Car wash safety

Car wash safety

All right, I can't take it any more. Had my s for 6 weeks now and I've been holding off taking it through a car wash. Any issues with water on the undercarriage in regards to the battery? Also, for those car washes that require the car in neutral to allow the car to be pulled along a track, what setting should the car be in, Drive with the creep off? There is not a neutral per se. Finally, in those car washes that make contact with the surface, anyone had any issues given the all aluminum construction? (Effects on the finish). Thanks for the advice.

David Trushin | April 4, 2013

There are a bunch of threads on car washing. You can use to find the list, too many to list here. Bottom line: hand wash, best. Touchfree, ok but watch out for washes that have alignment bars. They wreck you wheels. drag through and washes that drag stuff over the car, you will be very sorry you did it.

srichland | April 4, 2013

If you have the 21s (or maybe even the 19s) do NOT go through a mechanical car wash. I did it and cut the tire and rashed the wheel. $750 car wash.

MandL | April 4, 2013

I go through the wash all the time with my S. There is a Neutral gear . I set the suspension to high before I go in and ride through with the car. The trickier part is getting it back into drive at the end. It won't shift unless your foot is on the brake.

Oliver in Seattle | April 4, 2013

Definitely don't unbuckle your seatbelt and reach for something in the front passenger footwell, as I did. It will put the car in Park and apply the parking brake..... Wash over. Otherwise I've had decent luck with Brown Bear.

HiddenGems99 | April 4, 2013

I have had issues with car washes - hard to lightly "tap" the car from drive to neutral, then at the end of the wash you do have to hit the brake to put the car back into drive.

I have 19" wheels and no issues at my local Brown Bear.

Might be the right idea to be in drive with creep off.

jdb | April 9, 2013

By far best advice is wash by hand if possible. Good for the car and good for the soul. Also need to be sure to open all four doors before finish in order to wipe down the interior metal surfaces which collect moisture, same for trunk metal interior where meets car.

robkal007 | April 9, 2013

I was pleased to find that it was only $19 for a hand wash at my local car wash with mechanical wash tunnel. Just had to ask the operator and in the long run he was much happier than trying to figure it out.

Pungoteague_Dave | April 9, 2013

My local Ford dealer does handwash and wax details for $65. They loved to see me coming. Then one of their employees oferred the same deal at my house. Now all of our vehicles get hand detailed at home.

RacerX | April 9, 2013

Nice to see you can get someone to wash your Tesla Model S at your house.

Anyone in the Cincinnati, Ohio Area...
Mason Blue Ash Ohio area use Mike's Car Wash or Mr. Clean Car Wash?
Any problems?

RacerX | April 9, 2013

So far I've used hand washes (myself + two different car wash places). The last one "Bubbles Hand Wash" did a great job - $17.99 with wheels cleaning (Sunnyvale, CA). The manager told me he's had quite a few Model S cars come through. Of course a day doesn't go by where I don't see another MS in this area.

If you do use a car tunnel, I wrote up set up some simple instructions for the car wash people (how to drive the Tesla, etc.) you can bring up on the Tesla browser from:

Click on "Car Wash".

jchangyy | April 9, 2013

@teslatap...I went there for their "works" and it was okay. they do have hand washing without the tracks. How did you get the $17.99? was it just the exterior? did you clean the interior on your own?

RacerX | April 9, 2013

Thanks for that page

What happens if you have standard suspension for the car wash?

I can't afford to do a $65 car wash every week...


MandL | April 10, 2013

Swapping out the 19s for the 21s today. Now I'll have to see about taking the car through the automated wash I've been using. $40/mo for unlimited wash/vac/wipe/windows has been nice. I hope the car can still safely go thru. | April 10, 2013

@jchangyy - Yep - the $17.99 was exterior only + tire clean. I just returned from a trip where I had to travel a dirt road (with suspension on high), so didn't need the interior cleaned this time. Dirt roads really make a any car dirty!

@RacerX - As for standard suspension (which I'm not sure is available yet), it's a good question as to how it will work going through a pull type car wash tunnel. Most car pull systems seem to work ok on low cars, but you never know. I've been reluctant to try it even with air suspension.

@MandL - from other comments in different threads, the 21" rims are far more likely to be damaged by a car wash pull system. I'd take a very close look before committing. Usually they have metal rails that if too high, will scratch your nice rims. I've got 19" wheels, so it's not that much of an issue for me.

RacerX | April 10, 2013

@Mandl in Cincinnati They have new unlimited $25/month for just pull thru ext. wash. You have to do your own vac/wipe/windows. Trying to see if the Cincinnati Mason Blue ash owners had any first hand experience.

bottesini | May 19, 2013

@RacerX in Cincinnati. It's a bit of a drive for you but Johnny's Car Wash - 7901 Beechmont Ave - does a nice hand wash. They're owned by the local Porsche dealer & I've had good luck with them especially if you came when they weren't very busy. Probably best to call ahead. I'm sure they'd treat you like royalty if you showed up. Hell, it's an excuse to exercise your MS by coming down the back roads instead of i71, 275 etc.

Good luck,