Salty Roads, Dirty Tesla, Solution?

GateFather

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#1
We had our first snowfall accumulation (ok, second) but first of the true winter last week. Of course the roads get covered in layers of salt and brine. I understand why, but it left my 3 week old Model 3 looking dirty and while I’ve never been neurotic about cleanliness on my vehicles, it’s a bit different on the Tesla. One, it’s brand new to me. Two, layers of salt cloud the cameras and can disable/cripple TACC and autosteer. I’ve read the car washes that pull through cars are not great for Tesla’s since they apparently automatically go into park after moving a bit in neutral. Is this true?

My garage is too tight to clean it inside of and obviously I’m not going to be outside mid winter cleaning it. Even if I do, it’ll be dirty very soon after getting cleaned. I considered the pull in style car washes where it’s DIY but they provide the wands with the soap. Question is, what does everyone do to retain some sense of cleanliness on the outside of their model 3 in the winter?
 

MelindaV

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#3
We had our first snowfall accumulation (ok, second) but first of the true winter last week. Of course the roads get covered in layers of salt and brine. I understand why, but it left my 3 week old Model 3 looking dirty and while I’ve never been neurotic about cleanliness on my vehicles, it’s a bit different on the Tesla. One, it’s brand new to me. Two, layers of salt cloud the cameras and can disable/cripple TACC and autosteer. I’ve read the car washes that pull through cars are not great for Tesla’s since they apparently automatically go into park after moving a bit in neutral. Is this true?

My garage is too tight to clean it inside of and obviously I’m not going to be outside mid winter cleaning it. Even if I do, it’ll be dirty very soon after getting cleaned. I considered the pull in style car washes where it’s DIY but they provide the wands with the soap. Question is, what does everyone do to retain some sense of cleanliness on the outside of their model 3 in the winter?
we don't have the salt here, but with what you have available, I'd suggest going to the pull in manual carwash bays, but just use the sprayer, not the brush. Either just spray the car down (so at least getting the salt and some of the dirt off), or spray it down then bring your own bucket & microfiber twoels and do a waterless wash after getting the majority of the gunk off.
 

GDN

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Two things about those car washes, some people are very OK with them and it is a personal choice, but otherwise the brushes can be hard on your car and paint and you will definitely end up with swirls, if not other damage. The second is being pulled through, you can put the car in neutral and ride through and there are no problems, just don't move out of the seat or it will put itself in Park. You could put it in tow mode, but honestly I've never looked up what the procedure is to do that either. It's all a give or take.
 

GateFather

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#5
Two things about those car washes, some people are very OK with them and it is a personal choice, but otherwise the brushes can be hard on your car and paint and you will definitely end up with swirls, if not other damage. The second is being pulled through, you can put the car in neutral and ride through and there are no problems, just don't move out of the seat or it will put itself in Park. You could put it in tow mode, but honestly I've never looked up what the procedure is to do that either. It's all a give or take.
Ah so it’s about whether you’re in the seat or not if the car will go from neutral to park. Is there no other way other than to stay in the seat? The car wash I prefer doesn’t let you stay in it. I’m also somewhat hesitant to put it through those just given the extra sensors and such that those car washes weren’t designed with in mind.
 

GateFather

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#6
we don't have the salt here, but with what you have available, I'd suggest going to the pull in manual carwash bays, but just use the sprayer, not the brush. Either just spray the car down (so at least getting the salt and some of the dirt off), or spray it down then bring your own bucket & microfiber twoels and do a waterless wash after getting the majority of the gunk off.
Yeah I thought that’s what I’d do but then I think, by the time I get from there home, it’ll be covered in salt and grime again lol. I think I’ll probably have to wind up just using some spray and wiping it down at home after it’s out in the elements. I just hate to let the salt sit on it for any length of time.

Anyone have suggestions for a spray and wipe solution for just wiping the salt off when I get home after a drive.
 

JasonF

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#7
I occasionally use "touchless" high pressure washes. They probably won't get all the salt off, but it will get most of it, and plus it will also wash the underside.
 

FRC

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#9
I'm not quite as picky as others about car wash. I do the mechanical pull-through wash weekly with absolutely no issues thus far. I remain in the car. Remember to turn off wipers, and no problem staying in neutral for the ride.
 

GateFather

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#11
Found this pull in a mile from where I live attached to a gas station. Never even noticed it before. $1 for 3 min. More than enough for a spray down. Nothing like a 9:30pm car wash. She’s clean for now!

C4227BCE-25E4-4F7D-A31D-300D5841E785.jpeg
 

Jay79

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#12
Touchless is the way to go if you live in a cold weather climate. Twice a month is my frequency and I pick the package that doesn't have the high pressure rinse to make sure it doesn't mess up one of the sensors. Cleans pretty good, no abrasive brushes and the undercarriage gets a nice cleaning from road grime. Here are the results after I pulled out of the touchless wash.
 

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GateFather

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#13
Touchless is the way to go if you live in a cold weather climate. Twice a month is my frequency and I pick the package that doesn't have the high pressure rinse to make sure it doesn't mess up one of the sensors. Cleans pretty good, no abrasive brushes and the undercarriage gets a nice cleaning from road grime. Here are the results after I pulled out of the touchless wash.
Can high pressure damage sensors? I gave my Model 3 a pretty good rinse via pressure night last night and all seemed good this morning on a 30 min drive I took. I tested all of the EAP features. Others here who often take their model 3 through pull through car washes seem to be fine from a sensor perspective and those washes use high pressure sprays often.
 

Jay79

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#14
Can high pressure damage sensors? I gave my Model 3 a pretty good rinse via pressure night last night and all seemed good this morning on a 30 min drive I took. I tested all of the EAP features. Others here who often take their model 3 through pull through car washes seem to be fine from a sensor perspective and those washes use high pressure sprays often.
Manual says to be careful around high pressure washers, probably fine but why risk it if you have a choice. Its the same thing for fork seals on motorcycles, just be careful and you'll be fine. My local touchless wash has high pressure rinse advertised in the most expensive package so I just pick the package below it and omit the high pressure part. Still cleans up the car pretty good for the winter months. Make sure you have a microfiber cloth to wipe your door seals and window trims to prevent freezing too.
 

ADK46

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#15
Most things you can see - at least on cars not designed in California - are going to survive salt OK. It's the undersides that will get nasty from salt exposure, and it's not so easily washed. Underbody aero panels makes it even more difficult. Since I do my own wrenching, I get to see the horror.

Rinsing at the nearest car wash won't help much, since the car would get a fresh coating on the way home, 12 miles in my case.

I've pondered buying or building something to rinse the undersides in my driveway. Some PVC tubing with an array drilled holes, etc. Still need a hose, not easy to deal with when it's cold outside. I could put my car up on the lift and hose it down inside my garage - making a mess, contaminating the cars I don't drive in winter; nope. People say putting a salty car in a warm garage is the worse thing you can do. Might not be so bad to park it outside, since I can heat up the car remotely - nah, not doing that.

I could get a salt car for the winter. No - the Model 3 was bought to be the main daily driver.

I think I'm resigned to whatever happens. My black car is currently gray.
 

GateFather

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#16
Most things you can see - at least on cars not designed in California - are going to survive salt OK. It's the undersides that will get nasty from salt exposure, and it's not so easily washed. Underbody aero panels makes it even more difficult. Since I do my own wrenching, I get to see the horror.

Rinsing at the nearest car wash won't help much, since the car would get a fresh coating on the way home, 12 miles in my case.

I've pondered buying or building something to rinse the undersides in my driveway. Some PVC tubing with an array drilled holes, etc. Still need a hose, not easy to deal with when it's cold outside. I could put my car up on the lift and hose it down inside my garage - making a mess, contaminating the cars I don't drive in winter; nope. People say putting a salty car in a warm garage is the worse thing you can do. Might not be so bad to park it outside, since I can heat up the car remotely - nah, not doing that.

I could get a salt car for the winter. No - the Model 3 was bought to be the main daily driver.

I think I'm resigned to whatever happens. My black car is currently gray.
Sometimes the best solution is not to worry too much I guess. I’ll spray it off at the local pull in between storms and deal with what lies beneath when and if it comes.
 

msjulie

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#17
From past experience (ICE car) be careful not to aim the high pressure spay in a such a way as it can push salt, dirt, etc further into cracks and crevices.. that will enhance rust potential...
 

Ms. Newbie Electrick

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#18
It's the undersides that will get nasty from salt exposure, and it's not so easily washed............

Since I do my own wrenching, I get to see the horror.

I could get a salt car for the winter.
Yup, yup, yup. :):):)

$100K on the S, $60K+ on the 3. No salt for you and you since I keep my cars forever and have seen just how much shorter the lifespan is for a car or truck that is exposed to salt after having spent much time in New England.

My 300K mile (original owner) TDI is my current salty. After exposure to the salt, I spend 99% of the time spraying her underside, the suspension components, and spraying into panel gaps with warm water and the other 1% spraying cooler water onto the topside painted surfaces. I am more concerned about reducing corrosion and rust on the running gear than the protected topside painted surfaces.
 
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FRC

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#20
I've lived in Georgia all my life and don't even know what a salty is. You people actually have a separate car to drive in the winter? That's effing nuts! I'd encourage you to move south, but it's already getting crowded down here.:rolleyes: