How To Put Tesla In Car Wash Mode? [Solved] 2022

Are Automatic Car Washes Safe for Tesla Cars?

Automatic car washes are very convenient, but are also risky to use and can lead to major damage.

Automatic car washes are not safe for Tesla cars, as they can damage the car’s paint, charging ports, and electrical networks. These damages are not covered by Tesla’s warranty. It is recommended to hand wash a Tesla or to use a touchless car wash.

As mentioned above, you can use a touchless car wash on your Tesla if you do not have the option to hand wash the car.

Soft-touch car washes on the other hand are an absolute no-go for a Tesla.

Touchless Car Wash For Teslas

Tesla’s manual for the Model 3 sedan recommends touchless car washing. “If washing in an automatic car wash, use touchless car washes only. These car washes have no parts (brushes, etc.) that touch the surfaces of Model 3. Using any other type of car wash could cause damage that is not covered by the warranty.”

The thing is, if any Tesla car owner is vouching for an automatic car wash, most of the time, they would be referring to the touchless car wash.

Another thing that might be bothering you is the safety of your electric system and the electric motor. To ensure the safety of these components, Tesla seals them to prevent water intrusions.

And with light-pressure cleaning, there’s no risk of water intrusion in such delicate components.

Thus, touchless cleaning at low pressure is a safer option.

Safest options of automatic washesMight not completely emulsify and remove dirt, grease
Takes less waterCan’t clean hard-to-reach areas

Soft-Touch Car Wash For Teslas

Most car washes are so called soft-touch car washes and clean cars by applying friction to the paint work. This can either be done with brushes or with microfiber cloths.

Teslas should not be driven through soft-touch car washes. Automatic car washes that clean the car with brushes or microfiber cloths are very likely to scratch the paint and can even damage antennas or side mirrors. Tesla’s warranty does not cover these damages.

Hence, soft-touch washing is considered a risky option for electric cars.

You might find soft-touch cleaning more effective, In reality, it can damage your car’s paint and the car’s warranty won’t cover it.

You don’t know if the cloth used to scrub dirt from your car is itself clean or not. What if it contains contaminants caught from the previous wash?

Moreover, the way machines spread dirt and grime can damage important sensors and cameras that help your car to operate normally.

Tesla has warned people not to take their cars in high-pressure washings. A Slightest of negligence can cost significantly.

For instance, if you didn’t lock any of your Tesla car’s doors properly before soft-touch washing, the cloth scrubbing dirt can damage the charging port.

Besides that, soft-touch car washing can damage the paint of your Tesla car. If you have a black Tesla, chances are scratches would become evident after one or two of such washings.

Lifts organic matter – bird droppings, bugs, etc.It can easily damage the paint of your car
Thorough cleaning of carCan damage your car sensors
You might see scratches on your car after cleaning

Can You Take A Tesla Through A Carwash?

You can take a Tesla through a carwash. You must make sure that it is a touchless carwash to avoid damaging the sensors of the car. However, there are several reasons why you may want to avoid an automatic carwash and rather wash your Tesla by hand. These are discussed earlier in this post. 

I have listed them below as well.  

Automatic carwashes:

  • Are more likely to dent your car 
  • Are more likely to scratch your car 
  • Are more likely to damage parts of your car, such as your side mirrors and your windshield wipers 
  • Are more likely to damage the sensors of your vehicle 
  • It may damage your rim if you slide or skip off the track 


How To Enable Car Wash Mode on Tesla?

To put Tesla in car wash mode, follow the below steps:

Pre-requisite. Your Tesla must be in Park.

  • Step #1. On your Tesla touchscreen, go to Controls > Service > Car Wash Mode.
  • Step #2. On the alert window, touch “Enter Car Wash Mode

That’s it – this will enable the car wash mode and show you the status of each item on the checklist.

Some of the items like Sentry Mode, disabling park assist chimes and locking windows/charge port will automatically be done for you. And, things like the frunk status or folding mirrors etc. will just be shown for your review so you can take action.

For example, if you have a pre-2020 Model 3, the car won’t close the (manual) trunk but will show you the status if it is open so you can make sure to close it before the wash.

You don’t want gushes of water getting into your trunk, do you?

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Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What Is Tesla Car Wash Mode

The car wash mode on the Tesla is a special mode that allows you to go through an automated carwash and not worry if the car will get wet inside or the sensors will start to freak out. With this mode, you basically acknowledge the car that is being washed.

Where Is The Car Wash Mode Tesla

The carwash mode is in the menu of your Tesla. There is no specific button, you just need to use your screen for this thing to work. So, just press on Controls > Service > Carwash Mode. Then you will be good to go.

How To Put Tesla In Car Wash Mode

The only way that you can put your Tesla in this mode is by using the touch screen. Just select Controls. Then select Service and then select the carwash mode from the menu.

How To Put Tesla In Neutral

In order to put your Tesla into neutral, you need to select the car wash mode. First, you need to go into Controls > Service > Carwash Mode and when you are on the carwash mode, select Enable Fre Roll. This will allow your car to go in neutral.

Can Tesla Disable Your Car

They probably can do it since the car is connected online. But your car will not get disabled. There is no scenario that will make Tesla disable a car. Even though, they do not like people to Frankenstein their cars and do DIY work. And if they notice so, they will limit your charging ability to the supercharger. Even though some people say that they reversed that decision and will allow salvaged vehicles to be supercharged as of 2021.


There’s nothing worse than seeing your expensive, luxurious Tesla covered in dirt and mud. You may have heard that hand washing is the only way to clean your Tesla, but is it true? 

You have to hand wash a tesla to avoid discoloration, hand washing is always the best idea to clean it. With Tesla’s in particular, hand washing should be done most of the time, with automatic and touchless options happening few and far between. 

You care greatly about your Tesla, so it’s natural to have some questions! With all its moving parts, plus a fragile water-based paint coating, washing a Tesla has some unique guidelines to follow. We hope that this article was helpful.

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How Often Should You Take Your Tesla for Automatic Wash?

You should wash your Tesla car every month or two to take care of the car paint. Washing more than this frequency may cause damage to the car paint, sensitive sensors, and other electrical components. 

If a touchless car wash is safer than other automatic car washes, it doesn’t mean you should wash your Tesla car every day — Avoid it at any cost.

You are better off washing your car with your hands. That too once in a month, or else excessive washing will damage the paint.

You know where the sensitive sensors and components are, make sure to wash those areas with great care.

Areas with excessive dirt and bird droppings can be washed better with hands. So the risk is minimized while high washing efficiency is achieved.

However, when it comes to an automatic car wash, you should try to avoid it as long as you can.

If you feel hand-washing won’t be enough, only then you should go for automatic washing.

How Much Is A Car Wash On The Average

We learned more about the Tesla car wash mode and how it works, we think that now it is time to learn more about how much can you expect to pay in order to wash your car at a Tesla automatic car wash? What is the figure?

On average, an automated carwash costs about $10 to $20. Depending on where you take your car to. But this doesn’t mean that it is worth the high price.

In some places, the prices are high because there is simply no automated carwash in the area. So, people must take their cars to this specific place in order to wash them. So, owners can charge even $50 in some cases. Which is not cool. But that’s one of the perks of being only in town.

Even though we would recommend always learning about the places in your area and you will definitely find a place where you can do this work on the cheap.

Just remember that whenever you take your car to an automated carwash always turn on the Tesla car wash mode in order to make sure that everything is closed properly and your sensors do not freak out while the car is washing.

But let’s say that you want to go a step ahead and you want to fully detail your car. How much money you can spend if you decide to go for a detail job? Let’s learn more about that in the following chapter.

Which Teslas have Car Wash Mode? 

Car Wash Mode is a feature on the Tesla Model 3, Model Y, redesigned Model S, and redesigned Model X. If you drive any of these vehicles, know you will be able to access Car Wash Mode when you take your car in to be cleaned.MORE: How to wash a car at home

The negative side of using an automated carwash

In the past, most automated carwash systems were rough and imprecise. People often complained about getting chips and scratches from them, regardless if they drove a large SUV or a small hatchback. It’s just something you had to deal with if you wanted to use an automated car wash.

Over time things have improved, to the point where a lot of people swear by automatic car wash services, but you should still be wary of them. We’re not saying don’t use one of these services, but read up on your preferred carwash online before using it or even chat to the owners and take a look at the carwash itself.

See also   Can Tesla Model 3 Park Itself? (Auto Park Truths)

New and modern facilities are very effective and gentle, but you can still find some older-style car washing places.

Another common disadvantage with them is that they’re a bit of a hit-and-miss when it comes to drying the car off. Because they’re built to accommodate all types of vehicles, they’re obviously bound to miss certain areas when they get to the last stage of the process, which is drying.

Using a Car Cover

To preserve the cosmetic appearance of the body when Model 3 is not being used, use a genuine Tesla car cover. Car covers can be purchased from Tesla. See Parts and Accessories.

A warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situationCAUTIONUse only a Tesla-approved car cover when Model 3 is plugged in. Using a non-Tesla car cover can prevent the Battery from being adequately cooled during charging.

Quick Recap

Should you use an automated carwash? If you take the necessary precaution and use a touch-less carwash service, then yes. We’d avoid using a brushed automatic carwash since you never know how the brushes have been maintained or whether the car in front got a stone stuck in them which will absolutely demolish your paint job. 

Tesla Model X Automatic Car Wash

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