Exterior Care & Cleaning

Exterior Care & Cleaning

Hi Everyone!

Just wanted to ask for advice on products to use to clean the model 3. I am getting a lot of ads on social media right now about “Top Coat F11”... Honestly, I’ve never owned a car that I loved so dearly to want to wash and take care of myself. In the past I’d usually just take my vehicle to a car wash but I’m scared of the wheels being damaged by the guide rails and truthfully I’d just rather wash this car myself. Long story short I plan to care for my car at home but would love to receive any product recommendations. Thanks!

M3D | 25 avril 2019

Take a look at this series F11 doesn't do too well. If you feel like it and want to do it yourself I would suggest Cquartz UK or something cheaper like nufinish. Or if you like doing it lots of traditional wax every few months

M3D | 25 avril 2019

FYI - that is not advice on cleaning, but on protecting. For cleaning and avoiding swirls look up two bucket method... I have black and this - like a lot of newer cars - is soft paint.

M3phan | 25 avril 2019

Instead of buckets, after a quick water rinse, I use a foam gun to foam entire car, let sit for a couple minutes to lift off dirt, then use multiple microfiber noodle mitts, one clean side per panel. Takes four to five mitts - that’s eight to ten clean, fresh mitt sides - to clean car. Then Rinse off, and dry with Bull Twister premium microfiber towel. Follow with 2 products: first microfiber wipe down with Meguiars Ultimate Quik Detailer, followed with Meguiars Ultimate Fast Finish (synthetic polymer costing-very glossy, hard glass shine). Invisible Glass for windows.

sroh | 25 avril 2019

@M3phan has a good plan.

There are so many quality products out there, If you really want to do a deep dive, spend some time on Those guys are serious about washing and detailing cars.

If you are going to regularly wash your car (and not let dirt and grime build up), I recommend the one-bucket method. I personally think this is more effective than the two-bucket method. One less bucket, no need for grit guards. Just need to get enough microfiber towels.

One 4-5 gallon bucket
ONR Rinseless Wash
Bunch of quality, microfiber towels
One Griot's Garage PFM drying towel
Invisible Glass for windows

Atoms | 25 avril 2019

Gtechniq ceramic coating has a 9 year warranty. It was expensive but worth the cost since dirt falls off and I don’t have to worry about it for 9 years.
Single bucket no rinse wash is the best. I always used a hose and spray or used car washes before this. Now I’m hooked on this one bucket method. You can google it and watch YouTube videos on it. Bought Uber no rinse and microfiber towels on Amazon. Super super easy and the car is super smooth and dirt just does not stick. Great for a white car. No swirl marks, no microscratches, fast washing, and only half a bucket of water. No water left over after washing. Just throw the towels into the washing machine afterwards. Going to a car wash is more work and time. And definitely cost.

jrmmd | 25 avril 2019

Pearl white Model 3, 80 mile daily commute, South Texas bugs, and the front end is a mess. I have a 3M film on the front end and side mirrors, but it doesn't seem to make removal of bug guts any easier. I'd gladly remove the film if there was any other treatment which could make the weekly trip to the hand held pressure car wash a little easier. Help!

sroh | 25 avril 2019

You want ceramic coating. Look into something like CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0. You apply it on top of the 3M film and makes washing much easier. It couldn't hurt to also get some auto bug cleaner and spray it on a few minutes before washing.

ODWms | 26 avril 2019

I have ceramic coating over the entire car including the front which is PPF’d. Makes washing and keeping the car clean a snap. Plus I have the discontinued metallic silver color, so the car always looks great even when it’s anything but extremely dirty.

SalisburySam | 26 avril 2019

For what you pay for the coatings, you might wish to instead have your car professionally detailed. At a detailing cost of, say, $200, you could have it detailed and gorgeous every two months or so for years for less money.

That said, I use a pressure washer with a foam cannon, ONR and the 1-bucket method, a boatload of microfiber cloths, Invisible Glass, and CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant. Not as good as pro quality, but the car is pretty clean and shiny. On the inside, I keep having to vacuum up sliced almonds that fall off my Starbucks almond croissant. Well, that and dog drool and nose prints on, oh, everything.

M3D | 26 avril 2019

@SalisburySam The coatings and wrapping can get expensive, but, my 3 year coating @$995 = less than 5 detailing trips at $200 ea. so less than a year. With the Xpel full front wrap which has a 10 year warranty and is self healing, protects against rock chips blah blah blah and the ceramic coating @3K total = 2.5 years of detailing which wouldn't fix or protect against rock chips, nor would I have gotten paint correction and sealing as a part of that level of detailing. It isn't for everyone, but I think the math works out if you want to keep the car long term (my last two cars I kept for 20 years). I have also learned that as much as I like washing and waxing the cars on a sunny day I just never get to it so this - for me - is a good compromise

AWDTesla | 26 avril 2019

@SalisburySam, how often are you dropping $200 on that? I charge $1500 for a single stage polish and a ceramic coat job that will last 8 years. Even if you spend $200/year for those 8 years getting your car waxed, you've spent more than a ceramic coating job that would keep your car looking new longer than yearly waxing.

ODWms | 27 avril 2019

Lol! A major benefit of paint protection (which just keep getting better and better at what they do) is avoiding all that every couple of months, let alone paying $200 a pop. But, hey, to each his own.

SalisburySam | 27 avril 2019

Ok, my bad on the detailing vs. coating issue. In my area, I got 3 quotes to have the work done and they were from $3250 to $4300. Not worth it to me.

ODWms | 28 avril 2019

While still a little spendy, I got my ceramic coating and PPF done for less than $2K. I also feel the $4k-6k I’ve been quoted for other configurations isn’t worth it, so I went the route I did. I’m not into the whole “you paid $75k for the car so you should spend xyz for abc.” Full ceramic coating and front PPF gave me what I think is the best bang for my money. Completely happy with my results.

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cybergrafx | 12 septembre 2019

+1 CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0

I used to have a mobile detail service wash my cars every month but when I got my M3 I wanted to baby it myself. I put a couple coats of CQUK3.0 myself which saved a ton of money. I use a pressure washer to wash the dirt away, then a foam cannon and micofiber mits to wash. Rinse, then use a micro fiber drying towel. (Chemical guys) has a large drying towel that dries the car in one pass. After drying use CarPro Reload silica spray every once in a while to really bring out the polished shine!

I've been washing it every weekend for the past 9 months and so far no swirls in the paint. I may be obsessed with keeping it shiny new.

Mr. Spacely | 12 septembre 2019

You guys are funny. It's a car. Just wash it or run it through a car wash...

cybergrafx | 12 septembre 2019

OMG! A car wash!?? AAAHHHH!!

dmastro | 12 septembre 2019

Chemical Guys waterless wash in a spray bottle plus a bunch of microfiber towels. Inexpensive, quick, uses almost no water (only what you mix in the bottle), and puts a great shine on the car.

billtphotoman | 12 septembre 2019

@sroh - I am also a fan of ONR. I use 5 towels to wash and 5 to dry (basically 1 per section) for each of our 2 cars. I can do 2 cars in an hour pretty easily and then I just wash the towels by themselves with Chemical Guys microfiber towel wash. The one thing I did learn the hard way is I wash the towels I use for the body separately from the ones I use for the Windows with invisible glass. That got rid of a window streaking problem that was really stumping me.
Since here in Austin we usually have water restrictions ONR allows me to wash our cars myself independent of that. Plus I can do 2 cars more quickly than driving them to the local pay, spray and pray (there isn't grit in the bubble brush).

howard | 12 septembre 2019

Low impact touch car wash about twice a week. They do hand dry afterwards.

sroh | 12 septembre 2019


Yep, that all sounds right. Here in San Jose, water restrictions are pretty serious. So rinse-less is the way to go. I also do two cars in about an hour.

Couple of suggestions:
1. Use glass cleaning MF towels. Those work much better than regular microfibers
2. Try a Griot's Garage PFM drying towel. You will be amazed at how good this towel dries. I've got several waffle-weave drying towels that are no match. After washing two panels, I spray the panels with a drying aid and then literally drag the PFM towel across the panels to dry. No need to wipe even. Swirls in paint are caused by drying more so than during washing (lack of lubrication), so being able to dry without pressure helps a lot.