Can a Tesla Go Through a Car Wash?

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Teslas are among the sleekest luxury cars globally thanks to their frameless windows and delicate nano ceramic finishes. 

However, to ensure your car maintains its value, you must take good care of it. In essence, you need to inspect, service, and clean your vehicle regularly.

Unfortunately, very few people know how to clean their EVs the right way. In this post, we’ll cover the key measures to take to ensure your EV is not damaged after a car wash. 

Tesla Cas Wash

Should I Take My Tesla Through a Car Wash?

Yes. You can take your Tesla through a car wash. However, Tesla advises vehicle owners to use a touchless car wash when washing their cars in an automatic car wash.

Unlike other car manufacturers who prefer enamel paints, Tesla uses water-based paints for their coatings, which makes them prone to dents and scratches. 

So, instead of using bristled brushes and abrasive fabrics that can scratch your car, a touchless car wash uses high-pressure water streams and foam detergents to remove dirt, grease, grime, and dust while remaining gentle on your car’s paint. 

In other words, it revamps your Tesla’s exterior without touching it, effectively maintaining your vehicle’s sleek, luxurious appearance.

Note: Avoid touchless car washes that use caustic or corrosive detergents and solutions, as these can discolor your Tesla EV over time.

Tesla Car Wash

What You Need to Do Before Taking Your Tesla Through a Car Wash

Tesla realizes that taking your car through a car wash without scratching it might not be easy. 

For this reason, the company introduced Car Wash Mode to help keep your EV unscathed when using an automatic car wash.

This innovative feature prepares your vehicle for cleaning by disabling parts that are prone to damage when going through a car wash

The car wash mode does the following:

  • Disables the windshield wipers
  • Closes all windows
  • Closes the trunk
  • Disables the parking sensor chimes
  • Deactivates Sentry Mode
  • Locks the charge port
  • Disables walk-away door locking

You can only activate Car Wash Mode if your vehicle is stationary and not charging. Here’s how to enable this feature:

  1. Tap on Controls on the touchscreen
  2. Go to Service
  3. Tap Car Wash Mode

If you have a Tesla Model 3 and are using an automatic car wash, you must enable Free Roll to prevent your vehicle from applying the parking brake when you leave the driver’s seat.

To enable free roll:

  1. Press on the brake pedal
  2. Touch Enable Free Roll on the touchscreen
  3. OR shift the gear into neutral

To disable Car Wash Mode, tap Exit on the Control screen or drive your EV at speeds exceeding 9 mph.

Note: Car wash mode is only available on the Tesla Model 3, Model Y, and the redesigned Model S and Model X

Car Wash Mode

Other Effective Ways to Wash a Tesla at Home

For those who are skeptical about taking their EVs to a car wash, here are other ways you can wash your Tesla:

Method 1 – Hand Washing

It allows you to clean grooves, the interior, and hard-to-reach places that are often overlooked when using an automatic car wash. 

However, you must use the appropriate equipment and materials such as high-quality microfiber cleaning cloth to avoid damaging or scratching sensitive parts. 

You should also check the pH level of the cleaning detergents and ensure they do not contain chemicals with an alkalinity level exceeding 13.

Start by pre-cleaning your Tesla EV with fresh water to help loosen stuck dirt and mud. Divide your car into sections and clean it from top to bottom for an effective wash.

Method 1 – Hand Washing

Method 2 – Waterless Washing

Waterless washing is effective if your car is not too dirty. You only need to apply sprays and cleaning solutions to your vehicle and wipe off dirt, dust, and grime using a microfiber cloth.

To get the best results, identify dirty spots and divide your vehicle into sections based on dirt levels. 

Next, spray the waterless cleaning product on the problem areas and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping it off using a soft, microfiber cloth or material. 

Use different microfiber clothes for each section, and remember not to apply too much pressure to avoid scratching your car.

Method 2 – Waterless Washing

Bottom line: 

Taking your Tesla through a car wash can leave you anxious, given the delicate nature of these vehicles. 

With this in mind, always take your car to a touchless car wash to avoid incurring expensive paint job expenses and voiding your warranty.

Aside from protecting the paint, a touchless car wash is relatively affordable, fast, and convenient, and conserves more water compared to a regular car wash. 

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