Can Tesla Go Through Car Wash? (Things You Must Know)

Last updated on September 12th, 2023 at 03:03 am

Tesla vehicles are sophisticated and need the utmost care to remain that way. One of the essential maintenance measures is cleaning the car, so it remains spotless and stain-free.

But since Tesla has a different level of uniqueness, you’ll wonder if you should hand-wash your Tesla or visit a car wash.

Tesla vehicles can go through car washes. However, driving your Tesla through touchless car washes alone would be best. Such car washes don’t utilize bristles and items that can damage your Tesla’s surface. Also, you should ensure that the car wash uses detergents or soap with a pH (acidity) under 13.

You’ll see why Teslas should only go through designated car washes. Additionally, you’ll learn safer methods to wash your car and maintain its exterior.

At the end of the article, you’ll also understand the various functions of Tesla car wash mode.

Can You Wash your Tesla in An Automatic Car Wash?

Can Tesla Go Through Car Wash

The recommended automatic car wash for your Tesla is touchless. Any other automatic car wash is unsuitable and negatively affects your exterior.

Regular automatic car washes utilize coarse cleaning materials, reclaimed water, and harsh detergents. All these materials can contribute to the car’s exterior damage.

The damage might not be noticeable after one visit. Repeated visits, however, will produce visible damage to the car. 

For this reason, Tesla discourages visits to such car washes to protect your car. Instead, go to a touchless car wash if you must patronize an automatic car wash.

The touchless car wash uses powerful hoses to apply detergent to the car before rinsing it. This method is unlike regular automatic car washes that require contact with the vehicle.

The following describes some of the ways regular automatic car washes are harmful to your Tesla.

  • Car washes use strong detergents that can react with the surface of your Tesla and cause discoloration.
  • The brushes and materials for scrubbing the car’s surface can damage the car.
  • Some automatic car washes use reclaimed water, which can also fade your Tesla.

With the possibility of such threats, it’s advisable to stick with touchless car washes to maintain your car’s safety.

Are Touchless Car Washes Good For Tesla?

Touchless car washes are the only recommended car washes for Tesla. With such car washes, you don’t have to worry about brushes or other materials scratching the surface of your car.

At a touchless car wash, powerful hoses blast soap and water unto the car. There are equipped sensors inside the wash tunnel to direct the hoses where to shoot water or soap.

Touchless car washes use strong detergents that are not harmful to the car. These tougher detergents compensate for the non-contact wash.

Tesla endorses a touchless car wash because there is little threat to the car’s surface. In addition, no scrubbing on the car means less chance of scratches and dents.  

However, the touchless car wash comes short in other areas, even with this advantage.

The table below illustrates the pros and cons of a touchless car wash.

Pros Cons
The absence of rollers and brushes reduces the risk of scratches on the car.Some spots won’t get proper hose treatment and will remain dirty.
It costs less than regular car washes.The recycled water here might have dangerous chemicals.
Swift, simple, and saves time.The soaps used here are tougher; therefore, they can harm the car’s exterior.

The touchless car wash is a better option for your Tesla, but it might not properly wash your car. Some stains on the car won’t come off quickly when the hoses blast water and soap on it. 

These stains might require scrubbing before they wipe off. Also, not all areas might get the hose treatment, leaving these spots as dirty as before.

Additionally, the hoses won’t properly wash dried mud under the carriage and on the wheels. So you might still need to use a rag to get rid of the mud.

Generally, the touchless car wash is acceptable for Tesla. It might not do a thorough job, but it’s safer for your car than regular automatic car washes.

Must Teslas Be Hand Washed?

Hand washing the Tesla is an alternative to touchless car washing. It’s the safest method of washing your Tesla since you can control all the elements required for washing.

With hand washing, you can use suitable water, detergent, and a rag for cleaning the car. This way, you’ll prevent any scratches and discoloration. 

An excellent detergent to use for your Tesla is Honey Dew Snow foam. Hand washing the Tesla is quite simple and requires just some effort.

The following process will guide you on how to hand wash your Tesla.

#1. Exterior Cleaning

The first step to cleaning your Tesla is removing any substances/items that might corrode the car’s surface. 

These items include;

  • Bird feces
  • Dead bugs
  • Tree leaves/resin
  • Road salt

You must not delay till the entire car needs cleaning before you get rid of these items from your car. Once you leave these substances on your vehicle, they’ll stain it. 

#2. Rinse the Car

The following action to take is to rinse your car with clear water. Areas like panel seams and wheels are notorious for holding mud.

Salt used on roads during winter can also find its way into or under the car. 

Grab a hose and blast clear water on the whole car to wash off mud accumulation and other substances. 

#3. Hand Wash 

After rinsing, the car is ready for washing. Again, a microfiber towel is the best material for scrubbing the car since they aren’t rough. 

Use cold or warm water and pour high-grade car soap into the water. The type of soap used is critical. Keep away from detergent having acidic ingredients. 

High-acidic detergents will fade the car’s color over time. After washing, rinse the vehicle thoroughly with clear water and ensure that soap doesn’t dry on the car.

You can rinse the fiber towel with clear water before using it to wipe the car’s surface. For the glass, you can utilize vehicle glass cleaner.

What Does Tesla Car Wash Mode Do?

The car wash mode is a feature in Tesla that prepares the car for washing. In addition, the feature prevents any possible damage that might occur at the car wash.

You can enable the car wash mode feature on the touchscreen. First, press Controls, then navigate to Service; here, you’ll see Car Wash Mode. Tap on it to enable the feature.

Some of the characteristics of the car wash mode include the following;

#1. Pulls up the Windows

You might arrive at a car wash and forget to raise the windows. So, naturally, water will splash into the car when the wash begins. 

However, with Tesla’s car wash mode, this situation doesn’t happen. Instead, when engaged, the feature ensures that the windows pull up and remain that way. 

This way, water from the car wash won’t come into the car and cause damage.

#2. Blocks Access to Charge Port

The charge port is one of the most vital components of a Tesla. It would be fatal if water got in through this port. The car wash mode prevents this situation from occurring.

Once you engage the feature, the car will shield the port and stop water from coming through.

#3. Turns off Windshield Wipers

The feature also locks the windshield wiper and keeps them in place. If the wiper’s function remains enabled, they’ll try to wipe the glass once water touches the windshield.

Car wash mode ensures the wiper doesn’t wipe, so it doesn’t entangle with a brush or felt strips.

#4. Enables Free Roll

Under the car wash mode, there’s a feature called ‘Enable free roll.’ This feature puts the vehicle in neutral gear, helping it roll when in a car wash that operates conveyor belts.

You have to keep your foot on the brake before enabling the feature. The car wash mode lets you bend the vehicle’s mirrors if necessary.

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