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Tesla Car Wash Near Me… Or Should You DIY? (Ultimate Guide)

Car washing ought to be a straightforward process for all cars - but, is it? A lot of questions have been raised about whether Tesla's should be washed the same way as regular cars. We all love the Tesla Model 3, S, X, and Y because they’re not like internal-combustion-engine vehicles. They’re all-electric vehicles, powered by electric motors positioned at both axles, both of which draw stored electric power from large battery packs that sit under their cabins. Let’s see how they ought to be washed.

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The FIRST EVER sprayable 7H Ceramic Coating! It took us years in the lab to finally be able to introduce: a sprayable ceramic coating that will rank on the 7H scale. That means you’re getting 2 years of protection and unbelievable shine while being much easier to apply than traditional small 1 oz bottles. 7H is a clear, non crystalline ceramic coating delivered in a solvent spray on formula. It applies a hard 7H, durable coating that is 2-3 micron thick and gives off a deep, reflective shine. The formulation is meant to provide MAXIMUM slickness in the easiest way possible.

★★★★★ "My 10 year old car needed so much work. Using the Prep soap I was already sold. But after I hit it with a clay bar and polish it looked and felt new again. Then I applied the Coat ceramic and now It literally has a mirror shine. Great product."- Brandon, San Diego, CA

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What’s Up With Tesla's? Are They Different To Wash Than Any Other Car?

Well, yes! Tesla cautions in the owner’s manual of the Model 3 that you should not take your Tesla to a regular automatic car wash. It says that if you have to use an automated car wash, only use a touchless car wash for your Tesla (not the automated car washes with brushes that make contact with the surface of the vehicle). Tesla also warns against using a pressure washer, warning that if you have to use a pressure washer, you need to maintain a distance of at least 12 inches (30 cm) between the nozzle of the pressure washer and the surface of the Tesla. You also shouldn’t use hot water when washing the car, and you should avoid using car shampoos or detergents with highly alkaline or caustic ingredients.

How Do You Wash A Tesla Properly?

It’s always best to wash your Tesla yourself. When you do so, you get to choose the best cleaning products and washing equipment for your car. Your Tesla’s exterior is also sure to keep looking outstanding when you wash it because you’ll give it better care.

Here are some recommended ways of washing a Tesla.

Option #1: The Wash & Ceramic Coating (Recommended)

One method is to give your Tesla a thorough wash-down using decontaminating soap and water, and then finish the process with a good waxing. If you regularly drive on dirt roads or in areas that expose your Tesla to stubborn contaminants like asphalt, iron deposits, and bug guts, this is the best option for you. A fine example of decontaminating soap is Torque Detail’s Decon Soap (mentioned in the material list below). It does a great job of removing dirt and embedded contaminants that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Material List

Step 1: Wash the Car And Dry It Off

First, hose down your Tesla using a garden hose. This helps to soften and even dislodge large bits of dirt and debris that may have stuck onto the car’s surface.

After that, get your two buckets (soap and rinse buckets), pour at least two gallons of water into each of them, and then pour the recommended amount of Ceramic Prep (as included in your 3-Step Ceramic Coating Kit) into the soap bucket.

Then, dip a high-quality microfiber wash mitt into the soap bucket and start to gently scrub the surface of your Tesla. When the wash mitt gets saturated, rinse it off in the rinse bucket, pick some more soap, and continue washing the car. When you’ve scrubbed all the exterior surfaces of the car, wash off the soap and dirt with plenty of water from your garden hose. After you’ve rinsed the car, use highly absorbent microfiber towels to dry it off.

Step 2: Clay The Car And Dry It Off

If you notice that the car still has embedded grit and contaminants, try claying your car. Torque Detail’s Clay Decon Kit is exactly what you need for that. This kit includes Torque Detail’s Clay Lube and a reusable clay pad. To clay your car, simply spray a generous amount of Clay Lube onto a section of your vehicle and then use the clay pad to gently scrub the surface of your paint. When you’re done with that section, wash off the lube and dirt with plenty of water before moving on to another section of your car’s exterior. When you’ve finished claying the entire car, dry it off as before.

Step 3: Ceramic Coat The Vehicle

Our 3-Step Ceramic Coating Kit is the latest and greatest of what we offer. Applied right, it will last two years.

When applying, first ensure that the surface of the car is completely dry. Shake the Ceramic Coat bottle that was included in your kit well and spray some of the product onto a section of your car’s exterior. Then, use a clean microfiber towel to buff the coating onto the paint using up-down motions. Do not allow the un-buffed coating to bake onto the paint! That's why it is recommended not to do this in the direct sun on a hot day. Look for a nice, cool place. Let the coating cure for 48 hours. In that time, do not allow your vehicle to get wet.

Option #2: The Waterless Wash

The waterless wash option is a great choice because it’s very quick and easy to do. Try Torque Detail’s Turbo Waterless Detailer for this method.

All you need to do here is spray the Turbo Waterless Detailer liberally onto the section of car paint you want to clean, wait 1-2 minutes for the detailer to soften and emulsify the dirt and grime, and then use a plush microfiber towel to gently wipe the dirt from the car. After that, move to another section of your car’s exterior and repeat the process, continuing on until you’ve washed the entire vehicle. Make gentle, sweeping strokes when wiping off the dirt to avoid scratching the paint.    

Also worth noting is that the Turbo Waterless Detailer is infused with ceramic, and so it leaves a glass-like, anti-static layer of protection that repels water, dirt, and debris.

Option #3: Going To A Touchless Car Wash

If you want to take your Tesla to a touchless car wash, you must first understand how to put it in neutral. Most touchless car washes are lined with rails that hook onto a car’s wheels for the purpose of pulling the car through the car wash, but this can only be done when the car is in neutral. Electric cars aren’t like internal-combustion-engine cars that can be switched into neutral with just a flick of the gear selector. Depending on your Tesla model, you may have to hold the gear selector between drive and park modes to cause it to engage neutral mode, and then use the center touchscreen display to turn off the windshield wipers and fold the car’s mirrors.

Tips When Washing A Tesla

Here are a few tips that can help to make your Tesla-washing experience more productive.

Tip #1 - Make Sure The Car Isn’t In Direct Sunlight

The sun’s heat will cause your washing/detailing products to evaporate before they’re able to emulsify the dirt and grime on your car’s surface. That evaporation will also leave unsightly water spots. Therefore, avoid washing your car in direct sunlight. If you can’t do so in a garage, do it in the shade when it’s cool outside, e.g. late in the evening.

Tip #2 - Avoid Letting Soap Dry

The detergents in the soap will only be effective in lifting dirt from the surface of your car when there’s enough moisture on the surface. Also, when soap dries up, it leaves ugly soap marks that may require agitation and a lot of water to remove. Therefore, wash the car section by section, rinsing each section after you’ve washed it.

Tip #3 - How To Clean White Tesla Seats The Right Way

The white leather trim featured in some Tesla's stains easily, so it must be cleaned regularly and in the right way. To avoid stains, you need to wipe off dirt, bits of food, cloth dye, drink spillage, and other contaminants from the surface of the leather trim the moment you notice it. Baby wipes are great for this. You must also clean the leather trim using a high-quality leather cleaner and conditioner - preferably one that also leaves a layer of protection like Torque Detail’s Leather Restore. With its unique vitamin E formulation, Leather Restore permeates and enriches leather material, bringing it back to life. It also adds UV protection to keep the leather trim from cracking or fading.  

For non-leather interior options, we even came out with Torque Detail Intra Clean.

Tip #4 - Don’t Make Circular Motions, Horizontal Is Key

At times, tiny bits of dirt get trapped under your microfiber towels when you’re wiping the surface of your car. When you use circular wiping motions, such dirt may cause swirl marks on the paint that are easily noticeable. Horizontal wiping motions are more likely to leave straight streaks that are harder to notice.

How Often Should You Wash A Tesla?

There’s no hard rule as to how often you ought to wash your Tesla, but the general rule, as advised by most detailers, is to wash your car every two weeks. However, if your Tesla is regularly exposed to dirt/mud, road salt, bird droppings, bug guts, tree sap, brake dust, or tar, you should wash it more often.

If you have applied a ceramic coating, refer to our complete guide to ceramic coating maintenance.

This 3-Step Ceramic Coating Kit Is a Must-Have
Make Your Tesla SHINE!

The FIRST EVER sprayable 7H Ceramic Coating! It took us years in the lab to finally be able to introduce: a sprayable ceramic coating that will rank on the 7H scale. That means you’re getting 2 years of protection and unbelievable shine while being much easier to apply than traditional small 1 oz bottles. 7H is a clear, non crystalline ceramic coating delivered in a solvent spray on formula. It applies a hard 7H, durable coating that is 2-3 micron thick and gives off a deep, reflective shine. The formulation is meant to provide MAXIMUM slickness in the easiest way possible.

★★★★★ "My 10 year old car needed so much work. Using the Prep soap I was already sold. But after I hit it with a clay bar and polish it looked and felt new again. Then I applied the Coat ceramic and now It literally has a mirror shine. Great product."- Brandon, San Diego, CA

BUY NOW

Summary: Everything You Need To Know To Wash A Tesla Safely

As seen above, washing a Tesla is just as easy as washing other types of cars - it's just that you have to be a bit more careful with it. Ultimately, the method you use to wash your Tesla will depend on your budget and the amount of time you can dedicate to caring for your vehicle. It’s also worth a mention that just washing is not enough - you’ll always get better results when you add a wax, sealant, or ceramic coating.

  • Published on Feb 04, 2021
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