Washing and maintenence of Model S

Washing and maintenence of Model S

Hi everyone, I've learned a lot from these forums and wanted to share what I've found to take care of my model S.

Here is a picture of all the items I've found that work great. All of these items can be bought at Amazon and some at your local auto shop.

Starting from the left and back.

Meguiar's Quik Interior Detailer Wipes
I use these wipes on the interior of the car to wipe off dust. Use it on all surfaces.

Liquid Glass Wax
This wax is really the best wax I've found. I'd suggest anyone that has a Model S to apply it asap to keep your car looking in top shape. It adds a coat onto your car that makes water, dust, etc fly off you car much more easily. It also allows you to use water to dry your car. Here is a good link to show how it's done.

You can use liquid glass on your windows too and it makes washing your car so much easier if you use the water drying method. This product is also very easy to apply and to remove. I can't say enough about this product. Everyone should use it asap to protect your paint!

Chemical Guys Maxi Suds II.
This car wash solution makes tons of foam with the foam gun. Makes washing your car fun and really speeds up on the time it takes. I wash my car weekly now and it seems to take about 20 minutes for a whole wash.

Microfiber Towels
These towels soak up everything and are relatively inexpensive. Do not wash your car with those old squeegee things. They suck and you have to ring them out when they get wet. I'd suggest getting a 36 pack and also 2 large sizes to dry your car. I got the super large ones at the local auto store.

303 Products Aerospace Protectant
I haven't tried this one yet but the reviews seem really positive to treat your interior dashboard, leather, etc.

Gilmour Foam Master Original
This item is really handy and helps to save lots of time on your wash. Purchase the original because it comes with brass connections and will last longer than the plastic ones. My normal routine would be to:
1. Rinse down Car
2. Foam the whole car
3. Clean rims first
4. Wash car
5. Rinse/Dry with water
6. Dry with microfiber towels

Grit Guards
Grit guards go into your standard 5 gallon bucket. It keeps all the dust and grit from moving around and scratching your paint.

White wax Applicator Pad
Use this in combination with Liquid Glass. It makes applying the wax so much faster and easier.

Hose sprayer nozzle w/ quick connect fittings
I'm sure you've all seen these but I wanted to write about the quick connect fittings. With the quick connect fittings you can switch between heads very easily. Saves time and you will love using them. I got my quick connect fittings at home depot.

Kraco K2520BLK Black Rubber Universal Runner
I didn't take a pic of this in the car but I found this to be a very good fit for the back seat floor. It was inexpensive and pretty good material.

The last few items are simply scrubbing tools found at your local auto shop. Use microfiber ones again. They work great and last a while. Hope this helps some of you guys!

splitsec002 | April 12, 2013

The liquid glass liquid was wrong. Here's the correct link.

Tâm | April 12, 2013

Thanks splitsec002 for such a detailed and comprehensive compilation of car care.

By the way, which one makes the car interior smell brand new?

rockyb | April 12, 2013

This list of recommendations was exactly what I was hoping for. Thanks for putting this together. Did the kraco floor mat need to be cut to size?

splitsec002 | April 12, 2013

Here's some pictures to the floor mat. It runs up the sides a little bit and you can cut it down but I just left it as is.

@Tam Sorry bud, haven't looked for a new car smell yet. This one looks like it got some reviews. If you try it, let us know if it's good or not!

atlg8or | April 12, 2013

Speaking of Liquid Glass products, I've always loved how this interior cleaner makes the car smell:

Brian H | April 13, 2013

Under the Share dropdown in Flickr, it gives web code for any picture:

CC | April 13, 2013


Thanks for the list!!

As for 303 Aerospace protectant, it is a great product to protect interior trims and rubber seals. I have used it for 9 years on my previous car, and it works well. However, I would NOT recommend using 303 on leather seats, and steering wheel because it make them a bit slippery. For the seats, steering wheel, use saddle soap or a quality leather conditioner ( Lexol Products, Leatherique products, NOT armor all).

CC | April 13, 2013

BTW, does anyone know what material is use for the dash and door trims on the Model S?

mcveyemd | April 13, 2013

The best paint protection is Xpel Ulitmate! I completely covered my white S with it and it is undetectable! Yet, the white paint looks like it just came out of the paint bay! 10 year garranty against yellowing etc. Check out the performance against scratches on YouTube! They also have a sealer so you only need to seal it once every 6 months, no waxing necessary! I use their cleaner that only uses one gallon of water to wash the whole car. More water is necessary to really get the wheels clean. I then use AMMO NYC Tire Mud for the tires and black runners. The car looks like new EVERY DAY!

nkohlimd | April 13, 2013

I have Xpel on one of my other cars and plan on putting it on the Tesla coming in May. Did not know about the sealer or cleaner-do you have more details? Thanks | April 13, 2013

Are the liquid glass products compatible with paint armor/clear bra products?

David M. | April 13, 2013

The best cordless vacuum ever made - period! Love it.

- 20V Lithium battery
- 15+ minutes of strong suction power
- Holds a charge when left unplugged (can keep in the car for road trips)
- Comes with 3 attachments (one for pet hair)
- 4 foot flexible hose & crevice attachment
- Lightweight
- Quick and easy to empty and clean filter

splitsec002 | April 13, 2013

Keep them coming guys, I'm going to try the liquid glass leather treatment.

Pricee2 | April 13, 2013

Has anyone used Rainx Antifog (or other brands) on the inside of the windshield to reduce use of defroster. I am concerned it may leave a visible film.
Made 110 mile trip last night and used 371wh/mi temp was 40deg and raining had five people on board so needed to use defrost/defog more often. Have a 200 mile trip planned for next Saturday and the weather forecast is for similar conditions so I am looking for was to cut wh/mi. I prefer to not reduce speed to less than posted limits.

Pricee2 | April 13, 2013

ways not was oops!!

JPPTM | April 13, 2013

FWIW, I have used the complete product line from Griot's Garage on many vehicles with great success:

I am just a happy customer, not affiliated with the company in any way.

TikiMan | April 13, 2013

I just ordered the bucket-grid (for my second rinse bucket), foam-gun, and single filter water-softener kit, to take care of my newly 22PLE finished black P85 Sig (as per 'Junkman's' guidelines).

I already have a Life-Source water filtration system for my home, however, the outside water source I use to wash my car is before the system, and never-mind the Life-Source system doesn't completely remove all hard-water minerals that are in my local water. Thus, hopefully the dedicated water-softener kit will help to make drying my car a great deal easier (as the MS traps a great deal of water in many areas that drip for hours, even after using a blower and MF towel).

Either way, I hope I can keep my MS in as tip-top condition as possible (six+ months no and wheel-scrapes yet... knock on wood).

Getting Amped Again | April 13, 2013

This has worked well for me for "on the go" vacuuming:

It has an extending crevice tool that works well in the narrow openings around the front seats.

jdb | April 16, 2013

@splitsec002. Thanks for interestingt post, you are light years ahead of me in car wash knowledge and tools. Quick question on foam sprayer, which have never used, but looks like fun. Do you still use two bucket system with one for soap water and other for rinse, or just one rinse bucket and use foam suds for soap?

Omg_Tesla | April 16, 2013

I get all my car polishes from Adams Polish

I have been using Adams Polish for many years and they work great. I would recommend Adams Polish.

hamer | April 16, 2013

So, although not "washing," I have a question (which for all I know might have been answered in other threads months ago. I took delivery of my Model S a week ago, and somehow, someone (maybe me? maybe not.) touched the headliner in the middle with dirty fingers, and now there are fingerprints on it. Any recommendations on how to clean it?

Liz G | April 16, 2013

@hamer upholstry cleaner will work on it.

Brian H | April 16, 2013

Spray peroxide (3% solution). Leave for a few hours. Oxidizes stains into vapors which vanish.

smd | April 16, 2013

I've had good success with Zaino products. I love the deep gloss look.

vinster | April 18, 2013

I have a question about applying the Liquid Glass wax recommended in this thread. I've never really hand polished/waxed my car in the past, so am a noob in this area, but am thinking of doing it.

Do you apply it just to the car body where the paint is or as alluded here, you can also apply it to glass surfaces? Also, what about applying to non metal body parts like the spoilers, chrome parts, badges (Model S word on the back), black body kit type parts on the lower chasis? Do or don't?

Or should I just ask a professional detailing shop to do it? Thanks.

kback | April 18, 2013

I plan to have a professional detailer apply OptiCoat to my Model S soon after receiving it. Opticoat provides a nearly permanent layer of protection, similar to another coat of clear coat, and reportedly eliminates the need for wax. On Tesla Motors Club forums someone performed a comparison of many paint finish products:

vinster | April 18, 2013

Thanks for the additional info, kbackman. Sounds like Opti-coat 2.0 is a better product (costs a lot more!). I haven't found a local dealer at least in the Bay Area, CA that advertises and uses Opti-coat 2.0. From youtube videos, the application looks simple enough. The worrying thing is that the surface to which it is applied has to be 'perfect', otherwise it will lock in the imperfections.

I should get this done soon then.

blc1017 | April 18, 2013

Vinster, Immaculate Reflections in Antioch is the only Northern California detailer for Opti-Coat 2.0 and for CQuart Finest products. After consulting with Jeff McGoveran (the detailer) I decided to go with CQuartz. It has a two year limited warranty. Glad I did...shortly after getting it done I had two bird strikes on my hood. I was able to rinse both off with water, my hood had no etching or erosion, and the water flowed off the car so there was no drying to be done. Both products add about 2 microns to your clear coat finish, and require some time to cure before you wash or expose to rain.

spraisoody | April 18, 2013

I just had opti coat applied, haven't picked up the car yet because of rain. It should be cured at least 12-24 hrs prior to exposure to water/rain. I currently use the two bucket method to wash the car, but am considering using a power washer as well. Anyone use a power washer? If so can you recommend one? I am hesitant, don't want to ruin the paint. Supposedly with Opticoat it doesn't take much to clean the car.

vinster | April 23, 2013

I have a quick question about the Opti-coat 2.0. I have the paint armor clear shield in the front. I'm guessing that Opti-coat should not be applied over the shield. Would there be any harm in doing so? That is, shield corrodes away or discolors, etc? Thanks.

Tesla229 | April 23, 2013

@vinster: I recently had 22ple (asimilar product to Opti-coat)applied by a very good local auto detailer, Envious Auto Detailing. Eric masked off the paint armour before applying the 22ple. He also masked off all other non-paint surfaces (plastic, chrome, etc.).

jackhub | April 23, 2013

@ splitsec002
Hey! Thanks heaps. that is just what I was looking for.

jw669 | May 21, 2013

For a mapped list of authorized opticoat installers, see

@Vinster, OC is safe to be applied to both under and over paint protection films. In fact, it'd be quite beneficial to have it applied over to prevent premature yellowing and to give water beading characteristics

vinster | May 21, 2013

Thanks for the link, jw669. I'll check out the one in Fremont (Distinctiv_Detailing) sometime next month. They're close to the Tesla factory location.

NICE | May 24, 2013

I used Liquid Glass on all of my cars for almost 20 years and thought it was the best stuff. Now with my Tesla S arriving in a couple weeks I'm wondering if I should switch to a nanotech coating. Then if I do which one is the best? Cquartz, Opti-coat, C1, System X, or MMC-7.

kback | May 24, 2013

I'm using Opti-coat because it lasts the longest. Looks great too.

Rubik | May 24, 2013

@TikiMan, what "single filter water-softener kit" did you get?

AlMc | May 25, 2013

I am considering using Opti Coat. I certainly have waxed a car before but want to get opinions on ease of application for someone who is used to taking his vehicles through commercial washes (my bad!).

Is the Opti Coat 2.0 essentially idiot proof to apply or should I pay someone to do it?

NICE | May 25, 2013

I've done more research and now more inclined to get the opti-coat. The only thing I'm concerned about is that it. Doesn't have the smooth feel. What have you experienced?

I have the same predicament. I have a hard time paying someone to do something that I can do myself. I'm visiting a local opti-coat installer to see their work. Last thing I want to do is mess up my new MS.

AlMc | May 25, 2013

S-Car-Go; +1 (bump)

We probably won't hear from kbackman for a couple days...he got his S delivered today.....

kback | May 25, 2013

@Admjr - took delivery yesterday. The car is all I had hoped and more. However, to keep my wife happy I had to travel with her family to house in the Catskills where there is a long rocky dirt driveway and no chargers. My new Model S is lonely in my garage:-(. Will be home tomorrow and grinning again.

@s-car-go - from what I have read, the Opti-Coat does feel smooth, and the manufacturer sells a detailing spray that maintains the smooth feel. I'll let you know more after it's applied on Monday.

AlMc | May 25, 2013

@kbackman; I might have feigned a case of 'the flu' and stayed home to drive myself to the doctor! :)

Are you applying Opticoat yourself?

kback | May 25, 2013

@admjr - LOL. I considered finding a way to say home, but my wife encouraged me to get the Model S, which I was reluctant to do because of price. So glad I did, and I figure I owe her. Of course, now she wants one of her own - after one drive.

Opticoat being applied by Rich Grasa, from Explicit Details out of New Milford, CT.

NICE | May 25, 2013

I visited the opti-coat installer and humbly admit that it is not something that I can do to the level of detail that they could do it. This is a job for the professionals. If anyone has done a DIY opti-coat let me know your experience.

Robert22 | May 26, 2013

What range of pricing should I expect to see on Opticoat 2.0 if performed by a detailer? It's $69.00 per tube on Amazon and looks simple to apply. Then again, I thought it would be easy to shave a cat.

nkohlimd | May 26, 2013

I took delivery of my P85 3 weeks ago and it wine tsar aight to the detailer for prep, Opticoat, and Xpel PPF. He has been recognized as one of the top 10 detailers in the US in the past so he knows his stuff. He says Opticoat is the best paint sealant out there in therms of durability and protection. he Opticated the entire car, then did the PPF and then Opticoated over the PPF film again. The cost of Opticoat is not much but the cost of application is really in th prep. You want the paint to be as perfect as possible before sealing with Opticoat. Opticoat application only should not be more than $159-200 but most installers HIGHLY recommend an appropriate detail before the Opticat so that usually totals $400-700. When I got home, I put on a quick layer of Klasse sealant followed by a layer of Carnauba wax-took about 1.5 hours of total work. LAN on doing that every 6 months just to keep an ultra-high gloss and for enjoyment. In cold climates, best to use Optimum ONR no rinse wash-you can wash the car in your garage in less than 20 minutes and it maintains shine and dust repellency . Hope that helps. Best wishes to all.

PS also consider Opti-glass on all glass. They used to put Opticoat on glass but no longer recommend it. Opting loss will improve visibility in rain, reduce use/wear of wipers, and protect your windshield from chips/dings (read on the forums that is a problem with Model S). That you can order and apply yourself. Just ordered. And plan inputting on all gas surfaces including the roof.

TI Sailor | May 26, 2013

@ Robert22

LOL. Our long hair cat has to anesthetized to be clipped. $500 each visit is still better than the trips to the ER to patch me up...

bsimoes | May 26, 2013

@Robert22--" Then again, I thought it would be easy to shave a cat."
This line will have me laughing all day; it's classic. Thank you for the giggles.

vbalasekaran | May 26, 2013

Is Liquid Glass safe to use on Model S Multi coat red. Do you have to do any special prep work other than wash the car first?

NICE | May 26, 2013

Liquid Glass contains no abrasives and is safe for all hard surfaces. I put it on the paint, the chrome, the plastics, and even the glass if I have enough time & energy.

You mean there's more ways to skin a cat?? LOL
Let me know if you do it. The Opti-coat (not the cat). ROFL