How Often Should Teslas Be Washed & Cleaned? (We checked)

Once a Tesla has been purchased, it is only right that a motorist will want to make sure that their investment is well taken care of.

Of course, this will include regular washings.

However, there are sure to be a number of follow-up questions about these washings and their level of frequency. 

That’s why this guide is here to help. Be sure to read on and learn more about the finer points of Tesla maintenance.

Does Tesla have recommendations on how often to wash Teslas?

Yes. All you need to do is take a closer look at the owner’s manual and Tesla will provide the necessary guidance.

For example, let’s take a closer look at the manual for the Model 3. Tesla does not recommend waiting until the vehicle needs a full wash before proceeding.

If corrosive substances come into contact with the paint job, they need to be removed immediately.

Bird droppings, dead insects, industrial fallout, all of the corrosive items that a motorist comes across during their daily travels must be addressed.

Otherwise, the vehicle could experience more severe damage to the paint job.

In fact, Tesla recommends taking additional steps to keep the vehicle clean.

If there are tar spots and grease stains that are particularly stubborn, Tesla suggests that motorists utilize denatured alcohol as a means of removing them.

Once this step has been taken, the affected area must be washed with mild, nondetergent soap and water. This removes the alcohol and keeps further damage from being inflicted.

The exterior cameras on the Tesla will also need to be maintained outside of a full wash.

Dirt, condensation and obstructions have to be removed at a moment’s notice. Thorough rinsing and hand washing are recommended in these particular instances.

Do Teslas need to be washed more than other cars?

This is a question that has to be approached with a bit more nuance than some of the others.

There is no hard and fast rule as to how often a Tesla has to be washed in comparison to other vehicles.

That does not mean that there are no precautions that should be taken.

While a Tesla can be washed as often as any other car, there are certain methods and practices that need to be avoided at all costs.

For starters, the Tesla cannot be taken to the regular automatic car washes that most other motorists rely on. 

If Tesla owners must utilized an automated car wash, they are advised to head to a touchless car wash in these instances.

In layman’s terms, the car washes with the brushes that are going to come into direct contact with the vehicle are the ones that you will have to avoid.

Pressure washers that could be utilized with more traditional non-electrical vehicles are also something to steer clear of (see what we did there)?

If Tesla owners use a pressure washer for any reason, they must maintain the proper distance.

For the best results, Tesla vehicles should only be pressure washed at a distance of at least one foot.

Hot water should not be used when washing these cars, either.

Detergents and shampoos can be harmful to the Tesla exterior because they can contain a wide range of caustic ingredients.

Do the sensors on a Tesla work when they’re dirty?

The answer is no and dirty sensors can be especially problematic when you are attempting to use the Autopilot feature.

There are a number of factors that can have a negative effect on Autopilot functions and filth is chief among them. If there is any mud, ice or snow that has been allowed to build up, the function is not going to work in the proper manner.

Furthermore, the Tesla cameras rely on the motorist to keep them clean.

The lens from the cameras are shielded and air is allowed to pass over the surface.

In many cases, this is enough to ward off dirt and grime but it is not a long term fix. Unless you are taking the time to wash the vehicle once every two weeks, you are going to experience a number of sensor related difficulties.

The natural Tesla cleansing mechanisms work well, as long as the motorist is taking the necessary steps to assist them.

Many drivers will make sure to wipe down the lens covers on a consistent basis, even if they do not have time for a full wash.

If the sensors are not cleaned regularly, Tesla drivers may notice that they are not even able to use Autopilot.

That’s because the Tesla Autopilot function will be disabled if the vehicle cannot receive the necessary amount of input information.

Once the level of information on hand dips below the threshold where the vehicle can be operated safely, the function is shut down.

This is done out of an abundance of caution for the motorist.

What can happen if you don’t wash your Tesla?

There is no shortage of issues that can arise if the Tesla is not washed as often as it should be.

In addition to the concerns that have been addressed above when it comes to faulty sensors and potential damage to the paint job, there are also problems that can arise that the average motorist may not have considered.

Once these more specific issues are set to the side, the dangers that arise when a Tesla is not washed are quite similar to most vehicles.

Of course, the car’s paint job is going to decay and this should be a given whether we are discussing an EV or not.

We have more here on issues with the paint on the Tesla Model X.

Tesla owners should be especially cognizant of this fuck because it will severely diminish the value of the vehicle over the long haul.

Gunk and particles that are allowed to persist will also trap moisture, causing the vehicle to become rusty before its time.

The motorist’s visibility can also be impaired if the Tesla is not washed regularly, as the driver’s side windshield could start to become less usable. The potential scratches have been discussed but did you know that windier climates experience more scratches when cars are not washed?

The wind will drag them right across the paint job.

If these types of seemingly minor issues go unchecked, corrosion becomes more likely.

When corrosion occurs, the Tesla’s structure could be jeopardized.

You should know what the Tesla warranty actually covers.

Can you wash your Tesla too often?

Much like any other vehicle, a Tesla can be washed too often.

Experts will recommend washing a Tesla every three to four weeks, though. 

These washes need to be very thorough as well. For best results, you should be handling the process yourself, so that you can be sure to choose the best cleaning products and equipment to handle the job.

Of course, the washing frequency is not a hard and fast rule.

The frequency at which a Tesla is washed should depend on the specific circumstances that each vehicle is exposed to. There are some climates where the driver does not have to endure a sizable amount of wintertime precipitation.

These drivers can probably get away with less frequent washings.

How often is the Tesla exposed to mud, dirt, bird droppings, tar, brake dust, bug innards or tree sap?

This is a question that the motorist will need to answer as honestly as possible before deciding how often to wash.

The methods that work best for a California Tesla owner may not be as useful to someone who currently resides in the state of Minnesota.

To a certain extent, that is where common sense comes into play.

Anyone who has applied for ceramic coating will need to take the right steps as well. The idea that it serves as a self cleaning shield is a complete and total misnomer.

A Tesla with ceramic coating still needs to be washed at least twice but those who attempt to wash less than five days after it has been applied are overdoing it.

Sources

Cleaning

About Autopilot

How Often Do You Wash Your Car?

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