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How Does Tesla Car Wash Mode Work?

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Teslas are undoubtedly the world’s most sophisticated production cars, loaded with technology and even AI.

So, taking such an advanced vehicle to a car wash in a classic style is now deprecated. Tesla has its own “Car Wash Mode.” It is useful if it is activated before giving your dream car a bubble bath.

The need for this topic arrived since many new Tesla owners don’t know about this Car Wash Mode. It’s a feature that Tesla deployed a while ago but needs to be covered more.

Because not activating the Car Wash Mode in a car wash can damage your Tesla vehicle, and such damages are not covered by warranty.

For example, if Car Wash Mode is not activated and the Tesla vehicle enters the car wash, it can trigger automatic wipers. Confusing car wash water pressure with rain, the car’s wipers can get damaged.

For the vehicle’s safety, the frunk (front trunk), rear trunk, and charge port are also locked automatically when a Tesla vehicle enters Car Wash Mode. Sentry Mode is also turned off to save battery and unnecessary nagging.

Tesla vehicles take the following actions when Car Wash Mode is activated:

  • Keep speed below 10 mph
  • Charge port door: locked
  • Walk-away door lock: off
  • Automatic wipers: off
  • Parking assist chimes: off
  • Automatic doors: off (only Model X)
  • Sentry Mode: off
  • Climate: recirculating
  • Frunk: closed
  • Trunk: closed

As I said above, a fragment of Tesla owners is not aware of the presence of the Car Wash Mode feature even after owning the vehicle for a while.

Tesla (TSLA) has a unique standing in the car industry — the automaker’s ability to add/improve features via over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Car Wash Mode has and will be improved with time as the car’s technology evolves and features are added in the future.

The Cleaning section of the Tesla Owner’s Manual has the following instructions to enable Car Wash Mode and related information:

When taking Model S, 3, X, Y to a car wash, Car Wash Mode closes all windows, locks the charge port, and disables windshield wipers, Sentry Mode, walk-away door locking, and parking sensor chimes. To enable, touch Controls > Service > Car Wash Mode. Your vehicle must be stationary and not actively charging.

If using an automatic car wash, Enable Free Roll keeps your vehicle in Neutral and activates free roll for the duration of the wash, while preventing Model S from applying the Parking brake if you leave the driver’s seat. To enable, press on the brake pedal and touch Enable Free Roll; or shift into Neutral.

Car Wash Mode disables if the vehicle’s speed exceeds 9 mph (15 km/h) or by touching Exit on the touchscreen.


Failure to put Model S, 3, X, Y in Car Wash Mode may result in damage (for example, to the charge port or windshield wipers). Damage caused by car washes is not covered by the warranty.

— Tesla Owner’s Manual

Let’s watch how Tesla Car Wash Mode works in the real world in the following video by a Tesla owner.

Originally published on Tesla Oracle. By Iqtidar Ali

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