wash? Can you turn them off instead?
Not sure about the service mode except to ensure the wiper blades are touched by the high pressure water. You can turn the wipers off manually so they won't activate while in a car wash. Supposedly the wipers don't operate when the Tesla is in Park or Neutral.This needs to be verified.
 
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StarLog

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Mar 11, 2019
458
200
MCO
I use it on my old Model S, and now on my New Model Y.
It is what they call touchless, but the hanging down straps do touch the car. So far I have not noticed any swirls.
Just be very careful what car wash you pick. I have many friends who swear a automated car was is bad, but I have washed my 2013 Model S for several years at the same carwash, and people kept saying it looked brand new.
 
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wraithfive

Member
Oct 29, 2020
197
147
TN
Question: why does Tesla recommend putting the wipers in "service" mode? Is it to make sure that they don't activate in the middle of a wash? Can you turn them off instead?
Question: Where does Tesla recommend putting them into service mode for a car wash? I can't find any such recommendation. The only recommendation I see regarding automatic car washes and the wipers is the following:

CAUTION: Ensure the wipers are off before washing Model Y to avoid the risk of damaging the wipers

The do recommend putting them in service mode if your car is going to be left outside in snow or freezing rain so that when you defrost the car the ice will melt off the wiper blades. (Though I wish they had a heated wipers like my Subaru's did. The wipers themselves weren't heated despite the name, but where they rested when off was heated when defrost was on.)
 
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seniorcitizen

Member
Oct 9, 2020
212
119
Maple Grove
I don't really have a place or time to hand wash so I go through the touch less car wash. My black trim is stained but it's beats the alternative of leaving salt on the car all winter. The staining use to bother me but I got over it.
After driving around a dirty car for a month I did get a car wash. Car looks great other than the paint scratch I got. I did not get trim discoloration. I was considering getting matte PPF over the trim. I need to find a good touch less car wash.
 

djmodifyd

Member
Jun 26, 2020
109
44
Minnesota
I use a touchless all the time, randomly use a brush wash but try to avoid those. I won't use a car wash with a track that pulls you through because I like my wheels. NO issues. It's a car, not a Picasso.

I've done the same with all my vehicles. Treat the Tesla no different
 

SunDance

New Member
May 8, 2021
4
0
Arizona
The place where I used to go, with an unlimited plan, doesn’t allow Tesla 3 or Y as they apparently had too many damage claims. I’ve had to go back to handwashing.
Stopped at two different car wash places in Littleton Colorado. Got two different opinions on putting Tesla model Y through. Guess it depends on the integrity of car wash company. Hand wash was worth every penny car looked beautiful. No praying for no rain.
While on this topic of damaged wheels automatic car wash,
was curious if conveyor machinery affects the motors at each wheel. As I have not seen how the mechanism is built, my curious mind was wondering.
Any info would be appreciated.
 

jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
3,269
3,243
Maryland
was curious if conveyor machinery affects the motors at each wheel. As I have not seen how the mechanism is built, my curious mind was wondering.
Any info would be appreciated.
As with any drive through car wash with a conveyor track you place the Tesla in Neutral as you enter the car wash. To place the Tesla in Neutral you place your foot on the brake pedal and press the shift lever up or down half way and hold it for about a half second. Practice before you need to use the Neutral shift setting. (If you drop something that you can't quite reach don't unbuckle your seat belt and lift your butt off the seat; that will cause the Tesla to shift into Park.) It is possible for the conveyor track to scratch the edge of the Tesla's wheels as the edge of the wheel is flush with the sidewall of the tire in many cases.
 
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vickh

Active Member
Dec 16, 2018
3,148
503
az
I do like the flat, open conveyor track washes or the gas station go around the car washes.

I'm still waiting for car wash mode button.
 

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