Guide for Carwashes?

Guide for Carwashes?

Hi All,

Getting ready for delivery of my P85 in a few weeks. Have really found the forum a great resource - thanks for all who post.

My carwash will not allow Model S to go through normally on the pulley system through the wash because the Model S "wheels have locked up before". From reading several carwash posts, it seems that "some" software versions have a Tow/Carwash button. To set the story straight, what can I tell my carwash if I am ok with the vehicle going through the touch less autowash? How do they activate this mode?

Is there a guide for carwashes that specifies what software versions have a "Tow/Carwash" mode? What will prevent the Model S from locking up while being wheeled through the wash on the pulley with no person inside?


jbunn | 02. November 2013

I have air, so I raise the car, and put it into neutral. That's all you need to do. Nothing special, just like a regular car. Chances are one of the other owners did something like hit the park button accidently.

ir | 02. November 2013

I've never hand washed a car before my MS and now I only wash by hand. With the right gear, you can be done pretty quickly. Rinse, foam gun, sheeting rinse and wipe down for a quick wash.

I've heard of people with Opticoat simply hosing down the car without soap for a quick wash.

Search YouTube for junkman, there are some good washing instructions for that.

TMCproud | 02. November 2013

@ir +1 : have rediscovered pleasure of handwashing MS after 20 yrs of car washes. Will never put my MS through a car wash...

kawdennis | 02. November 2013

How it the world could you even think of putting your MS through a carwash????? When I was a kid I worked in one,

Mathew98 | 02. November 2013

You're guaranteed scratches all over the brand spanking new MS with these car washes. They'll even throw in deep metal swirl marks for free!!!

Do yourself a favor and hand wash the MS.

Use and search for hand wash MS.

I personally opticoated the car and use foam gun + Chemical Guys Maxi Sud II shampoo. I also use the two bucket method every other wash.

Mathew98 | 02. November 2013


Gizmotoy | 02. November 2013

I usually search out a touchless car wash. If I never let it get very dirty, it stays decently clean. No swirl marks or scratches on my 6 year old car yet.

I'd like to hand wash, living in an apartment it's just not possible.

JPPTM | 02. November 2013

ALso consider getting some kind of paint protection for the really soft CA VOC compliant paint TM uses. Search these forums with and also head over to TMC and study up there.

TrojanTesla | 02. November 2013

You can go to most of these car wash places and ask them to "bucket wash" your car. They take it around to the back and hand wash it with all the necessary tools (power spray, wheel brushes, etc.). I stand by to make sure they get in the frank area without slamming it shut. It costs a bit more, but if you don't want to spend the time doing it yourself, this is the way to go.

2050project | 02. November 2013

These guys really do it right, I think they were the ones at TESLIVE this summer, and they really do good work on the Model S:

Here is a gift card:

And, be sure you leave this on your screen if you let them into the car:

201w77 | 03. November 2013

My service guy warned me not to take my MS to a car wash for a different reason. If you have a pano roof, there are four "flaps" for a roof rack to mount to. These flaps are spring loaded and have been known to break off with the industrial dryers used by car washes. He told me these flaps are extremely delicate and very $$$ to replace. They have encounterd broken flaps (due to this reason) on many occasions! Hope this is helpful for owners w/ the pano roof.

Alex K | 03. November 2013

@201w77 | NOVEMBER 3, 2013: These flaps are spring loaded and have been known to break off with the industrial dryers used by car washes.

They're not actually spring loaded, but the hinges have some kind of friction to them. They do pop open easily. The ones in my car are all at different friction tension: some open up easier than others. They also tend to rattle a bit when closed, but I haven't noticed it from the inside of the car.

djm12 | 03. November 2013

Elsewhere in these forums, owners have posted difficulties with the 21in wheels in automated car washes. I always hand wash my Model S - it's a bit more effort, but I do a better job and don't worry about shredding my tires.

carlk | 03. November 2013

@Gizmotoy You can give this a try. Better than wash with wafer rinse imo.

Brian H | 03. November 2013

What is a "clay lubricant"?

carlk | 03. November 2013

That's what detailers use as lubricant when they clay bar the car.

This stuff really works. I still couldn't believe how this quick 15 minutes "wash" could make the car so clean and shinnig.

DallasTXModelS | 03. November 2013

In the Tesla Model S Official Walkthrough video on YouTube instructions on how do set the gear selection for a carwash is at 16:26.

It is also in print form on the Model S Roadside Assistance Card under the Documents section of My Dashboard and should have been printed on a card that was in your glovebox.

Gizmotoy | 05. November 2013

@carlk: Thanks for the suggestion. I'm pretty skeptical of waterless washes. Over at TMC there's a pretty big thread with several owners complaining about the damage they caused. Maybe I'll try it on our beater Civic before we sell it.

I'm pretty fanatical about it, though. The paint on my 6 year old Evo is pristine save for some uncorrected chips I'll fix in the spring... not a swirl in sight anywhere. I won't even take it to a hand wash place because they'll rub it with towels to dry it off... *shudder*

chrisdl | 05. November 2013

Do any of the people who promote hand washing live in a region where it's well below zero (0 Celsius= 32 Fahrenheit) during wintertime?

I don't mind hand washing in the summer, but during winter it's a chore.

Mathew98 | 05. November 2013

@chrisdl - You can if it's done indoor and inside the cozy comfort of your garage.

chrisdl | 05. November 2013

My car doesn't even fit in my garage, so I guess I'm out :)