How To Run The Model 3 Through An Automated Carwash

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The first time I went through the carwash with my Tesla Model 3, I couldn’t figure out how to put the car in neutral, so I had to suffer through an embarrassing ordeal of stopping the machine and starting it again several times before they just told me to put it in drive and walked me through it. Intent on not doing that again, I went out and figured out how to wash the Model 3 properly.

(Don’t) Do It — For The Rims

First off — I don’t recommend running the Model 3 through an automated carwash, and I’m not a car snob. The folks manning these things just have a habit of running my rims into those nasty guide rails that can so easily smash your rims.

In fact, I don’t make a point of washing my car that often, but the two times that I have, I’ve run it through the auto wash and regretted it both times. The last time was this past week when they directed me into the car wash and again slammed my rims right into the rails, giving me the perfect opportunity to test out the wheel bands from EV Annex. Thankfully, they worked well — the rim guard lost its life, but my rim was saved … for what it’s worth.

The red strip was lost. The rest is alive and pretty.

Put It In Neutral

The big hurdle with running the Tesla Model 3 through an automated carwash is that, while there’s an “N” on the shift stalk, the way to actually shift the vehicle into neutral is not intuitive. To do so, pull the stalk down lightly for two seconds and the display then indicates that the vehicle is in neutral.

It’s worth noting that this only works in carwashes that let the driver go through with the vehicle. When there’s no driver in the driver’s seat, the vehicle will automatically shift back into park after 20 seconds or so of being in neutral. In that case, you may have to leverage a bit of the old social skills to sweet talk the attendant into letting you ride through the wash with the car.

Off With Her Wipers!

The second thing that needs to be adjusted when going through an automated carwash is the windshield wipers. If they’re set to Auto, they’ll just starting wiping away when they detect “rain” from the carwash. It’s not the end of the world, but it can damage the wipers and leave streaks on what otherwise would have been a nice clean windshield.

To turn off the wipers or to confirm that they have been manually turned off, just tap on the persistent wiper button on the bottom left hand corner of the display to pull up the windshield wiper card. From there, you can tap the windshield icon to turn the wipers off if they’re on or to turn them on with one of four manual settings or put them in auto to let the car make the decision.

For a more detailed walkthrough of the windshield wipers, check out this quick 2-minute tutorial from “Owning A Tesla In The City.”

Have more tips for running a Model 3 through a carwash (other than just saying not to do it)? Share them with your fellow CleanTechnica readers in the comments.

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

Kyle Field has 1638 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Field